On Sunday the 10th August 2014, Captain Anders and his band of cohorts packed their bathing suits, buckets and spades and headed off to the seaside town of Greystones. Unfortunately, the weather was windy and overcast. Not suitable for paddling in the sea. Instead, everyone headed up to the home of Greystones Utd FC for a Division 9 game of cricket versus Greystones 2.
After winning the toss, John Anders decided Phoenix 4s should field first. No surprise to anyone with any knowledge of the 4s over the past 2 years. Clarke opened from the sea end with Dismore opening from the other end. Both were disciplined in both their line and length. The breakthrough came at the start of Clarke’s fifth over. Following a discussion between bowler and keeper (Grant White), the keeper went back a few steps from the stumps. He was standing to the stumps in previous overs. The batsman may have been Clarke to unleash his infamous faster ball (Editor – who writes this stuff). However, the batsman was deceived by Clarke’s standard slower ball (Editor – Thought they were all slower balls) and chipped the ball to Gopal at mid-on who hold onto the catch.
Clarke (1 for 23) and Dismore (0 for 13) were replaced by Peter Maher (on debut) and Monjur Ahmad. After a shaky start, Peter produced a fine spell of bowling and only conceded 20 runs in his five overs. Monjur was his usual wicket taking self and ended up with 2 for 32.
Maher was replaced by Raza who struggled to find his line and length and was eventually replaced by the rediscovered Golden Arm of Anders. At the other end, Millar replaced Monjur. This was to be the most significant move of the game. Murali weaved a web of spin that bamboozled the Greystones’ batsman. He returned the impressive figures of 5 for 23 in 8.5 overs. And that Golden Arm finished with 2 for 12 off 3 overs.
A very satisfying display in the field saw Grant take 3 catches (including a diving catch), with Gopal, Anders and Dismore taking one each. Contrary to reports in the national media, Anders only took one catch. The fact that he had 7 or 8 goes at it before holding onto it doesn’t matter!!
After tea, Raj Gopal and President Brown set about chasing the 162 needed to win. Raj departed early but Bampfield and Brown (sounds like a firm of solicitors) patiently rebuilt the innings. Bampfield departed on 26. Grant hit a quick 11 before a good catch at point saw him on his way back to the scoring table. Peter Maher was run out without troubling the scorer who was taking cover under his umbrella at various stages trying to keep the scorebook dry.
A quick note on the weather. We lost about 15 minutes of play to one heavy shower. Other than that, the clouds seemed to drift by without depositing their contents on the two teams.
Dismore joined Brown at the crease. A fine partnership between both players saw the runs remaining continue to fall. However, the overs remaining were falling as way. Unlucky Brown fell for 49 when a fifty was well deserved. Dismore got to 40 before he was dismissed. Monjur and Anders didn’t contribute much to the total. It was starting to get tense.
Eight wickets down and 6 runs needed off the 45th and final over. Raza and Millar were at the crease. Millar on strike. First ball of the over was a wide. 5 needed off 6 balls. You could feel the tension building as the scoreboard was updated with every run scored. Second ball of the over was dispatched to the mid-wicket boundary by Millar to bring the scores level. Some relief but Phoenix knew they still needed to finish the game off to keep the pressure on North County. When the second legal delivery of the over was pushed into the covers and the single taken, Phoenix were victorious by 2 wickets.
It was a hard fought victory between two very good cricket teams.
While this reporter is not one for handing Man of the Match awards, it is safe to say G Millar had the type of game that would have made him strong favourite for such an award. Although, a case could be made for Brown with his 49.
The team was: John Anders (c), Grant White (wk), Raj Gopal, Michael Brown, Adam Bampfield, Peter Maher, Devon Dismore, Monjur Ahmad, Gordon Millar, Ali Raza, Willie Clarke.
The Phoenix 4s have this weekend off before their second trip of the season to Castleknock College to face Ringcommons 1 on Sunday August 24th 2014.
Finally, best of luck to Greystones 2 who play YMCA 4 (nothing against YMCA 4 at all) in the final of the Intermediate Cup on Saturday 16th August in Phoenix.