The Fifth XI closed out their season last Saturday as they took on Wexford Wanderers in the park. Although the game ended in defeat it was a fine finish to the season as Wexford retained the Crossy Trophy and Phoenix had the chance to blood some youngsters from the ever expanding youth section. The Fifth XI have done well to stay in Division 12 after a rough ride at the start of the season but a late surge saw them to safety.
Wexford won the toss (allegedly) and elected to bat on an cool afternoon with plenty of cloud cover. In a vast contrast to the previous week Evan Chester opened the bowling rather than the ageless JMR Brown. Stephen Moore took the new ball at the other end as Phoenix decided to mix things up on the final day of the 2012 campaign.
Chester bowled particularly well and was the first to make a breakthrough but it came courtesy of a magnificent catch from young Jimmy McDonough. The younger McDonough was making his debut and was put to the test as he tracked back at Backward Square Leg and pouched a catch that came over his shoulder. It was a superb take and one that would have taxed any player on any team at the club.
At the other end Khan (1) handed his wicket away to one of the worst deliveries of the season as he managed to glove the widest of wide deliveries down leg into the welcoming gloves of Mick McDonough. Chester kept plugging away and got another deserved wicket as he trapped Kumar (9) lbw with the penultimate ball of his spell. He finished with excellent figures of 4-0-9-2.
Ciaran Martin came on to replace him and bowled with excellent accuracy on his senior debut. He had his first wicket too as Mesette (0) ballooned one to David Fahy at Forward Square Leg and he made no mistake. Martin finished with figures of 4-1-14-1 and left the skipper scratching his head wondering where he had been hiding all season!
At the other end Moore was putting in a bowling performance the likes of which has not been seen in many a long day at Phoeinx. Somehow he contrived to have the dangerous looking M Redmond (16) caught at Short Midwicket by the strategically placed Mooney before pouching a return catch after wearing one in the chest from Carley (0). He finished with 8-0-24-3.
Wexford were reeling at this stage but Sheridan Pope kept hte ship afloat and batted well throughout. However wickets kept tumbling at the other end and David Fahy got in on the act. It was his first game after a long inury lay off but he showed no signs of nerves as he got into his stride right away. Once again, though, a Phoenix bowled owed their thanks to Jimmy McDonough. Wood (24) smashed a high steepler to Backward Square Leg and once again McDonough was nerveless as he took the catch without a problem. Fahy saw a nick off his bowling flash past the elder McDonough before the wicket keeper made amends by taking a nick off N Honahan (2) just a couple of balls later.
James Maginnis pinned down Wexford with an excellent spell of 4-0-10-0 before Phoenix finally decided to put the old folks into the attack. John Anders wasn’t at his magnificent best but he did manage to have I Redmond (22) caught behind off a slower ball which took his tally for the season to 30 wickets which is quite the landmark to pass.
Phoenix finally wrapped up the innings when Mooney had the stubborn Sheridan-Pope (44) caught at by Moore as he flashed an attempted drive to the fielder. Wexford had put 151 on the board for Phoenix to chase.
Mooney and Fahy opened the batting and got off to a solid enough start before Mooney (10) played on to his own sticks leaving Phoenix 15 for 1. Alan Maginnis came to the crease with excellent form to his name with back to back red inkers. However it was not to be his day as Maginnis (10) was not at his electrifying best and he was trapped in front trying to pull off the bowling of Wood.
Things then hit the skids for the home side as Martin (0), Convery (0) and Fahy (4) all fell with the score on 32. Mick McDonough (1) then played on to leave the hosts 33 for 6. It was the youngsters who provided the resistance, though, as Evan Chester and Jimmy McDonough dug in adding 24 runs to the score. It was an excellent display of technique and discipline from both and Jimmy McDonough (7) can count himself extremely unfortunate to have picked out the fielder on the bounardy as he looked to have heaved one for a maximum.
That brought James Maginnis to the crease and he was to produce one of the finest innings seen at the club all season. His knock belied his years (or rather lack thereof) and lack of experience in the game. He was firm in defence and positive in attack. He was unlucky to not find the boundary on at least a couple of occasions as he struck the ball to the furthest reaches of the field but he did show good game awarness and ran threes in each instance. The shot of the day was when he skipped down the pitch to Off Drive down the ground and the ball pulled up about three inches shy of the line.
Evan Chester (4) was the next man to fall as he strayed out of his crease and was stumped but once again he showed superb technique and patience. James Maginnis and John Anders batted well together and added 29 for the ninth wicket before Maginnis was stumped to bring an end to his fine display. He was given a warm reception as he left the field as everyone present had enjoyed his innings thoroughly.
Phoenix move the score past 100 to get within reach of Wexfords total. However Anders indulged in some ball watching and ran out his skipper to bring the innings to a close.
It was a well contested game played in the right spirit and it was a good end to the season. The Fifth XI has offered the opportunity to give no less than 12 youth players a taste of senior cricket this season and it will no doubt aid the club in the years to come.
Alan Maginnis finishes the season as top run scorer with 247 runs from 10 innings @ 35.29 with two half centuries to his name as well as an unbeaten 48.
John Anders finishes the season as the top wicket taker with 24 wickets @ 12.25 each and an economy rate of 3.80.
A big thanks to all the players and everyone who has helped out during the season as well as too all those players and families who came down throughout the year to support the side.