The Phoenix 5th XI continued their Division 12 campaign on Saturday against fellow table toppers Cabinteely at a breezy St Andrews College on Sunday.
We had a number of key personnel missing through injury and unavailability so hoping to keep our winning run going were Evan Chester, Adam Gibson McKenna, Graham Mooney, Harry Fay, Aidan Chester (c) , Louis McDonagh, Sankeerth Karpe, Conor Hillman, Ronan “CSI Tallaght” Harris, Rehan Quereshi and D’Entertainer” McDonagh.
The Admiral won the toss and decided that he wanted to get after Cabinteely straightaway with his bowling attack- Phoenix were in the field.
Evan Chester was our “Theo” for the day (angry fast bowler) and opened the bowling. Conor Hillman opened from the other end.
The next hour or so was pure delight for any skipper as Evan bowled his best for a long time and while Conor wasn’t as accurate as Evan the pressure that Evan had the Cabinteely batsmen under meant that they tried to score off Conor and he picked up wickets. Bowling in pairs at its best!
Evans opening spell was 6 overs 1-12. His wicket was an excellent running (kind of) catch from Graham who pouched the ball over his head. Conor bowled his 8 overs through and finished up with 3-21 off his 8 overs including a good catch from Louis at slip!
At that stage Cabinteely were 33-4 and Sankeerth was on next. It wasn’t to be his day as after his first over he pulled up injured- he struggled through for 4 overs but couldn’t do anymore!
Louis had spent most of the night before chasing horses at the club race night and was finding the breezy conditions tough. His first over was a bit erratic but when The Admiral clung on to a skier at midwicket (that’s my version of it!) and Rehan held on to a scorcher at deep cover off AGM’s bowling Cabinteely were rocking at 70-6 just after drinks.
Normally both Adam and Louis press on but today was not their day as Cabinteely went on the attack. The pitch didn’t help with steep bounce off any length and both batsman were able to sit on the back foot and pull anything full to the leg side. After just 4 overs from each bowler Cabinteely had added 92 runs with 10 overs left. A score of 200 was definitely on the cards. Evan bowled his last 2 overs to stem the tide but the batsmen were well set.
In desperation The Admiral turned to CSI Tallaght and Graham Mooney. Graham responded as only he knows how! Let’s bore the batsmen with some cunning slow left arm bowling that could go anywhere- it worked!
To be honest, it’s all a bit of a blur but while Ronan leaked some runs at the other end Graham started to run through the remaining Cabinteely bats. Piyush who had scored 79 of 42 balls flapped at a straight one and was bowled, two balls later Graham bowled Jiju and was on a hat trick after trapping Navdeep LBW. Not to be outdone CSI Tallaght fired up at the other end and Louis took an amazing one handed catch at slip to close the Cabinteely innings on 181 all out in the 39th over.
After tea, The Admiral sent CSI and Graham to the wicket having urged his team to forget about the score- “play your normal game, be positive and if we go down we’ll go down fighting”.
Obviously Graham missed the “fighting” bit because he was out almost immediately. Sankeerth joined CSI at the crease and was immediately positive. The Cabinteely bowlers knew their home pitch and full balls were bouncing very high but it was no concern for the youngster as he was ruthless and played great shots behind square to slowly get the scoreboard running. CSI sounded more like Ronan Keating at the other end with regular shouts of “C’mon” to try and get going. When he hit a fine shot through mid-wicket we thought he’d woken up from his night out in Diceys and Krystal but it was all to no avail as next ball he played across the line of a straight one and was caught at point.
Rehan score a quick 7 but then tried to reverse sweep their opening bowler and the ball rolled onto his stumps after popping off his helmet. Evan played a scorching shot through mid-wicket but was undone by a ball that was onto him quickly and he could only scoop the ball to short third man. Harry did try hard to get in the game but found the scoring tough. He did hit a couple of good shots in his score of 11 but was out shortly after. In the meantime slowly but surely Sankeerth kept going and kept Phoenix in the game. Sankeerth had passed 50 when the Admiral joined him when Phoenix only needed 80 off 10 overs. Not impossible to chase but would take some effort!
Cabinteely were getting nervous when Phoenix kept taking the singles on offer- When the Admiral cut “stylishly” for four Phoenix only needed 58 off 7. A big over was needed and the time was now but the Cabinteely openers were back on and having none of it. There were plenty of short balls to fend and when the Admiral holed out to long on having scored 14 Phoenix were starting to run out of bats. Sankeerth fell shortly afterwards and the required run chase became too great. Louis and Adam tried manfully but the conditions were difficult for them and even D’Entertainer struggled to score when for the first time this season he got to bat. Phoenix were all out for 150 when Conor edged behind in the 39thover. 31 runs short.
While it was our first loss of the season there were huge positives from the game from a Phoenix perspective. While it’s never nice losing it is something our youngsters can learn from. (the adults are used to it!)
Evan’s opening spell was tremendous and was a good return from all the work he had put in at training during the week. Both he and Conor bowled very well together and got us on top of the game early. Sankeerths inning was a classy affair from beginning to end and it was unfortunate that it wasn’t in a winning cause. For Louis and Adam it was a tough day bowling but these are good days to learn and turn around next week and do better! Rehan took a stunning catch (we won’t talk about the batting Rehan!) and despite the fact that Graham can’t score a run these days he did get three good wickets to make sure we had a chance of chasing the runs. (He is picked as an opening bat but not to worry….)
We play Merrion away next week and we will look to get better in our middle overs- one thing is for certain-Louis and AGM will be having another go next weekend to attack the opposition and rightly so as they have bowled well all season!
Maybe Graham and The Admiral will score some runs too…..
I think one of the great Claudio sayings sums us up really well this week….
“Even if you can’t play well, all I want is your character and your spirit. I tell my players they can win, they can lose but I want to see the same mentality”