Phoenix 5th XI spent a glorious Bloom June Bank Holiday Sunday in Castleknock College – the weather was glorious and having had 4 weeks off the 5th XI were straining at the leash to continue their Division 12 campaign.
The Phoenix team was Graham Mooney, Stephen Black. Michael Fahy, Arsalan Mehmood, Evan Chester, Aidan Chester (c), Louis McDonagh, Theo Dempsey, Zafarullah Mohommed, Mick McDonagh and, making his debut for the 5th XI, Harry Fay.
Our opposition were our neighbours from the Park, Civil Service and as the Admiral strolled out to the middle he could tell he would be marshalling his troops for 40 overs of fielding in the sunshine- the coin was tossed and Phoenix were asked to field first – not an issue for us as we have been successful all season cashing.
Phoenix opened with Zafar and Theo and progress was immediately slow as the CS openers were very watchful. Theo was struggling for a bit of rhythm but was still tight outside off stump much to the nodding approval of the openers.
Zafar was bowling with pace and when opener Faherty decided to be aggressive there was a flash of the blade and a bottom edge went straight through to keeper Mc Donagh (Mick “The Entertainer”) who juggled it but finally pouched it.
Phoenix were energetic in the field and needed to be on their toes as it’s not easy fielding in Castleknock College.
After 10 overs, the Admiral had a hunch things were too easy – scoring was slow as only 31 runs had been scored but it was time for a change.
Arsalan and Louis came on next with a bit of flight and spin to try an coax mistakes from the batsmen.
The breakthrough came almost immediately as opener Dravid drove Sunny over his head and somehow The Admiral pedalled fast enough to cover around and take a good running catch!
At this stage Tariq Quadri (formally of Phoenix himself) was in and looking very dangerous. The Admiral has seen enough of Tariq in his day and spread the field wide. Mooney let a shout that this wasn’t a good plan but Tariq duly obliged next ball and hit Louis straight down Harry Fay’s throat at deep midwicket – 40-3!
Next ball Louis enticed Hasan Ur Rehan to drive hard and Zafar took a great overhead running catch to leave Louis on a hat-trick!
40-4 became 49-5 when Louis had Mohan caught behind off a full toss- again The Entertainer behind the stumps gave a loud call complete with celebration – Louis had another 3 wickets to his name – time for drinks!
Things were much tougher in the second half as the Admiral went on the search for wickets!
Mooney was rolled on and chipped in a with a couple of wickets – a good ball that seamed (cough!) in to remove Arravind and a good hard catch at mid-on from The Admiral had Service at 92-7.
When Gallagher started looking comfortable against the slower bowling it was time for a bit of pace – Evan came on for a couple of overs and then Theo which meant that the scoring never got too frenetic. Zafar came back and then the ball was thrown to Harry who got a good wicket in his first over!
A long shift in the field ended with Civil Service posting 157-8 off their 40 overs.
Bowling wise there was a lot of hard work Zafar 1-26, Theo 0-23, Harry 1-15, Sunny 1-16, Louis 3-24 and Slowboat Mooney 2-38 (would have been better had the Admiral held on to a regulation skier at mid-on!!).
Tea was delightful beside the old pavilion (next time we will have the keys to use their kitchen!!) – the highlight was brought by Mick who brought leftovers from his exotic Dublin 15 BBQ the night before – that’s why he’s an entertainer! (He even brought leftover dregs of Fleury!) Thanks to Alison for helping out too!
The message to the Phoenix batsmen was simple – 158 in Castleknock is worth 180-190 – it’s a par score and will require chasing – but we bat to 11 and we go after teams- play your normal game and we should be able to get close!
Mooney and Black opened. Stephen is getting stronger every game and batted really positively – even in defence!
Mooney was bowled through the gate to leave us 15-1. Next in was Michael Fahy who set about looking for runs were he could get them to keep the innings going. Michael was unlucky to be out for 10 chipping the ball straight back to Tariq and when Stephen was out to a ball that jumped viciously off a length for a well played 20 – the 5ths could be accused of a little bit of a slide!
Evan and Harry were in next- The Admiral advice was clear – play your game and have a go- if it works great – if it doesn’t don’t worry!
Evan looked to be attacking with Harry and even though we were three down the runs were still coming. Having seen one rear up at Stephen Evan was unlucky when a ball stayed low and bowled him. 61-4
Sunny joined Harry next as Harry was getting to grips with the game- bad balls were smacked and good balls were defended resolutely.
On the side-lines The Entertainer was reclining in his deckchair wishing he had brought more red wine with him as Sunny kept going with singles and Harry was aggressive.
Having put on 50 in 9 overs Harry backed up too far and couldn’t get back and was run out for a well played 32.
The Admiral was in next and both he and Sunny kept momentum going with some good shots!
The run rate was well under 6 an over moving into the last 8 overs. There were maidens but usually followed by some good overs with 13 or 14 runs being scored. The Admiral finally connected with the ball and hit a maximum over midwicket to take the pressure off and although Sunny perished on 44 trying to hit a maximum of his own, Louis Mc Donagh came in and saw the side home in the 39th over.
So, a long day in the sunshine but a 5th win of the season from our 5 games played to date.
Another great team performance with everyone contributing especially the younger members – Harry played as we knew he could to get us close and Stephen Black is looking solid at the top! Louis nicked a few wickets and Theo was toigh on the opposition batsmen and our fielding was up to standard (with the adults bringing the standards downs!).
As Claudio Raineri says….
“I am happy when our fans are happy, when our players are happy and our chairman is on the moon.”