The Phoenix 5th XI continued their Division 12 campaign on Saturday against Leinster. Having reached the halfway break point of the season, the Admiral had taken off to the Mediterranean to plan his second half strategy and hopefully meet Claudio at his villa. Claudio was busy so the Admiral spent the two weeks reading up on “The Art of Captaincy” by Mike Brearley in an effort to find new ways of motivating Mooney to scoring some big runs in the crucial second half of the season.
Hoping to make it eight wins out of eight were debutants Paddy Keating and Adam Gibson McKenna, Graham Mooney, Stephen Black, Harry Fay, Aidan Chester (c) , Louis McDonagh, Sankeerth Karpe, Conor Hillman, Theo Dempsey and last but by no means least “D’Entertainer” McDonagh.
The ground in Castleknock was a little damp but there was promise of sunny weather later in the day. The Phoenix team was matched by an equally young team from Leinster. Youngster Luke MacMahon from Leinster pleaded with the captains (the Leinster skipper was dad, Rory MacMahon) to allow his side bat first and the coin duly obliged! Phoenix were in the field (and Luke was happy!).
Theo Dempsey was our senior pro for the day and got to pick the end he wanted to open (his normal end as it turned out!)and Conor Hillman opened from the other end (known as the school gym end).
Theo was on the money early but Conor struggled a little early on as Leinster’s young opener Paddy Lynch was up for the game- if he went after the ball it was smoked to the boundary.
D’Entertainer dropped a regulation soft skier to slip (even I would have caught it!) and when Harry dropped another simple catch Theo was less than impressed. In fairness he kept plugging away and when the other Leinster opener V Gee pulled him to midwicket Sankeerth made no mistake! 9 for 1.
At the other end Paddy was really punishing the Phoenix bowling but Theo claimed another wicket when Harry clung on to remove Una Raymond-Hoey on 9 to leave Leinster on 32-2 off 7 overs. At 10 overs the score had moved on to 48-2 and recollecting the opening of Chapter 5 of “The Art of Captaincy” the Admiral decided to make a change and bring on Sankeerth and Adam Gibson McKenna (“Get debutants into the game early!!”).
Sankeerth turned the game on its head first ball. Peter Masterson clubbed the ball over Sankeerths head and everyone turned to watch it head for the boundary only to see Paddy Keating scampering across and pouching the ball with ease. It was far from easy but Paddy showed us how to do it- 48-3. Two balls later Sankeerth bowled Michael Lynch and then claimed a third wicket in the over when Harry took another good catch to leave Leinster on 48-5 at the end of the 11th over.
Adam showed up at the other end for his first bowl on the 5th XI with the Admiral’s simple message- enjoy! Immediately Adam got in on the act with a great catch behind by Louis (No other way of saying it Mick- it was a sharp catch!) and when the Leinster skipper popped another up for Louis off AGM’s bowling Leinster were 58-7.
Sankeerth got through Paddy Lynch’s stumps for a well-made 35 and then got through plucky Luke MacMahons stumps to take his first ever 5 wicket haul leaving Leinster on 69-9.
AGM struck with an absolute ripper in the next over to bowl Usman and end with 3-23 off 5 overs. Theo had 2-24 off his 5 overs but Sankeerth finished with 5 for 2 runs off 5 overs. Leinster had fallen from 48-2 at the end of the 10th over to all out for 71 after 19.4 overs! Devastating bowling from Sankeerth and the debutant AGM pictured below!
Drinks were taken and the Admiral sent out Black and Mooney to get the game over quickly.
Unfortunately Graham set out to bat like Sir Geoffrey and had the Admiral searching through the book for ways of getting a move on. Bob Willis recommended running Boycott out, hhhmmm that’s a possibility….Mick was looking anxious thinking that the wine in the boot of the car might be like vinegar by the time 72 is scored….
It wasn’t Graham’s day scoring 10 of 48 balls but in fairness young Peter Masterson of Leinster was bowling left arm over with late swing and pace (Best bowling we’ve seen so far this year!) and it would be a disservice not to mention him!
When both Phoenix openers were out the score had reached 31-2 after 14 overs. Louis and Harry were up next and while Louis didn’t last long, Harry kept it simple! A couple of big hits helped get the score moving. Sankeerth fell for 7 and Paddy Keating had to go in next. No scares yet at 43-3 but when Harry was bowled it meant the Admiral had to put his pads on and ensure there were no mistakes. A couple of big hits later and the target was reached- Paddy ended up 6 not out while the Admiral finished on 14 not out. Credit to the Leinster bowling attack too as they didn’t make it easy for the Phoenix bats.
A devastating period in the field helped Phoenix on this day and it was great to see that AGM playing his first game was in the thick of the action while Sankeerth had his first major contribution with the ball. A number of regulars were missing today (some were unavailable and some were on higher teams) but it’s great to see those coming in playing their part!
The 5ths have a week off this bank holiday weekend which will give the Admiral time to get in touch with Claudio to see what he thinks of captaincy- when he was asked about the topic last season he said:-
“In Italy the Captain is a paratrooper who jumps out of a plane but doesn’t know if the parachute will open or not……”