The Phoenix 5th XI continued their intense campaign to avoid relegation from Division 12 on Saturday against Malahide in picturesque Castleknock College. Hoping to make it seven wins out of seven were Calum O’Byrne, Graham Mooney, Stephen Black, Evan Chester, Aidan Chester (c) , Louis McDonagh, Sankeerth Karpe, Zafarullah Mohommed, “D’Entertainer” McDonagh, James Maginnis and returning from his Gaeltacht experience and putting the rest of us to shame with his Irish speaking Theo Dempsey!
Malahide brought a young side with them (but were only 10 men) and both skippers agreed to “let the youths at it and see who won”!
The Admiral guessed correctly at the toss (it must be bordering on a winning streak at this stage!) and had no hesitation in asking Malahide to bat first!
Zafar and Theo opened the bowling and were on the money from the off! 6 runs were scored from the first 5 overs and Zafar struck with a beauty to remove the Malahide skipper’s middle stump!
Theo was completely mean with his bowling – a great line and length (only 4 runs off his first 4 overs) and got his reward when Woods Oliver clipped the ball to James Maginnis at square leg.
When Theo’s spell was over The Admiral threw the ball to Sankeerth who was bang on first over with a ball that nipped back to trap Akhit in front LBW- Malahide were 11-2.
Malahide tried to break free but the ball was not getting past the Phoenix youngsters in the covers (Evan and Stephen) with a couple of great diving stops on the “sporty” Castleknock outfield!
Zafar was on fire at the other end as the Admiral asked him to bowl his 8 overs through and again was too quick for Ogilvie and bowled him to leave Malahide 21-3 and teetering.
Sankeerth was next to strike to take his second wicket leaving Malahide on 29-5.
At drinks Malahide were 41-5 and the by now 5ths custom of swapping keepers meant D’Entertainer was in the game. In fairness he had tried his best in the slips but like the Admiral in previous weeks he wasn’t grabbing any opportunities (it’s not easy in there is it?)
James was bowling well and quickly grabbed a wicket (caught by D’Entertainer naturally!) 45-6
Louis was on next with his leg spin and The Admiral also wanted a look at Calum O’Byrne (he’s a bowler not a batter you know!)
So with two leg spinners on the game was going to move fast and boy did it move!
In Calum’s first over he ripped one past Courts bat and bowled him and the very next ball with a low full toss a minor miracle happened when The Admiral hung on to take a catch and leave Calum on a hat trick !
Lydon survived the hat trick ball but Malahide were in real trouble at 55-8.
Young de Clerk and Lydon resisted the leg spin attack and tried their best to get the scoreboard moving and bat their overs. The end came in the 36th over though when Lydon picked out Sankeerth to give Calum his 3rd wicket. Young De Clerk had batted beautiful for 24 not out and Malahide were all out for 84 for 9.
The Phoenix bowlers were as good as they have been all year with 1 for Theo and James, 2 for Zafar and Sankeerth but star man was Calum O’Byrne who finished with 3 for 16 off 5 overs.
After a great tea including more legendary “D15 BBQ leftovers” from the McDonaghs the Admiral’s instructions were clear- bat positively and let’s get the runs in a good fashion so that Mick and I can sample last night’s left over Cote du Rhone….
Stephen and Graham opened the batting and got the run chase off positively. Stephen didn’t look too comfortable however and was out shortly afterwards. Malahide were on the hunt for wickets to try and defend their low score and it required the Phoenix batting line up to grind out the runs. Graham wasn’t pretty (is he ever?) but he was punishing anything loose and he had good support from Evan “Jonathon Trott” Chester who had joined him at the other end.
A powerful cut shot over the fielder at point for 4 got Evan off the mark and slowly the runs accumulated. The pair had scored 52 for the 2nd wicket when Graham had one swing too many on 33 and was bowled by the pick of Malahides bowlers Zac Woods Oliver. Evan kept going and after smearing a big six into the pavilion garden Phoenix only needed 5 to win. Louis (looking after his average) was solid at the other end. Evan was bowled by a good ball from Woods Oliver but Sankeerth saw the side home. A good 7 wickets win for the Phoenix side.
The after match briefing was fairly conclusive- the boys were on their game today- hunting in pairs, “very” noisy and energetic in the field, bowling nothing loose and batting with intent!
It’s the halfway point of the season for the 5th XI as the Admiral retires to his peaceful summer haven on the Mediterranean to recuperate and devise his strategies for the 2nd half season relegation dog fight!
The team picture above shows the 5ths in all their glory (it did take them 5 minutes to line up!) but it was unquestionably another fun day.
Claudio was often asked about trying to keep winning streaks going and this week we will finish with the master tacticians wise words…..
WHY CAN’T WE CONTINUE TO RUN, RUN, RUN? WE ARE LIKE FORREST GUMP. LEICESTER PHOENIX IS FORREST GUMP. THE CHAIRMAN IS ON THE MOON EATING HIS PIZZA…..
I’ll use these fine words to help plan the 2nd half of the season…