Phoenix secured two clinical victories over admittedly weakened opposition this weekend.  The League is the primary focus for Sam and his charges, and 24 points were banked against The Hills on Saturday.  On Sunday, the warm and relaxed surrounds at the Mardyke contrasted with the cold, clinical professionalism of the Phoenix men as they dispatched their opponents and made their way to the Quarter Finals of the Irish Senior Cup.

It is the manner of the victories this weekend that is instructive and the key if we are to be successful later this season.  The challenges ahead will be tougher, stiffer and things may get nasty….but the Boys are starting to gel…….the game plans are clearer…….and the intensity is just now starting to build.  A ‘team’ is being created and with that there is the pungent odour of ‘belief’ – you can’t hold it, but you know when it’s present or not!  There are genuine leaders on this team, young and not so young, who now ‘believe’ they can compete with any team in Leinster (or the NCU) and win.  Ambitious? – Yes….but the evidence is there, and importantly the ability is there.

Our aggressive, top heavy batting is putting opposition bowlers on the defensive.  Positive clean hitting players come to the crease one after the other.  Our new players Nic, Reinhardt and Alessandro are enjoying the Park, and have been delivering from match one.  Our much vaunted ‘youngsters’ are growing in stature relishing the challenge in Division 1.  Adam is one of the team’s genuine leaders scoring heavily this season with match winning contributions.  Rory has come back from his U19 World Cup triumph with more pace and passion and indeed with the ‘New Ball’ in his hand!

To twist an old proverb, “one arrow is easily broken, but not eleven in a bundle”…and so this Phoenix team must get stronger together.   The Coach trip to the Mardyke was a great opportunity to see TEAM building at first hand – impersonal head phones creating ‘personal space’ gave way to banter, teasing, initiation rights, singing, and of course team fines dished out by the articulate and acerbic judge Chester!

Inevitably there maybe downs as well as ups this season, but this Phoenix squad can and will beat the best in Leinster.  Each player must continue to work hard at their own game and support each other.  When they cross that white line they must have a singular focus wherever they are asked to field, whatever order they come into bat, or whenever they are asked to bowl.  And if they dare to believe?  What reward?  Success will surely follow.

YMCA away this Saturday and the Leinster Senior Cup replay vs. Terenure in the Park on Sunday. Come & judge for yourself as the TEAM continue their progress in League and Cup(s).