1st XI v The Hills – 1/8/2016

In his second consecutive day at The Vineyard your correspondent could have been forgiven for thinking that Milverton was a Utopia or a parallel universe where there is a cricket match every day and where Clinton has already been elected President.  Phoenix’s form had slipped a little in recent weeks and they probably needed two wins out of their last five league fixtures to hold their place in Division 1 for 2017. Phoenix won the toss and elected to bat. The batting order was Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, Matt Scott, Rory Anders, Ben White, Thomas Anders, Alessandro Morris and Andy Brawders.

Sorenson’s radar was a little off in the first few deliveries with three wides followed by a boundary for Strydom. From 7 for 0 at 1.03 Phoenix struggled to pierce a gap in Shoukat’s field at one end and three wickets fell trying to hit out against Sorenson. Anderson was bowled by Shoukat and the former Ireland international bowled six consecutive maidens before Chester got after him for two fours in his seventh. Shoukat finished on 10-7-13-1 which should have been 10-8-12-1 but for a misfield by a team mate on his last ball. Things began to improve for Phoenix as Chester and Scott came together when both were on 0 and they worked hard for over 100 minutes with Chester making 51 from 76 balls and Scott 29 from 86 balls. Rory Anders made 18 including three fours , White and Morris both made 3 and the last wicket pair of Thomas Anders and Brawders added 26 ( if memory serves that equalled the last wicket stand at Merrion in May ) with Brawders impressing umpire Block for one or two big shots in his 14 and Thomas hitting three fours in an undefeated 20.

Former Phoenix star Manu Kumar fell in the fourth over but Mcloughlin and Shah got things going for the home team and produced a stand of 56 before Anderson had McLoughlin caught by Chester who was deputising for the injured Pretorius behind the stumps. Morris got an lbw verdict to remove Van Der Merwe for just 1 but Morris was unable to contain the batsmen to his usual 3.6 to 3.8 runs an over and ended on 1-34 from just 5 overs.  At 97 for 4 when Shah fell on 31 The Hills still had a job to do but Sorenson began to get after all the bowlers while Baumgart picked up singles and rotated  the strike nicely. Pretorius’s over of 0-14 did not justify bringing him into the attack but the match was probably lost early in the Phoenix innings.  The Hills won by 6 wickets.

Man of the match                        Sorenson 3-28  and 82 not out

Phoenix  performer                     Adam Chester 51 – 1 catch and 1 stumping

Conor Dillon

1st XI v Instonians – 17/7/2016

Having recorded several useful results from early May to mid June Phoenix had taken a few defeats in recent weeks. They were unable to cope with the top two in Division 1 and the day before this Irish Senior Cup refix they were unable to prevail over the intensity brought by a Railway side fighting against the prospect of relegation.  On a lovely day for cricket – much appreciated by the visitors – Phoenix won the toss and inserted Instonians. The Phoenix team  which took the field included  Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Thomas Anders,  Adam Chester, Matt Scott, Rory Anders, Ben White, Alessandro Morris,  James Maginnis.

Russell  charged Thomas Anders for a 6 in the first over and Rory Anders for a 4 in the second over but he was bowled by Thomas  to finish with 23 from 20 balls. The approach adopted by the other opener, Nicolai Smith and the former Irish international , Andrew White was a little more measured and they slowly put Instonians in the driving seat. After a stand of 145 runs in 98 minutes Thomas picked up his second wicket getting an lbw verdict and White departed with 70 to his name. As the visitors chased quick runs in the later stages of the innings the bowlers took 5 wickets in the last 15 overs and the fielders effected  three run outs. Shannon made a useful 45 and Nicolai Smith fell on 94 and the innings closed on 290 for 9.  Anderson took 3 wickets and Strydom got 1.

Strydom fell for 1 in the third over. Masud fared a little better with 9 but after Sam Anderson perished on 22  Pretorius must have wondered if anyone would help by staying for a long innings at the other end. Thomas Anders managed just 1 but Pretorius may have felt that the cavalry had arrived with adhesive efforts by Chester and Scott. Chester fell on 28 and Pretorius on 97 and that seemed to end Phoenix’s prospects.  Scott ended on 27, Rory Anders made 9, White made 13, Morris got 5 and Maginnis ended undefeated on 1.  Phoenix lost by 63 runs.

Conor Dillon

1st XI v North County – 02/07/16

Having had a pin put in their balloon the previous weekend at Pembroke Phoenix returned to their home ground to take on the ever competitive men from Balrothery. Rain overnight caused a damp patch to appear and the umpires and teams had to wait until 3.00pm to start. This was the second attempt to play this fixture so all involved had to try harder to beat the weather. After agreeing to reduce the match to 39 overs each North County won the toss and inserted Phoenix. The batting order was Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, Richie Lawrence, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, M D Masud Ahmed, Ben White, Matt Scott, Rory Anders, Thomas Anders, Ian Anders.

In 1992 when your correspondent suffered one of his several dismissals by run out a team mate penned a jocular line that “Conor tried to beat Ralph back to Ralph’s end”. It would be flippant to describe Pretorius’s early exit in the same terms but it was an unfortunate way for this potentially “dangerous” partnership to end. Strydom and Lawrence worked hard together and put on a stand of 28. Phoenix looked to be at their peak while Lawrence and Anderson batted together and took the score to 94 for 2. Chester, Scott and Rory Anders struggled for runs but Masud had a useful innings of 39 with White making 10 and Thomas Anders making a busy 17 from 14 balls and Ian Anders ending undefeated on 2.

The North County openers added just 1 before they were separated which was a bigger stand than the Phoenix openers had. Thomas and Rory Anders took the new ball with Thomas bowling 7 consecutive overs taking 1-11. Thomas did not come back to the attack after this. Rory bowled 7 overs in 3 spells of 4,2 and 1 and a good innings by Eddie Richardson of 51 ( just 1 more than Lawrence got for Phoenix ) kept the visitors in the game. However, after Andrews was bowled by Strydom to exit on 18 Phoenix had opened an end up and the North County tail enders were unable to make Phoenix fret. Anderson, White, Strydom and Rory Anders all took 2 wickets while Thomas Anders took 1 wicket and was the fielder responsible for effecting a run out. Phoenix won by 64 runs.

A good team effort by Phoenix

Conor Dillon

XI v Leinster – 11/6/2016

After a spell of six seasons without a win in the Leinster Senior Cup  Phoenix were now playing their third quarter final in six seasons – the last semi final having been contested in 2003. Phoenix had lost their most recent game in the 20:20 competition against Clontarf  but had suffered only one defeat in four league matches and had ruthlessly demolished Terenure in the previous round of the cup. Leinster won the toss and inserted Phoenix. The batting order was Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, Matt Scott, Thomas Anders, Nitin Naik, Eoin Cleere, Alessandro Morris and Ian Anders.

Strydom worked hard to hold up an end and to put the bad ball away but it was not a day when the rest of the top order were able to impose themselves on the bowlers. Pretorius hit one boundary in an innings of 6 and Masud only managed a single. Anderson fared a little better and got to 14 before he exited after falling lbw to Dockrell. Chester reached 21 before he fell and the effect of the rain on the Phoenix innings could be measured by the fact  that Strydom’s  innings lasted 118 minutes between 10.59 and 6.08 when he was run out for 75 and Chester batted for 41 minutes from 12.30 to 3.26. Scott ended undefeated on 13 with Thomas  Anders not required to face a ball. The rain reduced the match to 33 overs each with Phoenix making 148 for 5.

The Duckworth-Lewis calculation gave Phoenix a dig out with a target of 187 for Leinster.  Mallon and Coad were not intimidated by this target and soon settled down and scored runs against all the Phoenix bowlers. The stand had passed 100 when Masud had Mallon caught by Anderson for 32. Coad fell on 70 and the visitors still needed 71 but a big stand of 67 between Dockrell and Delany sealed it for Leinster. McDonnell was required to face one ball and then the visitors passed the target with ten balls to spare.

A disappointing day for Phoenix.

Conor Dillon

1st XI v Terenure – 5/6/2016

Terenure had caused a few batting difficulties for Phoenix on May 21st before the weather got the better of both teams. Since then Phoenix had gone on a winning run which included The Hills (league), Cork County (Irish Senior Cup), The Hills (20/20) and YMCA (league) with the latter three all achieved away from home as far as your correspondent was aware. Terenure were probably a little low on confidence as they were on a losing streak since that match. Phoenix won the toss and elected to bat.  The batting order was Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, Matt Scott, Eoin Cleere, Thomas Anders, Richie Lawrence, Ian Anders, Alessandro Morris.

It was a tough start for the new ball pair of Arsham and Smith against the Phoenix openers with the first two overs yielding 31 runs for Phoenix. The visitors had a little to celebrate when Pretorius fell for 15 in the third over.  Masud hit three early fours but was generally content to hold an end up while Strydom prospered at the other end and out of the stand of 71 the Bangladeshi hit 19 and the former international 50. Strydom seemed to be on course for centuries in consecutive innings but tried one big hit too many and after Chester went for 14 Matt Scott was asked to be the lunch watchman. Scott worked hard to support Anderson who was picking up where he had left off  after his 85 the previous day and while at 156 for 4 Terenure were still in the game the fifth wicket stand between the two New Zealanders  steadily brought the game out of the visitors’ reach. The stand ended at 211 with Anderson contributing 142 of his total of 171 and there was no time to count Scott’s contribution.  Scott ended undefeated on 62 and Cleere also ended undefeated on 13 after 11 minutes.  The innings closed on 394 for 5.

Mullan had anchored the visitors’ innings on May 21st so Thomas Anders must have been pleased to bowl him for 1. Ian Anders took the new ball from the other end and watched his big brother start with three consecutive maiden overs with Arsham falling for 1 as Morris took the catch to give Thomas figures of 3-3-0-2. Richie Lawrence was given a spell of 4 overs and then  Morris began an unbroken spell of 12 and he ended on 1-44. Scott and Masud were given 2 overs each but it was Thomas Anders and Strydom who did most of the damage to the visitors’ batting line up with Thomas ending on 9-4-16-4 and Strydom on 11.1-7-13-4. The Phoenix attack has not produced such Roy of the overs statistics since Ben White’s 5-13 at Malahide in 2013 and one has to go back to 2009 to recall Downton’s 4-7 at Rush and Langford-Smith’s 6-26 against Terenure. The visitors were all out for 130.

A good team effort by Phoenix.

Conor Dillon

1st XI v YMCA (away) – 4/6/2016

Stan Mitchell said in 2013 after Phoenix’s last visit to Claremont Road that never before had Phoenix lost a match by 189 runs. However, Phoenix came into this match on a good run with Rheinhardt Strydom keen to put one over on his former club and the collective ambition was to keep up the winning run. The home team won the toss and inserted Phoenix. The Phoenix team comprised Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius,  M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, Rory Anders, Ben White,  Richie Lawrence, Thomas Anders, Matt Scott, Alessandro Morris.

Pretorius was the first to be dismissed when Parkinson had him caught by Fisher for 9. Masud looked to be adhesive and there was only one boundary in his first ten scoring shots. Masud fell on 21 and Anderson was the next man in. After a steady start Anderson and Strydom began to attack the bowling and as both batsmen grew in authority and fluency  the home attack struggled to contain them. The stand ended at 164 when Anderson was out for 85. What 122 not out would have done for Strydom’s average your correspondent is not sure but unfortunately he misjudged the last ball of the innings and the innings closed on 258 for 6.

The new ball pair for Phoenix was Thomas and Rory Anders. Thomas bowled 5 overs for 10 runs but was rested after that. Rory bowled three but came back later on to bowl another six. Strydom took the first wicket for Phoenix when he had Jack Tector caught by Pretorius and Morris seems to have taken over Conor Kelly’s role in the middle overs with a spell of ten unbroken overs taking 1-42. After 32 overs the home team were 134 for 2 and the chase seemed to be on target although the home scorer felt that his team had conceded 30 too many. However, once Phoenix had removed Terry for 36 they opened up an end and the incoming batsmen needed to support Singh . Rory Anders conceded 21 runs in his final over and Strydom 18 in his last but the  golden arms for Phoenix were Captain Anderson and Ben White with the skipper taking 2 wickets in his only over and the spinner will be on a hat trick when he bowls his next delivery after removing Jones and Ali. Phoenix won by 34 runs.

Men of the Match Strydom and Anderson were dominant with both bat and ball

Conor Dillon

1st XI v The Hills (home) – 28/5/2016

Phoenix do not have a good record against The Hills in recent seasons but confidence must have been boosted ahead of this home league fixture by a midweek 20/20 success. Eoin Cleere and Ian Anders had featured in the previous Saturday’s washout against Terenure but now they  dropped out of the side with Adam Chester and Matt Scott coming back in. Sam Anderson won the  toss and elected to bat.  The batting order was  Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, Richie Lawrence, Rory Anders, Ben White, Matt Scott, Thomas Anders, Alessandro Morris.

Strydom and Pretorius began aggressively against Shah and Shoukat  with the visting new ball pair struggling to give their  side a foothold in the match. It was Van der Merwe who broke the opening stand at 60 when he dismissed Strydom lbw for 40. Masud batted from 1.30 to 3.06 with home scorer Helen Caird suggesting that maybe someone had asked him to rein in his swashbuckling style and try to accumulate runs over a longer period at the crease. He made 18 from his first 47 balls faced and 44 from his last 40 balls faced. Pretorius got close to a century but fell on 87 with Anderson making 23.  It was Chester who was the hero of the second part of the innings hitting 82 of the 130 runs scored after he came in with Scott and Thomas Anders undefeated at the end of the innings and Morris able to concentrate on the day job.

Klokker and former Phoenix man Manu Kumar set out towards a target of 341. Thomas and Rory Anders shared the new ball  with Rory having Klokker caught by Pretorius in the fourth over. Kumar lasted a little longer and hit two boundaries before the same combination saw him off after making 16. Shah batted patiently for 26 and Van der Merwe proved a difficult man to bowl to but the rest of the order proved to be all human and none of the others could pass Shah’s score. Van der Merwe ended undefeated on 109 with Rory Anders taking 3-35, Ben White 3-69 and Morris 2-50. Phoenix won by 92 runs.

A good team effort by Phoenix.

Conor Dillon

1st XI v The Hills (home) – 28/5/2016

This was a performance to impress Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry and maybe even Lord Ensor. One of those spectacular cakes with edible orchids and kumquat and coriander crème patissiere.  Phoenix piled on an impressive 340 for 8 with 87 off 66 balls for Nic, 82 off 58 balls for Adam and 62 off 88 balls for Masud.  The bowling also reached the heights of a wedding cake with Rory bagging 3 for 35 and Ben 3 for 69.  The fondant swan on the top of the cake had to be Sam’s running, diving catch to dismiss Max (eye candy) Sorensen.  The Hills ended on 248 for 8 still 92 runs short.

I declined the victorious trip to Cork due to the early start in favour of the 2’s cup game in the Park Anyway if you want to take a port city by storm the best thing to do is send your Admiral.

Helen Caird

1st XI v The Hills T20 (away) – 26/5/2016

This first T20 game was as well made and creamy as the delicious pavlova my fellow scorer offered me at the interval.  The Hills batted first and our accurate bowling kept them pinned down.  Great to see the youngest Anders opening the bowling as we held them to 127 for 6.  There were 2 wickets apiece for Rory, Sam and Reinhardt.  We lost Nic early but Reinhardt (the meringue base so to speak) batted through scoring 46 and Adam Chester provided the fresh strawberries by scoring a sweet 45 at a run a ball.  We ended winning by 7 wickets with 8 balls to spare – fresh cream all round.

Helen Caird

1st XI v Terenure (home) – 21/5/2016

After one win and one defeat in the league, Phoenix’s next fixture was at home to Terenure in the Leinster Senior Cup. These 60 overs each matches are draining on players’ stamina and concentration  and Phoenix have not reached the semi final in this competition since 2003. The side included Sam Anderson, Nicolass Pretorius, Rheinhardt Strydom, M D Masud Ahmed, Thomas Anders, Rory Anders, Alessandro Morris , Richie Lawrence, Ben White, Eoin Cleere  and Ian Anders. Phoenix won the toss and inserted the visitors. The match began at 10.57.

Thomas and Rory shared the new ball and the first eight overs included one maiden each with Rory conceding only 6 runs in the other three. Thomas was rested at this point while Rory remained in the attack and his next over ended the opening stand with Cotter exiting on 8 after Strydom took the catch.  Ken McDonald often  does well against Phoenix so the home team were probably happy to dismiss him on 12 as Strydom had him caught by Morris. Numbers 4 to 7 for Terenure only managed 0,8,0 and 5 with Morris and White taking a wicket each and Strydom a further two to leave the visitors on 114 for 7. There was a good effort by numbers 8 and 9 with Ali making 30 before White had him caught by Cleere and Smith ending undefeated on 14.

Terenure were all out for 163 after 48 overs but rain had delayed the completion of the visitors’ innings and Duckworth Lewis would have a say in the Phoenix innings. Phoenix lost Strydom after making 11 and Masud hit one good four before being run out so the chase was not going to be straightforward. However, the rain closed in and the umpires and captains agreed to abandon the match at 7.30 and the refix date is Sunday 05/06/16.

Batting – C Mullen – 64

Bowling – R Strydom 3-21 / A Morris  3-31

Conor Dillon

1st XI v Merrion (away) – 14/5/2016

With the team’s confidence boosted after three consecutive  victories from the friendly match with Instonians,  the league match with Railway and the Irish Senior Cup match with St. Johnston  Phoenix could have been forgiven for bringing some level of optimism to Anglesea Road.  Merrion had won the last two Division 1 clashes between the sides at their ground but Phoenix had fought hard for an Irish Senior Cup quarter final win there in 2011. This match would be David Langford-Smith’s first match against Phoenix  for whom he fought the good fight from 2002 to 2011.  Phoenix won the toss and elected to bat. The batting order was Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed,  Sam Anderson,  Adam Chester,  Rory Anders, Thomas Anders, Eoin Cleere, Ben White, Alessandro Morris, Ian Anders.

Pretorius managed three early boundaries against Langford-Smith who took the new ball from the Donnybrook end but he exited on 16 after Kennedy had him caught.  Masud only survived four balls before Langford-Smith pierced his defences and hit the stumps.  The stand between Sam Anderson and Strydom  got things going for Phoenix and after  80 runs in 49 minutes Anderson fell with both batsmen on 36. The score had reached 130 when Chester was out for a disappointing  1 and the next stand was nought when Strydom was out for 60. Rory and Thomas Anders kept the scoreboard ticking over and manager Colm Byrne must have hoped that Phoenix could get past 200 but Thomas fell on 11 and Cleere went on 5 which meant that Phoenix were running out of wickets. Morris made only one but the last wicket stand between the adhesive pair of White and Ian Anders added a very respectable 26. Ian’s innings of 8 included the only maiden over of the innings when he steadily defended his wicket against the pace and accuracy of Langford-Smith.

After tea Blakeney and Dominic Joyce set out with a target of 198. Thomas Anders and Sam Anderson shared the new ball and after 4 overs each the home team were 37 for 0. Morris was first change bowler with Strydom bowling the tenth over. Strydom’s first ball got an lbw verdict to remove Blakeney for 21. This was to be the high point of the day for Phoenix.  Morris bowled an unbroken spell of ten overs for 34 but Joyce and John Anderson proved too good for White, Rory Anders or Sam Anderson when he came back on for  two late overs.  Phoenix lost by 9 wickets.

Man of the match – D Joyce – 104 not out

PS   In the light of Merrion’s demolition of Malahide in the Leinster Senior Cup Phoenix could feel a little less despondent about the margin of their defeat.

Conor Dillon

1st XI v Railway Union (home) – 30/4/16

This was a musical, an all singing all dancing few hours of good enjoyable cricket from our newly promoted first team.  We bowled first and took wickets at regular intervals with only K. Carroll who scored an impressive 107 showing any real resistance to our strong bowling attack.  Railway finished their 50 overs on 244 for 9 with 2 wickets each for T. Anders, R. Anders and R. Strydom.  Our new recruits R. Strydom and N. Pretorius opened the batting and scored 52 and 51 respectively and then M. Ahmed top scored with 66 not out to take the game away from Railway.  Adam Chester had a cameo appearance to score a quick 29 (including some flamboyant boundaries off the bowling of a well known Irish international) and we reached the target 4 wickets down and with 8 overs to spare.

Helen Caird

The Hills  – 16/4/2016

Phoenix began the 2016 season with a friendly against the opposition which had finished above them in first place in Division 2 of 2015. Nicolas Pretorius had swapped The Vineyard for the Phoenix Park since the sides clashed in September  with Rheinhardt Strydom  joining Phoenix as player coach and Alessandro Morris also giving the selectors a new bowling option.  There were hailstones for a few minutes during the preceding 2nds v 3rds game but the 1st xi game was completed without any weather interruption. The scorers were advised that Phoenix would bat first.  The batting order was Rheinhardt Strydom, wicket keeper batsman Nicolas Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, Richie Lawrence, Matt Scott, RoryAnders, Thomas Anders, Ben White, Alessandro Morris.

Strydom hit one nice four before becoming the first to get out after an innings of 9. The visiting scorer’s  verdict on Pretorius was that his defences were not impregnable but that he tended to score quickly while remaining at the crease. An innings of 35 from 36 balls seemed to make this an accurate assessment.  Masud dropped to number 3 to accommodate the heavyweight new signings and made a respectable 22 including three fours.  Anderson also made 22 but  Chester’s  6  may have been beneath his ability and Scott may have been disappointed to be run out on 3. Lawrence made 18 and Rory Anders 12 while Ben White suffered a platinum duck. Thomas Anders ended undefeated with 14 from 10 balls while Morris managed a single from the only ball he faced. The opening stand of 33 proved to be the biggest partnership of the innings with the visitors set a target of 146 from their 30 overs.

Sam Anderson and Thomas Anders shared the new ball. Anders made the first breakthrough in the fourth over when he had Baumgart caught by White. Morris took his first wicket for Phoenix when he had Gavin caught by Chester. A big stand between Sorenson and Van der Merwe kept the visitors in touch and they did well to keep wickets in hand. Rory Anders had Van der Merwe caught by Anderson and Lawrence had Sorenson caught by Thomas Anders but Shaukat and Murphy were able to bring proceedings to a close with an over to spare. Phoenix lost by 6 wickets.

Batting N Pretorius 35

Bowling T Anders 1-16 (most economical)

Conor Dillon