by Conor Dillon
Having lost all three away games in the Alan Murray Cup Phoenix were fulfilling this fixture without the possibility of advancing to the latter stages of the competition. Conor Kelly kept faith with the same eleven that had narrowly lost the truncated game at North County. The Hills arrived with Max Sorenson and former Phoenix star Osama Khan who had both missed the league match at Milverton where Phoenix lost on the last ball. This was the first Phoenix 1st xi match to be played on the new artificial wicket. The Hills won the toss and surprised their scorer by electing to bat. The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were Captain Conor Kelly, wicket keeper Syed Ali, Dumisani Magala, Steve Davis, Thomas Anders, Sadaf Raza, Andrew Leonard, M D Masud Ahmed, Vish Vaidyanathan, Corie Dickeson, Branem Adams.
Magala and Davis shared the new ball and first up for the visitors were Nicholas Pretorius and Howard McDonnell. Pretorius hit 12 off Magala’s first over but the Phoenix man had the last laugh in this all South African clash when Leonard caught Pretorius in the third over. Mark Dwyer managed just 4 before being caught by Vaidyanathan off Davis but this brought Sorenson to the crease and he was destined to have a substantial innings. The stand between McDonnell and Sorenson added 68 in 25 minutes and The Hills were 95 for 3 in the 12th over when Raza had McDonnell caught by Ali for 42. McLoughlin quickly fell to Raza and then Shoukat fell to Kelly for 5 with Davis taking the catch. Leonard was given 2 overs and he ended Sorenson’s innings in his second with Davis again taking the catch. The international had made 80 including six fours and six sixes. Magala and Davis were back on at the death with one over each and both took a wicket with Magala having Jonathan Andrews caught by Adams for 19 and Tomas Murphy bowled by Davis for 7.
Chasing a target of 176 Captain Kelly sent out Andrew Leonard and Masud Ahmed to open the innings. Leonard got stuck into Moore and hit 14 off the first over. Sorenson took the first two overs from the other end and in his second over he bowled Leonard for 17. Masud was in good touch and with positive play from Vaidyanathan at the other end the score had reached 72 for 1 when the Indian was bowled by Mark Dwyer for 18. Masud and Dickeson continued to carry the fight with a stand of 36 and Phoenix were up with the scoring rate required when the Bangladeshi fell for 53. Dickeson and Kelly ran a lot of singles but Phoenix started to fall a bit behind and the chase began to run out of gas when Sorenson and Shoukat returned to the attack. Sorenson bowled Dickeson for 31 and Kelly for 25 and Anders for 0 with the latter suffering his second consecutive golden duck. Shoukat had Ali caught by Sorenson for 8 and Phoenix finshed 14 runs short of victory.
Man of the Match Max Sorenson 80 runs, 4-25
Phoenix performer Masud Ahmed 53 runs