by Conor Dillon
The season’s return fixtures started for Phoenix with a visit to Claremont Road to face a YMCA side who had achieved a comfortable win at the Phoenix Park on the league’s opening day. Phoenix would face their former star, Jeremy Bray, for the second time this season. As the season has worn on Phoenix have begun to look more firmly fixed to the first relegation spot but one or two improbable wins would do a lot for the morale of players and supporters alike.
On a hot day Conor Kelly lost the toss and Phoenix were to field first. The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were Captain Conor Kelly, wicket keeper Syed Ali, M D Masud Ahmed, Duminsany Magala, Corie Dickeson, Thomas Anders, Branem Adams, Coach Matt Lunson, Colonel Sadaf Raza, Steve Davis, Andrew Leonard.
Adams and Magala shared the new ball against Reinhardt Strydom and Albert van der Merwe. Home scorer Andrew Mooney commented favourably on the increasing share of overs captains in Leinster are giving to spin bowlers. Adams gave support to this view when he took the wickets of Strydom and Tector thanks to catches from Lunson who did well to get underneath the ball and Leonard. 30 for 2. However, Van der Merwe did not panic and his stand with Simmi Singh saw the home team prosper somewhat as they saw off Magala, Adams, Kelly and Leonard and the stand reached 118 before it was broken by Raza when he had Van der Merwe lbw for 60.
This brought Bray to the crease and although he escaped when Masud spilled a chance at backward square leg he went on to bat positively for 86 minutes with Phoenix just foiling his century attempt in the final over. In the meantime Singh was stumped Ali bowled Raza for 63 and Trent Johnston made a quick 27. McAuley and Bailey ended undefeated on 16 and 1 respectively as the innings closed on 311 for 7. Raza was the leading bowler on the day for Phoenix with 4-61 including a hat trick ball that the batsman had to play with a straight bat.
The Phoenix chase began with Masud Ahmed and Leonard. Cricket Ireland’s Marketing Manager struck one boundary but his fifth ball saw Simmi Singh hit the stumps. Duminsany Magala hit a nice four and a nice six but he went for 13 to the first of four slip catches by Trent Johnston. Masud upped his scoring rate in his stand with Ali but he lost the company of the wicket keeper who became Singh’s third victim for 2.
Masud and Kelly added 29 before the skipper went for 11. Masud became the leader in the clubhouse for Phoenix with 49 but it was the 42 year old Coach Lunson who emerged as the runner up for Phoenix with 14. The innings closed on 122 with Davis emerging undefeated after 2 minutes at the non-striker’s end. Yakub Ali finished with 4-9 for the home team.
Man of the Match: A good team performance by YMCA who were superior with both bat and ball