by Conor Dillon
After the washout in the North West Phoenix continued their efforts to qualify for the second round of the Irish Senior Cup. Eglinton were upset as they felt they could have fielded a better eleven on Sunday 26th but Phoenix may have felt they would be struggling themselves without Wells and Balogh (ineligible) and Leonard (ill). Phoenix won the toss and elected to field first. The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were : Captain Conor Kelly, wicket keeper Jonty Wardell, Thomas Anders, M DMasud Ahmed, Syed Ali, Riaan Jeggels, Rory Anders, Adam Chester, Sadaf Raza, Steve Davis, Corie Dickeson.
There was early action for substitute fielder Mike Godwin as Davis was off injured for several minutes. Rory Anders took the new ball from the Chesterfield Avenue end with Masud Ahmed opening from the magazine fort end. This seemed to work well for Phoenix with Pierce caught by Chester off Masud in the 6th over to make it 12 for 1. Anders reached an analysis of 6-2-15-0 before he had to be rested and in the meantime Captain Kelly replaced Masud at the other end. Kelly kept himself on for an unbroken spell of 10 overs and he saw off Christie by taking a difficult caught and bowled chance, Wylie after a solitary boundary, former international Smyth clean bowled for 11 and the adhesive Chopra clean bowled for 36. Davis was rested after bowling 6 overs for 16 and Raza was a little more expensive. The Anders brothers did not make any inroads but Masud and Davis managed to keep the closing overs in check as Davis bowled the no.9, Johnson, and Masud picked up nos. 7,8 and 10 with the last wicket falling on the last ball of the innings. The target for Phoenix was 207.
There was an early setback for the Phoenix reply when Wylie managed to deflect Dickeson’s drive onto Masud’s stumps as the Bagladeshi backed up. After hitting one boundary Thomas Anders was caught behind by Olphert off Martin and at 16 for 2 Phoenix needed to steady themselves a little. Dickeson and Jeggels put a better shine on the scoreboard and the 50 mark had been registered when Dickeson fell to Allen for 23. Ali and Jeggels added 23 before the player-coach fell to Allen for 27. At 77 for 4 Captain Kelly arrived at the crease. This was to be a crucial stand for Phoenix as Ali and Kelly got on top of the bowling and pushed the score on to 165 before Kelly fell after picking out a fielder. Ali soon followed and Chester did not last long but Rory Anders and Jonty Wardell showed poise and temperament to see Phoenix home by 3 wickets.
Phoenix bowling: Masud 4-41, Kelly 4-32
Phoenix batting: Ali 51, Kelly 42
Man of the Match: C Kelly – best bowler , second highest scorer