by Conor Dillon
Having been defeated by every other team at least once victory over the Balrothery men would constitute Phoenix’s only possible double this season. Strangely enough Phoenix were promoted in 2012 without achieving a single double (so to speak). On the other hand the visitors (whose rivalry with Phoenix reached its zenith in 2004) could be expected to be keen to avenge Phoenix’s victory at Inch earlier in the season. The Phoenix selection for this fixture showed a number of changes from the June Bank Holiday with Masud Ahmed, Thomas Anders, Mark Wells, Riaan Jeggels and Tyler Balogh all out of the side. North County won the toss and elected to bat. The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were Captain and opening wicket keeper Conor Kelly, change wicket keeper Syed Ali, Andrew Leonard, Nicholas James, Colonel Sadaf Raza, Corie Dickeson, Coach Matt Lunson, Adam Chester, Dumisani Magala, Branem Adams, Steve Davis.
Magala and Davis took the new ball for Phoenix and squared up to Conor Armstrong and Tomas Sheil. The South African took first blood for Phoenix when he bowled Sheil for 0 after 4 minutes. He followed up on this by bowling Coughlan for 15 to make it 40 for 2. Conor Armstrong had a slightly more productive innings than his first two partners but he was caught by Captain Kelly off the bowling of Davis. John Mooney and Eddie Richardson scored at a good rate against Davis, Raza and Leonard but Captain Kelly persisted with his spin pairing and was rewarded when Leonard bowled Richardson for 41 and Mooney for 34 to make it 141 for 5. There were still plenty of overs left for the lower middle order and tail enders to bat out but Raza now got in on the act with the wickets of Getkate ( bowled for 22) ,Casey (caught by Chester for 0 ) and Bertram (bowled for 1 ). In the meantime Adams got an lbw verdict to remove Conor Sheil for 0 and finshed off the innings when he had Smyth caught by Leonard for 8.
Leonard and James set out in pursuit of a target of 165 against the spin of Coughlan and Richardson although the latter reverted to his normal pace bowling after a couple of overs. Leonard struck three boundaries but was the first man to go when he was caught by Coughlan to give Richardson the first of three wickets. The visiting scorer was not impressed with her team’s attitude and felt they were handing the match to Phoenix. In an interesting move by Phoenix Raza came in next and hit two boundaries in a brief stand of 16 with James. In this year of two Ashes series the next partnership for Phoenix was that of an Australian (Dickeson) with a Briton (James) and it produced 14 runs in 6 minutes before James was caught by Smyth for 17. At 62 for 3 it looked as if North County had a chance but Dickeson and Ali took on Richardson, the Sheils, Casey and Smyth and as the score passed 100 the umpires decided to defer tea until the match had run its course. The stand had realised 100 when both men fell with Ali out for 44 and Dickeson for 54 (his best innings for a while). It was Coach Lunson who hit the winning boundary with Chester undefeated on 1 at the other end.
Top scorer Corie Dickeson 54 runs
Best bowling Sadaf Raza 3-41