by Conor Dillon
After the previous Friday’s close shave Phoenix were back on the other side of Park Avenue for this eagerly awaited clash. Ali Keenan dropped out of the side and was replaced by Emer Bell. Lisa Kelly was delayed by a puncture in Laois but Captain Voice was unshaken in her preference for fielding first. After the home jerseys were put through the scorer’s dryer the game was able to start at 6.13 with the two Davids, Ensor and Carroll, on umpiring duty. The ten who took the field for Phoenix were Captain Kate Voice, wicket keeper Debbie Chapman, Helen Caird, Emer Bell, Vanessa Kelada, Hannah McGuckin, Sheila Martin, Orla Martin, Sarah Mcintosh, Sarah Moore. They were joined by Lisa Kelly when she arrived.
Orla Martin and Vanessa Kelada shared the new ball and bowled to Alison O’Reilly and Sarah Ingram. The Railway openers put on a steady 27 in the first 6 overs and Voice decided to freshen up the bowling attack with the introduction of Hannah McGuckin and Sarah McIntosh . McIntosh struggled with her action but managed to take a wicket when Ingram went aerial and Emer Bell took a well judged catch at mid on. However, this did not lead to an opening of the floodgates with O’Reilly going serenely on and Niamh Keenahan proving an ideal partner for her skipper. Phoenix were unable to take a further wicket but managed to contain the scoring rate to just over 5 runs an over with Sarah Moore as the fifth bowler. McGuckin ended with the best economy rate with her 4 overs costing just 15. Around about the 18th over the sky darkened considerably and the light would get progressively worse as the Phoenix innings developed.
Chasing a target of 106 Caird and Kelada were the opening pair again. The stand had realised 39 – one better than the previous Friday – when the pair pushed ambitiously for a second run and Caird was run out for 15. Kelada was scoring at a run a ball and with good support from McGuckin (who was watched attentively by Nick James) Phoenix continued to take the fight to the home team. Then McGuckin was bowled by Keenahan to make it 70 for 2. Moore was chosen to go in next and she contributed all 5 runs in the next partnership before being bowled by Ingram. Mcintosh proved a more adhesive partner for Kelada who still seemed to be seeing the ball well despite the fading light and it came down to 13 runs needed from the last over. Phoenix managed 5 from the first two balls but the home team were able to restrict them to 4 singles from the last four balls and so Railway won by 3 runs.
Lady of the Match Vanessa Kelada 56 runs not out