After the first scheduled home match of the season lasted a whole 9 balls before the rain ended any further chance of play, the ladies were back in action in the Park against North Kildare. The team hoping to avenge an earlier season defeat to the same opposition was:
Kate Voice (Captain), Helen Caird (Hon. Sec), Lisa Kelly, Karinda Tollard, Deirdre Fahy, Sarah McIntosh, Debbie Chapman, Orla Martin, Hannah McGuckin (leaving cert. finished), Sheila Martin and Louise O’Farrell
Captain Kate won the toss and opted to field first. Deirdre Fahy opened the bowling and set the tone by bowling a tight first over for just one run. Orla Martin took a wicket in her first over and the opening pair continued with economic bowling and tight fielding to keep the score to 17 for 1 off the first 6 overs. Then in the seventh over Sarah McIntosh took a super catch and the next ball Deirdre clean bowled the new batsman leaving her on a hat trick ball which was hit in the air but unfortunately Deirdre would have needed to be the height of our umpire Jan to have got a hand to it. With runs hard to come by the batsmen thought they had an easy 2 when Karinda was still gathering the ball on the boundary as they turned for the second. They had underestimated the exocet missle arm of our demon, almost birthday girl, fielder and the ball came in hard and fast just over the stumps where the Hon. Sec whipped off the bails leaving the batsman stranded. Some who have seen the Hon. Sec wicket keeping in the past would note that a sighting of her actually at the stumps as opposed to a safe number of yards behind them is something of a rarity.
The change bowlers, yes we had 2 of them today, were Sarah and Hannah and although wicketless they kept up the good ratio of dot balls to scoring balls and kept down the wides so that North Kildare were struggling to post a competitive score. Orla Martin got a further 2 wickets in her second spell including their top scorer Bursey (29) and ended on figures of 7 overs 3 for 17. Thanks to some very desperate running at the end of the innings North Kildare ended up posting a score of 63 for 6 in their 20 overs.
Phoenix were happy with their bowling and fielding display and quietly confident that a score of 64 was possible. We only needed just over 3 per over and the key was not to do anything silly. The regular openers started steadily and were up with the rate when Hon. Sec played one on closely followed by Lisa who misread a straight one. That was 24 for 2 with lots of batting stll to come. Orla was given out LBW by the only decision of the day (hmm) and Karinda ran herself out by watching to see if the catch she had just hit would be caught instead of listening to her partner’s call to run (very easy thing to do). When her partner Sarah was bowled shortly afterwards the score was 35 for 5 and the Phoenikers were staggering, something I believe 2 of our number were doing in a night club after the race night with 2 equally nameless male players!
Hannah and Debbie than revived hope and put up an impressive stand of 18 before Hannah was also run out trying to keep up with the rate that had now increased substantially. Debbie tried to force a big hit and got caught and Sheila came in and, as instructed, tried to smoke it and was bowled. This left the score at 54 for 8 and the pressure on Deirdre and Captain Kate to get the 10 runs still required off the last 15 balls. The last over arrived and we still needed 9 to win. The hope was that, due to their captain not having the fine calculating skills of ours, an entirely new bowler had to be brought on to bowl the last over and maybe she would not be up to the standard of the previous 3.
Unfortunately, it was with this 4th bowler that the controversy which was to overshadow an otherwise exciting and hardfought match erupted. Whether Phoenix would have scored the 9 required from the last over is certainly debateable but if they had been given a fair run at it and fallen short nobody would have got upset.
The 4th bowler was nowhere near the standard of the other 3 who all bowled tightly and accurately. She bowled the type of balls that tend to bounce several times (several often being more than twice) before reaching the batsman and are almost impossible to hit. The charitable explanation would be that she was not a very good bowler, or that she was nervous and that their umpire, whose end she was bowling from was blissfully unaware of the no ball rule and was concentrating so hard on the match that he did not hear the shouts of no ball from the sideline – none of the 3 times this happened in the last over. Those of us who are not members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul might suggest this was a deliberate ploy to prevent the batsmen from scoring the runs required for Phoenix to win the match.
The final over came to a close and Phoenix had scored 58 for 8 thus losing the match by 5 runs. Still there is always next year when we can get our revenge and we did beat them in the 2004 cup final – interestingly there was controversy at that too even though we had neutral umpires.
Quote of the Day: (Lisa Kelly from the side line)
When Debbie hit a very confident boundary rather to her team mates surprise as we had not seen her do that before.
Well thats what happens when you sleep with the coach
I will hastily point out that Debbie is of course our ever enthusiastic coach Matt’s wife.