On a balmy July evening in the Park the Phoenikers were in action in their cup semi final against Pembroke. The team selected to play in this much publicised fixture was:
Kate Voice (Captain), Helen Caird (Hon. Sec), Lisa Kelly, Debbie Chapman, Vanessa Kelada, Hannah McGuckin, Orla Martin, Sarah McIntosh, Emer Bell, Deirdre Fahy, Mary Curley and 12th woman Sheila Martin.
Word had spread that if the Phoenix fans wanted to watch an adult team in a cup semi final this season the Ladies were the only team to have progressed to these heady heights. We were taking on a Pembroke side we had beaten twice in the league already and expectations were high (perhaps too high) of a Phoenix team appearing in a cup final. A great crowd turned out to cheer us on and enjoy the all too rare Summer sunshine.
Captain Kate won the toss (twice) and we elected to bat first and hopefully put a competitive total on the board. The usual openers Hon Sec and Lisa,both celebrating birthdays this week, started off steadily and no early wickets were lost. The fielding however was tight and the long boundaries difficult to reach and after 5 overs we were on a cautious 19. The Hon. Sec was out first in the eighth over with the total at 25. She was bowled by C. Tucker who John Doran remarked aged 10 was too young to be allowed to play (it is not your age it is your ability that counts).
Debbie came in at number 3 and herself and Lisa battled away with lots of singles and brought the score to 44 before Debbie’s wicket fell. Vanessa then came in and with instructions to push on took on the field and had to make spectacular full length dives twice to make her ground after taking quick singles. Lisa was playing well and hit our only 2 boundaries of the innings. When she was finally caught in the 23rd over going for a big shot we were on 88 and Lisa had scored 46 of these. She left the field to huge applause but was upset that once again she had fallen just short of her maiden Phoenix 50 (49 in our last home match) do not worry Lisa the 50 will come.
Hannah then came in to join her ex school mate and hit a glorious shot off her first ball which unfortunately clattered straight into her chum at the far end for no run. Having ascertained that the injury was not serious Hannah laughed, she is our ray of sunshine who laughs all the time even when her second ball clattered into the stumps. With 2 overs to go we sent in first Sarah and then Orla and both of them kept running in an attempt to set a 3 figure target. Orla scored 3 singles, Sarah 1 off the only ball she faced and Vanessa finished on 16 not out with very few dot balls. After 25 overs we had a total of 99.
A required rate of 4 per over was something to bowl at but we needed to keep it tight in the field and to bowl well. We started with the combination of spin of Deirdre from one end and the pace of Vanessa from the other. Pembroke started cautiously also and it looked like boundaries were to be few and far between in this match. The first break through came when in her first over Orla, who had warmed up by representing North Leinster under 13’s earlier in the day, bowled a lovely inswinger to dismiss Pegman. In her second over, the only maiden of the match, Orla bowled McCarthy and with the score at 22 for 2 off 7 it was game on.
Amanda Dunlop, sister of former Irish mens captain Angus, then came to the crease. Former President Barbara Schmidt had noticed her earlier and remarked that she had played division 1 cricket against Phoenix Ladies back in the days when pads had buckles and dinosaurs roamed the earth (well maybe not that long ago). By John Doran’s reasoning she was too old to be allowed to play!
Amanda and the Pembroke captain Sandra knuckled down and kept up with the required rate despite some sharp Phoenix fielding. Special mention to Mary Curley who dived around behind the stumps despite an appendicitus operation earlier in the season. Captain Kate switched around the bowlers to vary the attack with Sarah also having a 2 over spell but no wickets were falling. After 15 overs the score was 70 for 2 so now the rate was down at 3 an over and Amanda was finding the boundary.
The Phoenikers kept their heads up and battled to the last ball but alas with 21.4 overs bowled the target of 100 was reached. Amanda finished on 53 not out including 6 fours and really made the difference between the two sides on the night.
Thank you to Jean Louis for umpiring, Conor for scoring, coach Matt for all his encouragement, Graham for manning the BBQ afterwards and especially all our supporters who will hopefully come back and watch us next year when we will be older, wiser and even more determined (if that is possible).