With the sun shining, the 4s made the trip to the back pitch in Malahide to take on their 4th XI. Captain Anders won the toss and elected to field first.
Clarke and Ijaz took the new ball. Malahide got off to a fast start as both bowlers struggled to maintain their line and length. Clarke made the breakthrough with young Marc Brazil taking the catch behind the stumps. Clarke followed up with another wicket. Then Ijaz joined the wicket party when he uprooted the middle stump of the Malahide number 4.
A partnership of 29 was ended when Monjur bowled the remaining opening batsman. At 71/4, the game was evenly poised. Unfortunately, Malahide would add another 94 runs before the next wicket fell. From 165/4, Malahide were bowled out for 189 in 43.5 overs. The wickets were shared out with Clarke taking 4, Monjur taking 3, Anders taking 2 and 1 for Ijaz. Conor Hillman bowled well without any luck. James Maginnis also bowled well without getting the wicket his bowling deserved. (During a post-match pint, the Malahide batsmen mentioned to yours truly that they were quite impressed with James’s pace).
The Phoenix innings got off to a poor start. Raj holed out in the first over and Lineesh was bowled in the second over with the runs now matching the wickets at 2. Brazil and Godwin set about rebuilding the innings. They both showed great patience and put a high price on their wicket.
With the score on 26, Godwin was given out LBW. Godwin and most of the other people in the grounds of Malahide Castle didn’t need DRS to know that the LBW decision may not have been correct. This was a turning point in the game as the change bowlers from Malahide were no way near as consistent as their opening pair.
Evan Chester and Marc Brazil fell soon afterwards to leave Phoenix in trouble at 36 for 5. Ijaz (35) and Conor (26) then put on 72 to get Phoenix back in the game. Some strong running and ‘inventive’ strokes were on show from both. However, the lower order could only each manage single figure scores to see the innings end on 123. A 66-run defeat.
A failure to break the 5th wicket partnership of Malahide was a big contributor to the loss. On a number of occasions, Hillman was only a coat of varnish away from sending the stumps flying. A poor start to the chase also hampered the chances of winning especially when the change bowlers came on. A lot work needs to be done to ensure the 4th XI are contesting for league and cup honours come September.
Team: John Anders (c), Marc Brazil (wk), Raj Gopal, Lineesh Ramachandran, Michael Godwin, Evan Chester, Conor Hillman, Ijaz Ahmed, James Maginnis, Monjur Ahmad, Willie Clarke.
Thanks to Conor Dillon for scoring and Michelle Maginnis, our water supplier.