Phoenix 5th XI spent a freezing cold and windy May Bank Holiday in Malahide.
The Phoenix team was Graham Mooney, Stephen Black, Michael Fahy, Arsalan Mehmood, Evan Chester, Aidan Chester (c) , Louis McDonagh, Akarsh Nalawade, Theo Dempsey, Zafarullah Mohommed and James Maginnis.
There was a gust of wind and hail as the toss was made which somehow managed to blow the coin on the side the Admiral had called and he had no hesitation in fielding first.
The wind was blowing straight down the wicket and it was no surprise when Zafar decided to open the bowling with the wind at his back! At the other end Theo Dempsey learnt what it meant to be the “junior pro” as he faced the prospect of bowling into the wind! Bowling consistently outside off stump was going to be a challenge for every bowler with or against the wind!
Scoring was slow particularly as the dream team of Evan Chester and Stephen Black in the covers let nothing past them all day. To see all the boys diving full length and supporting each other brings a lot of noise and a lot of positive energy and it got the Malahide batsmen jittery looking to try and score. After Zafar bowled a peach of a delivery to remove the openers off stump the number three tried quick flick to square leg but Akarsh pounced sending in a low return to Louis to leave Malahide 30-2 off 10 overs.
The Admiral started to roll the changes after 10 overs with first Akarsh and then Arsalan coming onto bowl- but it was clear they were at the wrong ends and soon Graham Mooney was brought on to facilitate a change of ends. Graham used his 30 yard run up to warm up and the change of ends was complete with immediate results. Arsalan snatched a powerful shot to get the dangerous looking Malahide number 4 while Akarsh started to keep things much tighter.
At drinks Malahide were 84-3 which was a good effort by the fielding side in the conditions.
Mooney kept giving the Admiral swinging shoulders so in the end the skipper relented and let Graham bowl into the wind. Grahams pace meant that there was always chances coming and he snared two Malahide batsmen quickly. James Maginnis was on next and when he listened he bowled a perfect line and length deliveries! In fairness he felt his hair was in his eyes at the beginning (his words not mine!) but coming down the hill with the wind he was a real handful getting a couple of wickets. Backed up by some late shots Malahide did well to get from 130 for 6 to 168-9 after 40 overs.
Zafar got 3-23, Theo 1-23, Arsalan 2-35 and James 2-17.
The message at half time was that 168 was below par in what were really tough conditions in the field. If we could bat our overs we’d get over the line!
Mooney and Black got the Phoenix reply under way. Graham pounced on a couple of wide deliverys to get us going while Stephen Black looked very solid. On a brisk 17 Graham turned the ball (stupidly Graham!) to square leg and he was off to be replaced by Michael Fahy.
This year Michael is our senior kid and we hope will bat at number 3 all season- he looked up for it! He batted very solidly along with Stephen to get us moving- at drinks we were 88-2 off 20 overs. After compiling an excellent 33 Stephen was bowled by Malahides pick of the bowlers G Read. Michael went shortly afterwards for a very good 35 with a lot of excellent shots to his name and Phoenix were still looking comfortable at 90-3. James Maginnis and Evan Chester were in next. James was off the mark but Malahide’s best bowler was operating into the wind and proving very hard to score off. Evans role on the side is to be aggressive and to push the scoreboard along knowing there’s lot of batting behind him. Trying to be aggressive against the best bowler was too difficult as he was out second ball! Phoenix were 91-4!
The Admiral was in next and decided that seeing off the Malahide left armer was the best policy as there were runs to be had at the other end. So while the Admiral tried to bore the bowling to death James got stuck in a the other end with some excellent shots. The Phoenix skipper was batting like someone with three left feet while James kept the score going. A couple of boundaries from the Admiral and the pressure lifted but then he smoked (yes smoked!) a ball to the point boundary which meant Arsalan was in next. Phoenix were 120-5 needing 48 to win. “Sunny” is a big hitter but never looked settled and when he was out for 5 followed first ball by Akarsh you could be forgiven for thinking that we were throwing it away 21 runs shorts with only 7 overs remaining.
However the fall of the wickets only meant that Louis McDonough was in next and both he and James looked calm and measured getting us closer to our target. James was in the 40’s and while he had a few lifelines it didn’t stop him from looking to score. Needing 3 to win off the last over Louis rocked back to a short ball outside off stump and guided the ball for four through point- James finished on 48 not out (the scorebook has been amended to show 55 not out subsequently but no matter!) A frenetic but never in doubt (cough!) victory for the 5ths!
A good game in terribly difficult conditions but lots more learning and great fun for young and old alike!
This week’s learnings?
Saving runs in the field is as good as wickets – well done Stephen “Jonty” Black and Evan “Rhodes” Chester – they saved at least 30 runs -you’ll be in the covers for the season!
Our bowlers stuck to their guns – Theo came back on at the end (into the wind!) and bowled really well! There was some good balls and some bad balls but we kept chipping away! In the conditions no-one went for more than 4 or 5 per over – a good solid effort with only 5 wides and 1 no-ball on the day!
Batting – we are being positive in our approach – scoring off the bad balls and trying to keep the good ones out- knowing there’s plenty of batting in our line up helps!
Having Theo, Louis, James, Evan and Stephen in the side is bringing a lot of noise and great energy – it’s the second week in a row that the 40 overs has flown by – 1pm starts and the innings have finished at 3.10pm which is great for us older guys!!
That’s 2 from 2 so far this season -Next up is Sandyford away on Sunday the 8th May.