Phoenix 4 v North County 4
Phoenix 4th XI started their defence of their Division 9 title (league restructure meant the 4s remained in Division 9 for 2015) with a home game against North County.
Lineesh Ramachandran and Afkar Ahmed made their debuts for Phoenix while Louis McDonough made his first appearance on the 4th XI.
County won the toss and elected to bat on a very windy day in the park. Willie Clarke and Denis Kearney opened the bowling. Clarke struck early to remove the dangerous John Andrews. Afkar then bowled Joe Murphy to ensure there was no repeat of his maiden century from his league game of 2015.
Captain Anders introduced himself into the attack and this paid off when Mehta was bowled for 19. With the score on 52 for 3, Phoenix were well in the game. However, a middle order onslaught meant the next wicket didn’t fall until the score was 124. Mike ‘The Prodigal Captain’ Godwin trapped Z Imran in front for 37. Hughes (35) and Ali (46) continued to pile on the runs.
At 157 for 4, County were on course for a 250+ score. However, they hadn’t reckoned on Devon ‘The Destroyer’ Dismore. Bowling with the wind at his back, Dev ran through the middle and lower order like a knife through the fresh bread rolls we all enjoyed for tea (Thanks Kate.) His figures for 5 for 20 helped Phoenix restrict County to 211 all out with 3 balls to spare. A run out completed the wickets.
The bowling performance was poor to be brutally honest. Even with a strong wind, conceding 22 wides was always going to be an issue. Not to mention the number of dropped chances. (On the point of catches, it would be remiss not to mention Raj Gopal’s catch at mid-wicket. Considering he was fielding at extra cover and mugged Nathan Kearns for it, it was a surprise he held onto it).
After tea (thanks for cleaning up Grant), Phoenix set about chasing 212 to win. Unfortunately, the top four only contributed a total of 17 runs to the total. Afkar and Dev added 17 and 15 respectively. When Kearns, departed in the 29th over, Louis joined Denis at the crease. With the win out of the question, the target was reaching 112 to ensure at least one bonus point. With true grit and determination, the pair batted out the next 15.3 overs to reach the ‘target’ of 112. Denis finished on 22* and Louis on 14*. Clarke was his usual DNB.
Dev’s bowling figures certainly caught the eye but special mention must go to Louis McDonough. Having kept wicket for 45 overs (plus the extras balls for the wides), he then batted for 15 overs. No doubt he slept well that night!
Overall, it was a disappointing start to the season.
A big thanks to my friend, P.A.R. Penn Esq, for the help with this report.
Phoenix 4th XI: John Anders (c), Louis McDonough (wk), Raj Gopal, Lineesh Ramachandran, Adam Bampfield, Michael Godwin, Afkar Ahmed, Devon Dismore, Nathan Kearns, Denis Kearney, Willie Clarke.