1st XI v The Hills – 27/5/2017

Phoenix went into the the third of three consecutive away games in a positive frame of mind after accounting for the hosts in Carrickfergus in the Irish Senior Cup (although the reward for this was another trip up north to North Down) in the first and in the second ending a recent losing run at Sydney Parade.  Phoenix have also had a difficult time at Milverton in recent years with the most frustrating result being a defeat on the last ball in 2013 and when that season ended The Hills were champions and Phoenix were relegated. Adam Chester returned to the side with Richie Lawrence making way. Phoenix won the toss and inserted the hosts. The team who took the field for Phoenix was Captain and wicket keeper Nicolaas Pretorius, Reinhardt Strydom, Ari Karvelas, Graham Morris, Thomas Anders, Adam Chester, Rory Anders, Ben White,  Ian Anders, Gordon Millar, Andy Brawders.

The weather meant that play did not start until 3.48 with the match reduced at that  point to 37 overs each. Phoenix rotated Karvelas, Thomas Anders and Morris quite a lot early on but it was the South African who took the first wicket for the visitors – Mcloughlin Gavin caught by Pretorius for 5. Donegan and Van der Merwe got the score up to 48 for 1 but once again the umpires felt the rain was too heavy to keep playing and the teams were off the field from 4.28 to 6.10. The match was reduced again – this time to 24 overs each. The second wicket stand had reached 81 when Strydom had Van der Merwe caught by Karvelas for 35. Donegan got to 50 before he also fell to Strydom with the hosts thinking they needed get on with things and try to set a difficult target for Phoenix. Sorenson hit four boundaries in an innings of nine balls with Rooney Murphy’s 26 the best of the rest. With Phoenix conceding 21 extras the innings closed on 167 for 9. Strydom fared best of the bowlers but White and Millar also took 2 wickets  and the Phoenix outfielders also effected 2 run outs.

The Duckworth Lewis calculation set Phoenix a target of 177 from their 24 overs. Strydom faced the first ball with Ian Anders at the other end. Strydom hit a boundary and a single from Cartwright’s first over and retained the strike for Van der Merwe’s first over from which he struck three boundaries in the first four balls. When he got to face at last Anders batted at a good tempo and the stand had reached 78 when the teenager was caught and bowled by Ali to exit on 25 from 25 balls. Pretorius brought himself to the crease next and he was soon hitting some scoring shots while Strydom kept attacking at the other end. After a stand of 41 Strydom was bowled by Van der Merwe for 65. Rory Anders hit a breezy 13 including two sixes but Pretorius batted on and was unlucky not to reach 50. Karvelas and Thomas Anders were undefeated as Phoenix reached 177 with eight balls to spare.

Man of the Match Reinhardt Strydom   5-0-20-2;  65 runs

Conor Dillon

1st XI v YMCA – 29/4/2017

As Stan Mitchell commented during the match the visitors had won their last two league games at Phoenix but Phoenix’s win at Claremont Road last year was an important result in the fight to avoid relegation.  There was just one change in the Phoenix team after the defeat against Clontarf with Ian Anders asked to drop down to the 2nd xi for their fixture later in the weekend and Graham Morris was called up to the 1st xi.  (This may puzzle some readers as your correspondent previously alleged that “Morris” had left the club. It was Alessandro Morris who left the club after one season while it is believed that Graham Morris  is now in his sixth season at Phoenix.)  Nicolaas Pretorius won the toss and elected to bat. The batting order was Reinhardt Strydom, Robin Kelly, Rory Anders, Pretorius, Adam Chester, Richie Lawrence, Ari Kervales, Thomas Anders, Ben White, Andy Brawders, Graham Morris.

Strydom and Kelly scored quickly early on but then both fell with the score on 30. Pretorius was the aggressor while Rory Anders was concentrating more on holding up the other end. The stand had added 59 when the skipper was bowled by Jones for 47. Adam Chester was in good form from early in his innings. Rory Anders finished on 17 and Chester and Lawrence added 74 to put Phoenix in a good position. Kervales made 13 from 10 balls and at last has an average ( 173 including the Railway match ).  Chester was dismissed for 91 in the 49th over and there wasn’t really enough strike left for White or Brawders with Thomas Anders ending undefeated on 20.  An interesting feature of the innings was that all batsmen from 1 to 8 got into double figures.

Defending 267 Kervales and Rory Anders took the new ball. Anders took first blood for Phoenix when he bowled Fisher for 5. The visitors reached 51 for 1 and then Jack Tector fell to Rory Anders with Pretorius taking the catch, Simmi Singh fell to Kervales with Pretorius taking the catch and Gunning was stumped Pretorius bowled by Rory Anders. Harry Tector and Sam Murphy began to fight back for the visitors and slowly but surely they began to make ground on Phoenix.  From 54 for 4 after 12 overs they reached 225 for 4 after 46 overs. That was a lot of hard work but they still needed 43 to win from 24 balls. Murphy fell on 74 and it was either hit out or get out for the lower order with Morris dismissing Parkinson and Thomas Anders achieving a commendable hat trick bowling McAuley and Jones and having Abassie caught by Kervales. Kervales dismissed Harry Tector for 117 and the visitors fell 19 short of victory. Only three visiting batsmen reached double figures and Phoenix managed to keep the extras down to 20.

Batting          A Chester 91, N Pretorius 47

Bowling        T Anders 4-58, R Anders 3-43

Conor Dillon

1st XI v Clontarf – 22/4/2017

After bonding with a trip to Belfast and a home win over Railway the previous weekend it was now down to the serious business for Phoenix. Mike Godwin and Matt Scott were left out with Robin Kelly coming in for his Phoenix debut and Reinhardt Strydom back in the side. With Masud Ahmed and Morris having left the club Eoin Cleere seems to be the only other option not pursued by the selectors so far this season.  Phoenix lined out with the full team as selected during the week. Nicolaas Pretorius won the toss and elected to bowl first. The Phoenix team who took the field was  Captain and wicket keeper Pretorius, Strydom, Kelly, ThomasAnders, Rory Anders, Ian Anders, Ari Karvelas, Ben White, Richie Lawrence, Andy Brawders, Adam Chester.

Altaf and Coghlan added 2 extras before Karvelas took his first wicket for Phoenix with Altaf given out lbw. Coghlan proved a handful for Rory Anders but after a stand of 30 Gallagher fell to Karvelas with White taking the catch. There was a bit of “jug avoidance” by Coghlan as he was bowled by White to exit on 47. John Mooney showed his patience by batting over two hours for 73 before White had him caught by Lawrence. White also dismissed “Bobbo” Forrest for 20 and Joe Morrissey for 0 while Karvelas removed  Asmat for 26. Strydom was unlucky to concede consecutive boundaries in his first over with the fielders apparently in line with the ball proving unable to execute  the long barrier correctly. Rory Anders had Vincent caught by Pretorius for 7 and Kelly effected a run out to remove Khan for 0. The innings closed on 250 after Thomas Anders had Sameer Dutt caught by Karvelas for 10. The last man, Islam, finished undefeated on 14. The batsmen had scored 201 runs and Phoenix  had conceded 49 extras. One wonders would it be possible for a bowler to take more  control of his line or would it be a pyrrhic victory.

Strydom and Kelly began the reply for Phoenix. Morrissey and Islam took the new ball for the visitors with the Dubliner bowling without a break until he had completed his ten overs and could leave to attend to a pressing domestic matter. Morrissey dismissed Strydom for 19, Pretorius for 5 and Lawrence for 5 before he left. Kelly fell to Mooney for 16, Rory Anders also fell to Mooney for 23 and Chester fell to Mooney for 4. When Karvelas came to the crease Phoenix were 177 runs short of victory with only 5 wickets in hand.  Karvelas and Thomas Anders worked hard together and a stand of 61 in 53 minutes was an improvement for Phoenix. White made 13 while Karvelas began to accelerate at the other end and an adhesive 6 from Ian Anders brought Phoenix to within 32 runs of victory. Karvelas reached his century and umpire Andrews felt that taking a single from the next ball was too early in the over and unfortunately Brawders fell to Khan on the next ball. Karvelas finished undefeated on 104 as Phoenix lost by 22 runs.

Batting       A Karvelas 104 not out

Bowling     B White 4-40 A Karvelas  3-48

Conor Dillon

1st XI v Railway Union – 17/4/2017

After a washout in Belfast on Easter Sunday Phoenix had another chance to prepare for the Division 1 2017 season with a home friendly against Railway Union. The match was to be 40 overs each with Phoenix batting first. Your correspondent did not see a team list for the Belfast game and so could not be sure if there were any changes between the two games.  Coach Strydom rested himself and current skipper Nicolaas Pretorius and former skipper Richie Lawrence put themselves at 10 and 11 so that the younger members of the team would have a chance to bat. The batting order was Adam Chester, Rory Anders, Ari Kervelas, Thomas Anders, Matt Scott , Ben White, Ian Anders, Andy Brawders,  Mike Godwin, Riichie Lawrence, Nicolaas Pretorius.

Chester was adhesive early on while Rory Anders found his fluency a little more quickly but as Chester got his eye in the runs began to come at both ends with Chester the first man out for 34 after an opening stand of 68 in 41 minutes. Kervelas struck a boundary from his first ball and managed  5 runs from his next eleven balls. The sequence of scoring shots that followed was 6, 4, 4, 4, 6, 1, 6, 4, 6, 6. Kervelas then retired on 56. It was an innings that brought back memories of Peterson clubbing the North Kildare attack all over the ground in 2014 or going further back to Torissi’s 58 not out from 22 balls against Limavady in 2003. Thomas Anders batted well and may have considered himself unlucky not to reach 50. Matt Scott was industrious and it seemed that 17 was an unusual score to retire on. White made 6. Ian Anders would probably have reached 50 within one or two more overs while Brawders could be happy with an undefeated 19. The innings closed on 270.

Kervelas took the new ball from the Pasley end with Rory Anders coming from the magazine fort end. Having been run out at the Maws on Saturday Godwin will have taken some quiet satisfaction from running out the opener Kenny before he had scored. Hunt was removed for 5 when Rory Anders had him caught with Godwin the fielder responsible again.No. 5 Divney was bowled by White for 0 and no. 6 Duffy also fell to White for 7. Your correspondent was unable to identify the fielders who ran out Hafiz for 14 and caught Maan to give Brawders a wicket. No. 9 Grehan tried hard for the visitors and finished as their top scorer with 29. It was sad to see the no. 10 working so hard to keep the no. 11 off the strike and Rory Anders first delivery to Van Dyk ended the match. Phoenix won by 155 runs.

A good team effort by Phoenix but against opponents who were overmatched.