2nd XI v North Kildare (away) – 15/4/2017
There were several changes to the Phoenix line up after the narrow win over DIT. Skipper Sayed Shah was on a holiday and Aaron Joseph stood in as captain. Ian Anders and Andy Brawders were probably rested with the !st xi fixture on Easter Monday in mind and Jonathan Wardell perhaps enjoying quality time with his family. Captain Joseph was a little behind schedule in his journey to the Maws and Mike Godwin represented Phoenix at the toss and advised Joseph that Phoenix would be in the field and managed to surprise the skipper with the news that the match would be 40 overs each. As your correspondent understood it the eleven who took the field for Phoenix included Captain Joseph, wicket keeper Amit Battan, Matt Gregg, Naeem Shahzad, Nitin Naik, Matt Scott , Graham Morris, V Kumar, Vish Vaidyanathan, S Ahmad, A Jan. Later Godwin would bat and Morris would not.
Vaidyanathan and Jan took the new ball for Phoenix and after 33 runs and 32 minutes Jan took the first wicket for Phoenix as Gregg took a catch. Joseph rested Jan and brought himself on and removed batsmen 2,3 and 4 for 16, 8 and 8 respectively with Gregg, Naik and Jan all taking catches. The skipper again finished with a commendable economy rate of 3.5. The other wickets to fall went to Jan, Vaidyanathan, and two to Morris but having reduced the hosts to 95 for 7 in the 25th over Phoenix were unable to go for the jugular with batsman no. 8 retiring on 56, no. 9 making 46 and nos. 10 and 11 both finishing undefeated as the innings closed on 224.
Gregg and Shahzad faced up to the Auret brothers and the South Africans got the better of the early exchanges as they removed one batsman each. Battan played steadily for a while and the stand with Naik looked promising before the DIT man had to retire hurt on 16. Scott was bowled for 10 and Godwin was run out for 0 and the Phoenix innings seemed to struggling in a similar manner to the home team earlier. Arriving at the crease with the score at a very unpromising 74 for 5 ( and Naik unlikely to come back ) Vaidyanathan knuckled down and emerged as the top scorer in consecutive weeks with a current average of 120. Skipper Joseph was a little more meticulous in giving the no. 9 batsman’s name as “S. Ahmad” who had struck a six to win the DIT match and announced himself to the home bowlers with a six from his first ball and he and Jan both hit one four and two sixes and both finished on 18. Not to be outdone skipper Joseph hit a six from his first ball and made an undefeated 14 as the innings closed on 196. Phoenix ran out of overs before running out of wickets.
Bowling A Joseph 3-21
Batting V Vaidyanathan
2nd XI v Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) – 8/4/2017
Your correspondent had never before played in or seen a club match as early in April as this but given the weather it was obviously an inspired decision. The visitors included Gareth Delany of Leinster and Nitin Naik of Phoenix while captain Sayed Shah would get his first look at two Phoenix debutants. There was one change to the selection announced during the week with Ian Anders coming in to replace Graham Morris. In a 45 overs each match Phoenix were to be in the field first. The Phoenix team was : Captain Sayed Shah, wicket keeper Jonathan Wardell, Vish Vaidyanathan, Aaron Joseph, Ian Anders, Andy Brawders, Amit Battan, Naeem Shazad, Asim Jan, Shahzaib, Saraanavan.
Jan and Shahzaib took the new ball. The opening stand between Jack Balbirnie and Cotter had realised 26 when Shahzaib got his first wicket for Phoenix with Shazad taking the catch. Joseph bowled an unbroken spell of 9 overs from the Pasley end and clean bowled both no. 2 Balbirnie for 25 and no. 3 Kashif for 24. Naik batted for a long time to finish as leading scorer for the visitors for 63 as he and Adeel both fell to Battan. Phoenix managed to run out both Mannan and Delany. Despite the exhortations in the pre match huddle by Wardell about the line the bowlers should be looking for some of them struggled at times and Phoenix conceded 32 wides. Joseph ,playing arguably at a higher altitude than he might usually play at ,was the pick of the bowlers. Although Battan matched his 2 wickets his economy rate of 3.33 was unbeatable as the visitors overall scoring rate was just a little under 6 runs an over.
Needing 263 to win Captain Shah and Shazad began the reply. Kashif and Zain were a little more accurate than Phoenix had been earlier but there were some positive shots from Phoenix with Shah hitting 2 boundaries from his first 6 balls and Shazad hitting 3 boundaries from his first 6 balls. The stand had reached 43 when the skipper was caught at extra cover for 16. Ian Anders was the next in and it seemed that Shazad would get to 50 before he was unfortunately run out for 47. The exit of Anders for 11 brought Wardell and Vaidyanathan together with the Galwayman proving an adhesive foil to the Indian’s stroke play. A stand of 69 left Phoenix still needing 108 with 6 wickets in hand. Battan took on the role of supporting Vaidyanathan until the latter fell on 62. Brawders was next in and he took on the aggressor role with Battan varying between blocking and taking what singles were available. They were probably both frustrated not to be there at the finish as they ended with 42 and 25 respectively with Shazaib hitting a six to end on 12 not out while at the other end Joseph was not required to face a ball and Jan was not required at all. Phoenix won by 2 wickets with 8 balls to spare.
Best Bowler A Joseph 9-3-30-2
Top Scorer V Vaidyanathan 62
Man of the Match A Brawders 42 (given the position of the match at the time he came to the crease)