With the team’s confidence boosted after three consecutive victories from the friendly match with Instonians, the league match with Railway and the Irish Senior Cup match with St. Johnston Phoenix could have been forgiven for bringing some level of optimism to Anglesea Road. Merrion had won the last two Division 1 clashes between the sides at their ground but Phoenix had fought hard for an Irish Senior Cup quarter final win there in 2011. This match would be David Langford-Smith’s first match against Phoenix for whom he fought the good fight from 2002 to 2011. Phoenix won the toss and elected to bat. The batting order was Rheinhardt Strydom, Nicolass Pretorius, M D Masud Ahmed, Sam Anderson, Adam Chester, Rory Anders, Thomas Anders, Eoin Cleere, Ben White, Alessandro Morris, Ian Anders.
Pretorius managed three early boundaries against Langford-Smith who took the new ball from the Donnybrook end but he exited on 16 after Kennedy had him caught. Masud only survived four balls before Langford-Smith pierced his defences and hit the stumps. The stand between Sam Anderson and Strydom got things going for Phoenix and after 80 runs in 49 minutes Anderson fell with both batsmen on 36. The score had reached 130 when Chester was out for a disappointing 1 and the next stand was nought when Strydom was out for 60. Rory and Thomas Anders kept the scoreboard ticking over and manager Colm Byrne must have hoped that Phoenix could get past 200 but Thomas fell on 11 and Cleere went on 5 which meant that Phoenix were running out of wickets. Morris made only one but the last wicket stand between the adhesive pair of White and Ian Anders added a very respectable 26. Ian’s innings of 8 included the only maiden over of the innings when he steadily defended his wicket against the pace and accuracy of Langford-Smith.
After tea Blakeney and Dominic Joyce set out with a target of 198. Thomas Anders and Sam Anderson shared the new ball and after 4 overs each the home team were 37 for 0. Morris was first change bowler with Strydom bowling the tenth over. Strydom’s first ball got an lbw verdict to remove Blakeney for 21. This was to be the high point of the day for Phoenix. Morris bowled an unbroken spell of ten overs for 34 but Joyce and John Anderson proved too good for White, Rory Anders or Sam Anderson when he came back on for two late overs. Phoenix lost by 9 wickets.
Man of the match – D Joyce – 104 not out
PS In the light of Merrion’s demolition of Malahide in the Leinster Senior Cup Phoenix could feel a little less despondent about the margin of their defeat.