by Conor Dillon
Captain Ford remained bullish about his team’s promotion prospects via the pathway of home victories over Railway Union and Civil Service and wins on the road against Clontarf 3rds and Dundrum. The first of these fixtures was against Railway Union. The starrings meant that Dumisani Magala had to vacate his spot in the team with Mark Gibson-McKenna and Simmi Singh also absent. Amit Battan, Coach Lunson and Nick James were called into the side. Railway Union won the toss and elected to bat. The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were Captain David Ford, wicket keeper Jonathan Wardell, Amit Battan, Thomas Anders, Eoin Cleere, Vish Vaidyanathan, Nick James, Adam Chester, Branem Adams, Coach Matt Lunson, Ben White.
White and Anders were entrusted with the new ball and both tasted early success with Anders bowling D Singh for 1 and White bowling visiting skipper Grehan for 4. Phoenix had to wait just over half an hour for the next wicket as Ul Haq and Kapoor added 46. Then Adams got in on the act when he trapped Kapoor lbw for 12 and soon had Abu Bakar caught by Chester for 4. Lunson was now on at the other end and he managed the impressive achievement of bowling seven consecutive maiden overs. To add to this he bowled the dangerous Uddin for 3 and had Mohammad caught by Ford for 5. Adams ended with 4 wickets after bagging the scalps of Zahid for 1 and top scorer Ul Haq for 39. Vaidyanathan bowled a steady 3 overs for 8 runs but it was Anders at the other end who brought the innings to a close with Ahmed lbw and J Singh caught by Wardell. Rizwan ended on 22 not out as the home team were set a target of 118.
Captain Ford opened with Battan and the pair added 16 against J Singh and Ahmed with Battan getting the benefit of four overthrows. Then Battan was lbw to Mohammad for 9 and Ford and Anders were unable to add to the score before the skipper was dismissed for 4 by J Singh. Cleere and Anders added 10 at a steady rate but then Anders was caught by Grehan bowled Rizwan for 4. It seemed that Cleere and Vaidyanathan would see Phoenix through to the tea interval but having only recently gotten off the mark with a boundary Cleere was bowled by the fifth ball of the over. After a nervous tea James and Vaidyanathan tilted the balance of the game towards Phoenix with Grehan trying Ul Haq and Abu Bakar but reverting to J Singh who took his second wicket when he trapped the Englishman lbw for 31. At 90 for 5 Phoenix did not panic and Chester and Vaidyanathan both contributed to an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 28 which ended with the Indian as top scorer for Phoenix with 32 and the Dubliner undefeated on 12.
Man of the Match: A good team effort by Phoenix to keep their promotion hopes alive.