If the Phoenix 4th XI are to win the Division 9 league title, they will require history to repeat itself. Let me explain.
On Sunday, 14th September, in a field outside the sleepy Meath village of Kentstown, the cricket boys of Longford bowled Knockharley out for 34 runs. Longford knocked the runs off in 4 overs without losing a wicket. The result meant Knockharley didn’t achieve the 5 points they needed to win the league. Instead, the Division 6 title went to Phoenix 3rd XI, captained by Graham Morris. Congratulations to all concerned.
If the 4th XI are in follow in the footsteps of the 2s and 4s, they will need a similar type result when Greystones travel to Mullingar next Sunday. With their ground now in ‘soccer’ mode, Greystones have conceded home advantage. Greystones go into the game as overwhelming favourites and know that a win with 4 winning bonus points, will see them leapfrog Phoenix to claim the Division 9 title. Let’s hope the Mullingar underdogs can secure another famous ‘home’ victory.
This scenario all came about thanks to a lacklustre batting display by the 4s in their final league game against Greystones in the Phoenix Park. The 4s bowled well to restrict their opponents to 163 all out in just under 37 overs. But it could have been so much better. A couple of dropped chances cost the 4s about 50 runs. 50 very valuable runs.
On the bowling front, Clarke took 2 early wickets. Millar finished with 3 wickets (taking his total to 37 for the season) and 2 catches. Ian Anders chipped in with 2 wickets and Kearney with one. 2 late run outs didn’t help Greystones.
The batting line-up had to be changed at the last minute. With Grant off the field for a while, Raj had taken over the gloves. Needing some time to sort out his dodgy knees, Millar and President Brown became the opening duo. A change at number 3 was also required following an injury in the field to Adam Bampfield (thanks to Jonathan Ebbs for coming on and fielding and effecting a run-out). So Ian batted 3 with Raj at 4 and the injured Adam at 5.
The loss of early wickets put Phoenix on the back foot. The run rate was upped with the arrival of Raj (32) to the crease. However, with Bampfield struggling with a leg injury, things were not looking good. The dismissal of Raj followed by Dismore, Anders and Bampfield meant Phoenix stilled needed another 75 runs to win the game. Some lower order resistance of Grant (22) and Peter Maher (18) saw the runs required drop to 29. But both fell with the score on 135. When Kearney was bowled by Sinto John, Phoenix were all out for 137, 27 runs short of their target.
Congratulations to Greystones on what was a magnificent game of cricket played in an excellent spirit. Hopefully they get the required number of points from their game against Mullingar to achieve promotion. (But not enough to overtake Phoenix at the top of the table!).
The Greystones players were mightily impressed with the hospitality shown to them throughout the day from the teas to the after game pizzas (thank you to the person(s) that organised them).
As many of you will know by now, I am not one for handing out Man of the Match Awards. However, for this game a MOTM award is needed. Sinto John, from Greystones, scored 55 with the bat and took 5 for 18 with the ball. Under normal circumstances, he would be getting the award. However, MOTM has to a sub. When Grant White had to leave the field, Louis McDonough came on as sub. He fielded for 30 overs for Phoenix. He chased balls down, stopped drives and what an arm for one so young (and small!). Then, when the opening bowler for Greystones went off injured (he said hamstring but the pizza and beer may have been a factor), Louis came on to field for Greystones. Another 40 overs in the field. Again, Louis was superb. I believe there are ongoing discussions about the transfer fee to bring to Greystones next season!
So another season draws to an end. Well, almost. Promotion (subject to confirmation from the OCC) is secured. With the right result from Mullingar, the 4s will be able to join their club mates from the 2s and 3s at the LCU Awards Night.
Come on Mullingar!!!
The end of season review will be available soon (I know you are all waiting for it!). It’s focus will depend on Sunday’s game.
The team for the Greystones game was: John Anders (c), Grant White (wk), Gordon Millar, Michael Brown, Ian Anders, Raj Gopal, Adam Bampfield, Devon Dismore, Peter Maher, Denis Kearney, William Clarke. Subs: Louis McDonough and Jonathan Ebbs.