The matches have been coming thick and fast so here’s a roundup of the last 10 days’ action.
v YMCA – Cup Semi Final
Having been somewhat messed around by the “authorities” we were forced to face a full strength YMCA side without our captain James and having to concede home advantage. Nevertheless we travelled in hope and, having lost the toss but being asked to bat (which we would have done anyway), our gallant group of warriors set about the much vaunted YMCA attack. Stephen crashed the first ball through cover and himself and Louis put on 98 before Louis was out to a quite stunning one handed catch on 56. Theo joined Stephen and we put on 97 for the last 10 overs with some great shots eventually ending our 30 overs on 190; with Stephen making 88 and Theo 32*.
We needed to bowl well and unfortunately although Theo was tight and Joe took 2 wickets we bowled a little short and their high quality bats got them home in the 25th over with 3 wickets down. A gallant defeat, though the quality of some of our batting was the best that I’ve seen from the guys.
Team : Louis, Stephen, Theo, Abdullah, Callum, Joe, Neil, Sarah, Ali K, Ryan, Georgina.
v YMCA – League
Three days later the sides met again in the league, YMCA were without 3 Irish Internationals and and we had Ahmed and Alison Black in for Sarah and Neil.
Stephen and Louis started well before they were dismissed in consecutive balls by a 6 year old (well he looked like he was 6 – apparently he was 11 – either way it wasn’t ideal). All of our top order failed to shine and while Joe and Ahmed, with 11 each, provided some resistance, the fact that Extras topped scored with 24 told a tale as we were bowled out for a disappointing 92.
Nic and the Manager gently reminded the team that it wasn’t their finest hour and asked that they show some fight in the field. That they did with Stephen taking 3, Ryan got 1 and a runout and we regained a level of respectability with only a 5 wicket defeat. Funnily enough, even though the history books will show we lost the Cup by 7 wickets and the League by 5 wickets, the Cup performance was much better.
v Malahide – League
We travelled to Malahide (with only 10, Ahmed being the only one missing from the last match) hoping to break our losing run. We started solidly with an early wicket for Abdullah followed by some very tight bowling that had them only with 67 on the board after 18. Their main player came in and smashed 63 before Abdullah got him. Ali Keenan bowled great taking a key wicket, and Callum also got a wicket as they closed on 170.
To say we were cruising would be an understatement as we reached 84 off 13 without loss before Louis was eventually run out for 36. Then Abdullah run out also – (No Run Outs, No Chipping !!). Theo and Stephen got us to needing 40 off the last 9 – again no problem – then bang, Theo is out for 19, bang, James is out quickly and bang, Stephen has to retire after another brilliant 76 not out. All of a sudden we’re in dire trouble and we fairly meekly surrendered 8 runs short with Callum stranded.
All in all probably the most disappointing defeat for this team, and they knew it. Hopefully the poor selection of shots and game management lessons would be learned quickly
v North County – League
We got a quick chance to right the situation two days later. Ahmed was back and two debutants Sophie McDonough and Aisling Keating replaced the airport bound Theo and Georgina. James turned up at the wrong ground (& for that he gets the “fine of the year” award).
Batting first, Stephen was shock horror out relatively cheaply, as was Abdullah, and we were 51 for 2. Then the Louis and James show started as they both reached 75 not out (lovely batting) with Callum also hitting a quick 18 as we reached 215 for 5 with 2 retirements.
Although our bowling started a little off beam we quickly regained our composure and when Callum and Louis combined to stump their opener for 44 we were in control. 2 wickets for Stephen and Callum plus a run out, combined with great economy from James, Joe and Ali Keenan saw them close on 140 for 5, giving us a solid 75 run win.
So, 4 games in 10 days and what we have learned is that this group does your club proud, that we need to deepen the playing resources (we have only 7 genuine U15 Boys !!) and that they are a great bunch of cricketers.
I leave you now for the rest of the season as we travel.