It has been a week of high drama for most of the teams at the club with the vast majority of matches over the last seven days going right down to the wire. There was a midweek start as the 5th XI got off to winning ways in the LCU 20/20 Cup away to Civil Service. At the weekend the 3rd XI kicked us off with a great comeback victory at home against Old Belvedere. At the same time the 5th XI were being edged out in a game that came down to the last ball in Dundalk.
There was to be no BKISC success for the 1st XI this year, though, as they were outgunned by CSNI up in Stormont. However the 2nd and 4th XI both came up trumps nailing down victory dramatic run chases on Sunday. A hectic weeks schedule was brought to a close on Monday night as the 4th XI failed to repeat the dose against Malahide and bowed out of the Whelan Cup in a low scoring encounter
Wednesday May 23rd – LCU 20/20 Cup – Civil Service -v- Phoenix 5th XI
The 5th XI got the week going with a successful trip down to Civil Service. The 20/20 competition is the first of it’s kind in the lower grades so it was hard to know what to expect going into the game.
The 5th XI won the toss and asked the visitors to bat. It proved to be a good decision as the hosts just couldn’t get the ball off the square. Marc Gibson-McKenna 5-1-7-2 and Craig Nicholson 5-0-14-1 kept it tight with spin at one end while John Anders did the damage as Civil Service looked to press on later in the innings as he took 5-1-15-3 as the home side were restricted to 74 all out. Michael Fahy also chipped in with two wickets in the last over as he Civil Service in check.
With a low total to chase Phoenix got a bit too trigger happy early on and were reduced to 43 for 6. At this stage they were in danger of throwing the game away. Marc Gibson-McKenna (19*) and Nicolaas Leeuwenberg (20*) saw that there was no need for panic, though, as they helped restore order and saw their team home to a comfortable victory with 23 balls to spare.
Phoenix won by 4 wickets
Wednesday May 23rd – Ladies Division 3 – North Kildare -v- Phoenix
The Ladies side finally made it to the field on the same night after a couple of washout had delayed the start to their campaign. Having won the toss Kate Voice decided her side would have a bat and see if all those pre-season nets could be put to good use.
Phoenix started well with Helen Caird (12) and Lorna Barton (12) leading the way as they set a good platform at the top of the order. Things didn’t go too smoothly from there on in, though, as Phoenix were involved in no less than four run outs. They kept their heads up and worked hard until the end and managed to set their opponents a target of 54.
Phoenix made a great start in reply and had the home side in some danger in the early goings. Orla Martin was the pick of the bowlers as she took 6.2-0-20-3 but Sarah McIntosh and Dee Fahy also bowled very well and helped keep their side in with a chance. With North Kildare at 31 for 4 at one stage it looked as if Phoenix might be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat but the home side recovered well and saw their way home to victory.
Phoenix lost by 6 wickets
Saturday May 26th – Division 12 – Dundalk -v- Phoenix 5th XI
After such a strong showing with the ball and in the field midweek Phoenix 5th XI couldn’t follow up their performance at the weekend as they lost on their trip to Dundalk. The weather was immaculate once more while the pitch was a similar one to what they had played on midweek.
Phoenix won the toss again and decided to stick in Dundalk. They had some good bowling and made steady progress to begin with but the fielding was, in all honesty, sub par at best. This never improved as the day went on and runs were leaked with misfields, over throws and dropped catches to boot.
Derek Turner was the star for the hosts as he made the most of a the lives he was given through sloppy fielding and posted 50 for his side. This helped Dundalk along to 113 from their 40 overs. Michael Fahy was on form with the ball yet again and took 7-0-21-3 to continue on from his good showing in the 20/20.
The 5th XI response to the run chase was poor yet again. The top of the order crumbled in quick succession as Phoenix fell to 39 for 6. John Anders and Mick McDonough led the fightback, though, with the former calling the shots. Just as an unlikely win was on the cards Anders (36) nicked off. The rest of the line up battled on with Heaton (15) keeping his side in touch. Phoenix needed 7 to win off the last over but could only manage 4 and they came up just short in a game they really should have won.
Phoenix lost by 2 runs
Meanwhile back in the park the 3rd XI were involved in a dramatic run chase against local rivals Old Belvedere. Having been set a testing total to chase down Phoenix stumbled a little in front of a healthy home crowd. However they got back on track and slowly whittled away the deficit. They were led home by Adam Chester who registered his maiden Senior half century and took his side to a enthralling victory.
Sunday May 27th – Senior 2 Cup – Phoenix 2nd XI -v- Leinster
Although the sun had started to shine all week most of the pitches throughout the province seemed to be suffering the effects of the preceding weeks weather so few could have expected what was to come when Leinster came to face off against David Ford’s side.
Leinster batted first and were 58 for 2 in the early goings with the run rate looking healthy. They were aided by some wayward Phoenix bowling as the hosts racked up a massive 65 wides on the day. Buoyed by the freebies Leinster started to press on and began to pile up runs under their own steam. Matt Gregg, David Ford and Asim Nazir all took two apiece but they couldn’t prevent Leinster from rattling up a huge total of 333.
If there was betting in running for these matches I think it is fair to say that Phoenix would have been more than a healthy price to overturn the odds as they came in to chase. David Ford went early on trying to set a high tempo and Phoenix were 25 for 1. The target looked, and was, a long way off at that stage as Amit Battan joined Vish Vaidyanthan at the crease.
The partnership came to an end 193 runs later as Battan (79) finally fell. However the magnificent dual pronged attack had brought the home side right into the game and they now believed it was there for the taking. Vaidyanthan kept pressing on and brought up a well deserved ton, the first by a Phoenix player this season, before finally being removed from the crease. He made 104 from 101 balls and dragged set his side up for a thrilling finale.
When Wardell (15) fell the hosts were 300 for 6. Just 34 runs away from victory but with plenty of overs in had. On the flip side they were running out of wickets and Leinster had some momentum having taken four relatively quick wickets. When Stevie Neill went with just six more added things really began to heat up. Aaron Joseph and Nitin Naik helped relieve the pressure before Joseph (8) was caught and bowled with 13 runs still needed. Naik held his nerve, though, along with Tom De Wet and saw his side over the line for the most dramatic of wins and one of the highest successful run chases seen in the park for many a year.
Phoenix won by 2 wickets
Sunday May 27th – BKISC Round One – CSNI -v- Phoenix 1st XI
Phoenix 1st XI traveled to Stormont to take on CSNI in the BKISC after the fixture had to be moved from the park due to bad weather a fortnight earlier. Things continued to go against Phoenix as Chris Cavanagh injured himself in the warm up and they were short a bowler going in to face a powerful batting attack.
Nigel Jones was put down at slip with his score on 0 in the first over. It’s fair to say he cashed in on the chance as he powered his way to 112 and helped his side along to 277. Jan Hendrik Steenkamp excelled with the ball finishing with figures of 10-2-36-2 while Tom Anders also had a good day taking 9-0-43-3.
The target was always likely to be a bit too much for Phoenix and only Steenkamp (21) and captain, Conor Kelly (46), provided any real resistance as they were knocked over for 111. A repeat of last years cup heroics were never really on the cards and Phoenix can get back to the business of chasing promotion to Division One.
Phoenix lost by 166 runs
Elsewhere the 4th XI chased down a total of 213 away to Malahide in Division 10. Malahide made a good fist of things batting first and all of their top 6 made at least 15 runs. Aided by another 45 in extras and plenty of dropped catches they always kept up a good scoring rate. Ben White was on song with the ball again for Phoenix picking up his second consecutive four wicket haul, 4-0-38-4, while Ali Moosavi 5.5-0-22-3 had a good day on debut for his new club.
Phoenix were always up with the chase but never in control. Skipper Shelden Carroll led the way with a fine knock of 54 while Keemar Edwards also got in with some runs. Pajo McKinney (27) and Ben White (19*) got their side within touching distance of the win before the former was run out from the second last ball of the game. With the scores level Ali Moosavi came through for a bye off the final ball of the game to snatch a great victory.
Monday May 28th – Whelan Cup (8 ball overs) – Phoenix 4th XI -v- Malahide
There was to be no repeat of Sunday’s heroics as the two sides met again in the Whelan Cup on Monday. Malahide looked for a modicum of revenge as they came to the park on another cracking evening. Batting first they were stifled in the early goings. Marc Gibson-McKenna producing more magic with the ball as he took 4-0-20-4 in a magnificent spell of bowling. It looked at one stage as if the visitors would be held under 100. However a strong finish from Ireland ladies internationals Clare Shillington and Mary Waldron helped them to 115.
Phoenix never really got going in their chase as only Keemar Edwards (25) kept up with the scoring rate before he was run out. Raja Gopal (26) smashed some quick runs and Suresh Samuel (17) provided some consistency at the other end. When they went, though, things went downhill rapidly and Phoenix ended up finishing on 92 for 8.
The shortest format of the game will have to wait another year as the 4th XI can now turn their attention to the defence of their Intermediate Cup title
Phoenix lost by 23 runs