This weekend Doc Shazad Ahmad’s 5th XI were the only team in action which might explain the unnerving sight of the Chair of Cricket and Chair of Selectors watching in Pembroke on Saturday! But the 5th XI are a resilient bunch and having the hierarchy in place was not going to put them off!
(It also means that the match report is a bit longer than normal as the editor is paid by the word!)
The 5th XI have had a poor start to the year but the team were reminded that as far as the league was concerned we had only played 2 games and that this double weekend was a chance to put things right! Keen observers of the LCU Division 13 table would note that positions 5 to 8 were filled by teams that hadn’t won a game yet and fifth place was occupied by a team that hadn’t won but had 1 bonus point! In other words a win would get the ball rolling for our league campaign very quickly!
Saturday 27th June
Pembroke 6 V Phoenix 5 (Away)
First up was a visit to Pembroke and a game that always excites Graham Mooney. This is always worrying as he normally dislikes the opposition but he loves playing Pembroke. Anyway Doc lost the toss and Pembroke decided to bat first! The team huddle before the game stressed the importance of good fielding backing up bowlers bowling full and straight!
Younas and Akarsh did exactly that and Pembroke didn’t get off to a good start. Akarsh got two quick wickets. Younas should have had one only for the slip fielder failing to realise his job is to catch the ball! In fairness he did try to catch the ball with his chin!! Next over Akarsh bowled another beauty and somehow the instructions to the slip fielder still didn’t work as he dived past the ball as it reached him! I don’t want be too unkind but the regular slip fielder wasn’t in place as Graham wasn’t able to move well in the field so we “supportingly” offered him a place in the slips!
After 15 overs Pembroke were 69-2!
Arsalan came on next and bowled well in his debut supported ably by express bowling from James McDonagh. Arsalan got two good wickets but Craig Senior was hanging on grimly. Sometimes a lucky wicket makes a difference and when Niall Walsh clipped the ball around the corner the Admiral was on hand to swoop pick up and throw first time to Michael Fahy standing at the bowlers end to run Senior out. It looks good fielding on paper but the pick and throw went to Michael “standing at mid off who had time to run 10 yards to whip the bails off!!”
In my defence I had been in the USA this week and seen a lot of baseball on TV and thought I was throwing to second base! (cough!)
Anyway this lucky wicket opened an end and when Mooney rolled in “grimacing in pain” the tail end was at his mercy. Graham got three good wickets bowling straight including a beauty to Steve McCarty who immediately announced his retirement from the game! Backed up by some good fielding all round including a direct hit by Arsalan the Pembroke innings staggered to 151 all out off just 34 overs. (Younas 1-23m Akarsh 2-40 Arsalan 2-28 Mooney 3-34)
The Phoenix innings was a measure of calm and confidence as Arsalan and Mooney opened with purpose latching onto anything off line. Graham got the innings away and although he was out for 28 (a horrible shot!) caught and bowled.
After 10 overs Phoenix were 52-1.
Hashmi lasted a little longer this week and scored 11 off 10 (that’s the best I can say Hashmi!), the skipper got his usual run out but Michael Fahy came in and scored a very fluent 24 alongside new boy Arsalan who kept going to score 64 not out!
Phoenix reached their target after just 25 overs. Man of the match had to be Arsalan followed by Marc Brazil making his debut on the 5ths and keeping wicket extraordinarily well followed by a distant Graham in 3rd place but in fairness it was a good team performance for our first league win!
Team Arsalan Mooney Ahmad Khan Chester (A) Rehani Younas Akarsh McDonagh (J) Fahy Brazil
Sunday 28th June
Phoenix 5 V North Kildare (Home)
The 5th then arrived at their home on Sunday full of confidence from the previous day on a sunny day in Phoenix. Collie had relented and decided we were good enough for grass (it was a close call though!) Skipper won the toss and decided to bat and sent in the opening pair from Saturday. If they were good Saturday they were spectacular on Sunday putting on 123 for the first wicket. Graham fell for 46 and Arsalan for 52. Hashmi went in at 3 and foundered a bit but at least he kept his wicket. The Doc got strategic and sent Evan Chester in at 4 to move things on. Evan scored a brisk 19 playing some nice shots off his front foot to get Phoenix up to 160 for 3. Hashmi fell quickly after but still a score of 200 was on the cards. Despite the best efforts of the umpire (Graham Mooney) who gunned the Admiral off the inside edge, McDonagh was bowled for a duck and Younas was also adjudged LBW off the glove Phoenix thanks to some good straight hitting from Akarash and Zaheer got to 198-7 off their 40 overs.
It is obviously sad to see someone as young as Graham (40 next week!) hardly able to move and obviously his eyesight is fading fast (can’t sing either!) yet as the picture below shows is a batsman with a technique you could watch for at least 3 seconds….(Thanks to Adam Bampfield for the picture!)
We’d have taken 198 on the board and the half time huddle simply said- keep it simple lads, North Kildare will fancy chasing this so keep your nerve!
And how the bowler’s responded! Younas got 1-23 , Akarsh 1-30 Arsalan capped off a fine weekend taking 2-27 Zaheer (who bowled fantastic- grass suits him!) 1-27 and Mooney 2-37.
It’s hard to keep Mooney out of the game as he got 2 catches at midwicket. Phoenix fielding was good including a good catch from Evan Chester at mid on to remove the dangerous Singh for just 5 and an excellent run out by Mick McDonagh at just the right time in the innings! The skipper did well too in this writers opinion as he mixed his bowlers around and made sure the chase never materialised.
North Kildare all out for 147!
A good all round team effort on a nice day in Phoenix. Despite upsetting everyone its hard not to give Man of the match to Graham “Sharapova” Mooney- an excellent all round performance with bat ball and in the field!
There are fixtures this week and it is always worth supporting your teams!
Thursday 2nd July
Phoenix 1 v North County (Away)
Thursday 2nd July
Phoenix Ladies 2ndX1 v Greystones (Away)
Friday 3rd July
Phoenix Ladies 2ndX1 v North Kildare (Home)