Merrion edge out CIYMS
Stu Daultrey (CricketEurope)
On Saturday morning I had to get up a half past five to attend to some other business, and although the sun was up it was cool enough, so I donned the appropriate long-sleeved shirt, gilet and track suit bottoms. I had completed my other tasks and watched a bit of the test match before driving down to Anglesea Road. I walked across to a bench by the scorebox and realised I was completely inappropriately dressed, because summer had come to Dublin at last!
Rory Allwright won the toss for Merrion and chose to bat. He sent out the young South African wicketkeeper, Robin Smith, and regular opener Tyrone Kane. They each negotiated Steven Dunn's opening over from the Hazledene Apartments end comfortably enough, then Kane pulled a boundary off Nigel Jones from the Ballsbridge end.
Over the next few overs the left-handed Smith was the principal aggressor, leg glancing a boundary off Jones then straight driving him to the rope. After four overs of Dunn, Johnnie Thompson was called up all was driven to the extra cover boundary by Kane. Dunn was switched to the Ballsbridge end and got lofted over mid off by Kane as Merrion reached 57-0 from ten overs.
JT continued from the Apartments end but James Cameron-Dow was summoned to the other end to purvey his slow left arm. JT failed to hang on to a very sharp return catch from Smith, but it wasn't costly as he had the left-hander lbw for 30 out of 65 next over. This brought in Merrion's (replacement) overseas player David Rhoda, who had had a tough time getting to Dublin.
When he arrived last week his paperwork wasn't in order, so he was sent back and, with the correct documentation, had arrived about the time I got up. I felt fresh, if a little warm, but I hadn't flown overnight from South Africa. He immediately leg glanced a four, square drove another from JT's next over, but then was lbw to Cameron-Dow to make it 81-2.
Trevor Britton's off breaks replaced JT's seam up, and the two spinners went about their business. John Anderson appeared to be dropped behind the stumps off Cameron-Dow, which looked as it might have been costly when Anderson reverse swept Britton for four then conventionally swept him for another.
Anderson was facing the left-armer when he called and started to run a quick single. Kane immediately sent him back, but the throw from short extra cover was very sharp, although wide of the stumps. Chris Dougherty gathered the ball but appeared to me to drop it before he broke the stumps. Umpire John Andrews at square leg gave Anderson out, and the Merrion man stood his ground.
In the 2000 final of the Irish Senior Cup (in which a very young JT was playing) I had given Rocky Herron run out from square leg, but my colleague, the late, great Trevor “Trigger” Henry wandered down from the bowler's end and whispered gently in my ear that the keeper didn't have the ball in his hand when the stumps were broken, and would I like to change my decision? I did.
Unfortunately for Anderson, umpire Gordon Black at the bowler's end was unable to advise his mate to the contrary, and Anderson had to go, run out for 14 of 100-3. Drinks were taken at 104-3, after which Rassie van der Dussen was asked to bowl his gentle offies in place of Cameron Dow. Tyrone Kane must have thought it was his birthday as he drove the Saffie through extra cover, steered a half tracker to the third man rope then pulled another long hop for six.
Somewhat surprisingly, van der Dussen didn't get the shepherd's crook and sent down four more unthreatening overs during which Kane and Dom Joyce helped themselves. Britton was getting little assistance at the other end, but at least he looked like a bowler who knew what he was trying to do.
The batting power play was taken after 35 overs by which time Merrion had advanced to 160-3. In the third over of the power play Kane slog swept Cameron-Dow for four to reach 73, but then underclubbed an on drive and was well taken in the deep by van der Dussen. 175-4 became 175-5 when Joyce was caught at mid off by Cameron-Dow off JT for 39.
This brought in David Langford-Smith to join Lennard Bester, and the latter hit Cameron-Dow straight for six to end the power play on 189-5. van der Dussen was brought back and immediately whacked over mid off by Bester. Lanky drove Jones straight for four then powered him out of the ground. Britton finished his set with the wicket of Bester, caught at long on by Cameron-Dow for 15.
Chris Allwright took a four off Jones then Lanky drove him straight for another. Then it was birthday time again as van der Dussen got the call. Allwright slogged him for four and got off strike. DLS hit him straight into Hazledene then dumped him over the pavilion, before adding insult to injury by edging four.
Langford-Smith set about Thompson with a straight six and an off driven four before holing out to Dunn at long off for 47 out of 262-7. Dunn then had Allwright caught by Johnston at mid wicket for 16. In Thompson's ninth over he had Rory Allwright very well caught behind by Dougherty then bowled Tom Stanton – Merrion all out 271 in 48.5 overs.
From the wreck of the bowling figures JT emerged with 5/47, Cameron-Dow with 2/38, Britton with 1/47 and Steven Dunn with 1/25 off six. CIYMS had laboured hard in the field under the warm sun, and were now going to have to show that their expensively assembled team were worth the money by chasing down a big score against a competent attack, but by no means the best in the province.
During tea cumulus cloud had bubbled up in the west and the earlier sunshine was no more, but it was still bright and warm. The left-handed Chris Dougherty opened with the right-handed Rassie van der Dussen against the medium pace of Tyrone Kane from the Apartments end and Dom Joyce from the Ballsbridge end. Both batsmen played nice shots, van der Dussen a punch through mid wicket off Joyce and a force through extra cover off Kane.
Then van der Dussen played all round a straight one from Joyce and was bowled for 8 out of 21. It hadn't been a good day at the office for the South African, but at least he had won the competition for the most ostentatious pair of designer sunglasses. Johnny Matchett started off by glancing Kane for a couple of fours then further pursued TK over mid wicket and over square leg.
David Langford-Smith was introduced in place of Kane and, searching for the away swing that makes him a dangerous bowler, overpitched and got driven through extra cover by Matchett. He overpitched too to Dougherty and got driven square for four. Left-armer Tom Stanton replaced Joyce and got driven straight by Dougherty, then on driven for six then slog swept for four.
Stanton was asked to take a spell and replaced by off-spinner David Watkins. A full toss was gratefully despatched over the rope by Dougherty and it was 84-1 off 14. Matchett nicked Lanky for four, off drove Watkins for another before Dougherty despatched a Lanky full toss, again for four.
Leg spinner David Rhoda was given a go from the Apartments end, but he couldn't find a length, was swept by Dougherty for four to bring up his fifty, then cover driven by Matchett. It was 119-1 off 19, and CIYMS were making light of their work. Watkins persisted and had Dougherty caught behind for 55. Rhoda too persisted and was now hitting his length. Matchett reached his half century but then drove too soon at Rhoda and was caught by the bowler at the second attempt, out for 54 of 130.
So Johnston joined Jones, and both batsmen had to play themselves in. The innings lost some momentum, but neither batsman was struggling, the odd four ball was accepted, the ones and twos run and the score reached 164 off 32 overs, leaving 108 to be made from the last 18. Over 33 contained what I thought might be the crucial action when Johnston drove Rhoda to long on, but hadn't quite got the distance.
Watkins, who had just finished his set of ten, put out his hands none too convincingly and the ball passed through his fingers and over the rope. Johnston then whacked Joyce through backward point for four to reach 32, took a single then decided he was going to go after Rhoda again. He swung the leggie to deep mid wicket where butterfingers turned to sticky fingers as Watkins hung on to the catch.
Jones walloped a back foot four and it was 192-4 after 35 overs – eighty wanted off fifteen, with Jones set and Johnnie Thomspon striding to the crease. In that 2000 final I mentioned earlier, JT came in at seven or eight and, too young to recognise a crisis, blasted a forty or fifty that set Donemana on the path to a narrow victory. He needed to do the same again.
Rhoda, who had been bowling well, wasn't given his tenth over but replaced by Tom Stanton. He and Joyce bowled the five batting power play overs for seventeen runs, an excellent effort, so now CIYMS needed 63 from the last ten with six wickets in hand. Truth be told, they never looked like getting them. Jones lost his fluency and JT never found his.
Thompson did hit three boundaries, but Jones none. Allwright had turned to his other South Africa born leg spinner, John Anderson, who bowled the forty-third over for one run. He bowled the forty-fifth for two, but during it bowled Jones for 43 out of 231-5. Forty-one off five could be done, but JT was going to have to do most of it.
Another Anderson over slipped by costing two runs, and Thompson had to go for it. He hit Joyce straight for six, but then swung him to square leg where Stanton took the catch, JT out for 37 of 243-6. A fourth Anderson over went for four runs, but contained a run out as Britton went for a kamikaze second, and Burns caught at long off by Joyce.
Joyce bowled the fiftieth over, from which twenty-four were required. He kept it simple, conceding only ones and twos, bowled just one wide, and CIYMS ended up thirteen runs short of the Merrion total. Joyce bowled his ten for 2/48, Watkins his for 1/39, Rhoda bowled nine and took 2/52, with John Anderson taking 2/9 from four.
CIYMS accepted their defeat gracefully, and are obviously a happy bunch. Merrion are happier now that they've won a match, have an overseas player in place, and must be looking forward to the short trip across Dublin 4 to face that other bunch of Young Men in the second round. Do I go to Claremont Road or to Malahide v The Hills? You'll find out in a fortnight's time!