YMCA chase mammoth target at Phoenix
Stu Daultrey (CricketEurope)
In the middle of the Phoenix square there is an absolute road which they try to use for all their big matches. I was lucky enough to umpire an Irish Senior Cup match there when Limavady were the visitors. Phoenix batted first and, led by Jeremy Bray and Jason Molins, got well over three hundred in fifty overs against a good Limavady attack.
When the Co. Derry side batted, Decker set off like a train, as he always does, but he went for no more than forty. Ricky McDaid, Ireland's opening bowler at the time, came in and smashed it, keeping them up with the rate. Then his brother, Mark, hit it harder and further and Limavady won slowing up.
Collie Byrne had prepared that same track for the first round Leinster Senior Cup match against YMCA on Saturday, so when Richie Lawrence won the toss for Phoenix he had no hesitation in batting. Padraig Flanagan opened from what I believe is called the Magazine Store end. He's filled out over the winter, and has a nice action.
From the other end (Chesterfield Avenue? aka the road) came Sam Streek, tall, but much younger and still at the whippet stage of physical development. While Alister Taylor concentrated on defence, Masud Ahmed was the principal aggressor, favouring the straight drive. The score rattled up to 42 after eight overs, then Flanagan bowled a maiden.
Streek was relieved by Yaqoob Ali, who got cover driven for four by Masud Ahmed (henceforth Masher). Flanagan persisted, and had Masher badly dropped at mid on by the selfsame Yak. Taylor came out of his shell with a back foot force to the line, then lofted the Yak straight for six. Simi Singh relieved Flanagan, but neither he nor Ali could keep the Phoenix openers in check.
Masher reached his fifty in the sixteenth over, and when he lofted Singh over the long off boundary it was 113 without loss after nineteen overs. The skipper had to get a grip on things, so he brought himself on from the road end and Sean Mcauley to bowl his little seamers from the other end. The scoring slowed a bit, Taylor reached 50, and Masher pulled van der Merwe to the line to reach 76.
He tried to repeat the shot but was bowled behind his legs, that wicket falling at 133 in the 24th over. Sam Anderson came and quickly settled, benefiting, as had the other batsmen, from YMCA's absolutely dreadful display of fielding. There were several Sydney Harbour Bridge impersonations, fumbles galore, and gifted boundaries. None of these was from the older players.
Lunch was taken after 34 overs at 170-1, Taylor 60*, Anderson 28*. Fifteen overs had been bowled in the first hour, so the second was a welcome improvement, but still far from the days of yore when the YMCA side of the nineties would aim to bowl as close to forty overs as they could, leaving only twenty for the opposition's post lunch assault and that was with a battery of seamers!
Flanagan was given a couple of overs after lunch, while the skipper continued his spell. There was a big appeal for caught behind against Taylor from the off-spinner and his team mates, but umpire Arthur Short wasn't interested. Next over from that end umpire Sum Wijesundera would have been very interested in raising the digit for a stumping against Anderson, but JJ Cassidy fumbled the ball and the chance went begging.
van der Merwe finished his set with the very creditable figures of 1/35, his final over his second maiden. Next over, the 43rd, Phoenix reached 200, and the batsmen realised it was time to get motoring. Anderson pulled Singh for four when he's bowling well the length is always full then Taylor hesitated before going for a second, and was run out for 79 by Jack Tector's throw from the covers 208-2.
Anderson on drove Singh for four to bring up his fifty, then Richie Lawrence swept him for another boundary. Anderson was dropped at square leg off the Yak, then there was another missed stumping off Singh. Anderson was still short of his nine lives, but getting closer as Simi Singh grassed a tough chance at backward square.
Harry Tector was given a go with his floated offies. His first over went for just a single, but thereafter the batsmen realised that he was serving up what Trevor Bailey used to call buffet balls help yourself and Anderson duly did. Lawrence, 18, flapped him to Yaqoob Ali who for once held the catch, and it was 259-3.
Anderson continued his plunder, was dropped for what must have been his ninth life because, on 91, he launched Singh to deep mid wicket where Jack Tector completed the catch. Syed Ali Rizvi popped a catch to Mcauley first ball, and it was 284-5 from 56 overs. The Anders brothers then put it about for three overs to reach 323.
Then Rory was stumped for 24 and Ben White lbw first ball. Tom Anders finished on 20*, Matt Scott on 1*, and the total for YMCA to chase was 327. Yaqoob Ali finished with 2/47 from twelve, not too bad, but I won't tell you the others'! In the break, the D/L tables were printed, but it didn't need too much nous to realise that a twenty over D/L par of 16 wasn't right.
Up until seven or eight years ago, D/L packages came with the option of any number of overs per side from 60 down. Now they come only from 50 down, because there is no demand for anything longer except in the LCU. When the Senior Cup changed from a mandatory 60 overs, with midweek continuations, to a game to be finished in the day with D/L reductions, the LCU contacted Professor Duckworth and Dr. Lewis and procured 60 over tables.
The problem is that nobody knows where they are. So the umpires and captains just had to hope there would be no more than 30 minutes interruption to play. YMCA sent out the left-handed Tom Fisher and the right-handed Jack Tector to face Tom Anders from the road end and Sam Anderson. Apart from a big shout for caught behind against Fisher off Anders progress was no more than steady until the ninth over, when Fisher got the drive going, and it was 34-0 after ten.
Rory Anders took over from Anderson, Richie Lawrence replaced Tom Anders and the scoring accelerated. Fisher hit Lawrence for a straight six, but then was run out for 43 in the eighteenth over to make it 72-1. Simi Singh and Tector kept it ticking over until tea, although they did have a go at the one over from Ben White. At tea it was 124-1 off 26, courtesy of three more fours from White's second over.
At tea it rained, but the thirty minutes grace before overs reductions came into play, and on resumption it was still a 60 over game. Singh was skipping down the track to slowies and medium pacers alike, always a sign that he's on his game. Tector too was using his feet to get right back or right forward, and a back foot force through cover brought up his fifty. The score had reached 177-1 off 35 when the rain came down and the players had to leave the field.
The umpires applied the regulations and reduced the innings by five overs. Unfortunately nobody had a clue what the target was. So the fielding team went out and bowled, and the batsmen batted. For Phoenix, Ben White couldn't get a length, and got the shepherd's crook, with Lawrence and Masud Ahmed purveying their off-breaks.
Two hundred was reached after 40 overs, and after six more overs of excellent batting against very ordinary bowling, Tector reached his hundred out of 243. I can't blame the bowlers for their ordinarinesss, because they continually had to dry the ball. In the 49th over Tector made a mess of a drive and flapped the ball to Matt Scott at mid off out for 107 of 256, a fine knock.
YMCA needed 72 more to win, but with the five overs lost had only six overs to do it without recourse to D/L. Five wides from Masher, Simi's hundred and a straight six by Singh off a free hit after a Lawrence no ball, then a straight driven four by van der Merwe took YMCA to 304-2 off 55 overs. What happened next? Well, the murky conditions had relented, so the umpires and captains agreed to complete overs 56-60.
Both batsmen continued playing their shots and off the first ball of the 59th over a van der Merwe cover drive took the score to 329-2, with Singh on 125*. Everybody shook hands and repaired to the warmth of the pavilion. It was freezing cold! None of the bowling figures make good reading. On a flat track and in the cold, damp conditions it was a day for batting, and YMCA had batted better than Phoenix, who admittedly got the worse of the weather.