YMCA claim Intermediate Cup
YOUTH will have its day, they say, and it is almost certain that day fell last Saturday.
As the only club with Young in its name it was fitting that it was the ten teenagers of YMCA who triumphed over the only club with Grey in ITS name.
In the absence of holidaying Derek Dockrell, James Fitzgerald (a whisker shy of 40) took over the reins of the Sandymount club for the RSA Intermediate Cup final in Phoenix CC. His side included seven U15 players, two U17s and one 19 year old, with 11-year-old Charlie Johnston expertly fulfilling duties as 12th man.
Having won the toss, YMCA opted to bat and while Phoenix was excellently turned out to host the final, the playing surface was not, sadly. Colm Byrne is one of the best turfmen around but he admitted this particular tracker is headed for the knackers' yard.
With about 1 in 10 deliveries keeping low batting was a lottery at times, but dogged application is always rewarded on such surfaces and three men conquered the conditions.
Fitzgerald himself fell to a rat for 0, and prolific Aviral Shukla and Rory McGovern followed soon after. "100 will be a winning score said one sage."
Nathan Johns has had some excellent scores this summer and he got stuck in with Stephen Keane. The pair added 43 - helped by several wides and two head high no-balls that Johns swatted for fours - before Keane went with the score on 69. S John of Greystones claimed David O'Connor and Aaron Copeland in successive balls to leave the score 83-6.
Johns, whose early flourishes had given way to careful accumulation, was joined by Billy Siggins for the key partnership of the game. The pair scampered every single and worked the ball around well among the often static fielders. Siggins drove and pulled for fours to raise the century and the pair were in sight of a fifty stand when Johns was adjudged leg-before for a well-made 50 off 49 balls.
Siggins marshalled the tail to eke another 20 runs out of it before a sharp direct-hit by former Old Belvedere man Eoin Lenehan ended his knock on 29 and the innings on 150.
Such a total is rarely a winning one but the YMCA fielder showed intent from the off. Its no exaggeration to say their average age was 20 years less, and they fielding was far superior for it - there's little doubt that the 34 run winning margin was largely comprised of those runs saved and singles made by younger legs.
Rocky Singh has been prolific for Greystones but he fell to a fine catch by Siggins off Sam Streek which made the breakthrough at 21. David O'Connor then smashed the heart out of the innings with 3-11 off his six overs, removing Lenehan, John and Jonker for ducks. Paul Daniel stayed around to contribute a few runs - but not a lot - and Greystones were rocking on 37-7 having lost all seven wickets for 16 runs.
Anthony Kempton and former YMer Simon Rice took the score to 68 before the captain feathered Shukla to the keeper and immediately walked. Rice continued to accumulate but was running out of partners before he was joined by wicketkeeper Damien Ryan. The pair put on 45, by a whisker the second biggest partnership of the day, and briefly rattled the YM support, especially after a Copeland over went for 17.
But a sharp return catch by Stephen Keane ensured the trophy returned to Claremont Road and Johns was named a well-deserved man of the match. As Fitzgerald lugged the enormous cup away, club president Heatley Tector was delighted to note that his round in Mulligan's would be a budget-friendly Smithwicks shandy and ten Coca-Colas.
Have you any comment to make on any aspect of this article? What are your views on any of the opinions expressed in it? Have your say on the CricketEurope Ireland Forum.