We had encountered AIB in the Russell Court Trophy and we knew they were good. However we fielded our A team out and we travelled in hope that we could turn the tables.
The pitch inspection showed that the groundsman had gone on holidays. The farmers among us measured the depth of grass and wondered how many bales of hay could be cut off this meadow. The batsmen measured the distance to the boundary realizing they were going to have to go the aerial route.
The captain won the toss and decided to field. One player said this was the right decision and another said it was wrong. It’s a lonely business being captain! However our bowling attack has never let us down and today was no exception.
The fielding and catching was excellent which has become the accepted norm. Darren and Gunter were even competing with each other to get there first. The wicket keeper was heard to say, “decide which one of you is playing the piano” as they both hurled themselves headlong at a catch which didn’t go to hand. A few minutes later Gunter took a big catch on the boundary and with a big smile declared “I’m playing the piano!”
The bowlers did their job and wickets fell at regular intervals. Neville, Moon and Barra each got 2. AIB were 86 for 5 and we were feeling comfortable. By the time the next wicket fell they were on 152 and the game had got away from us slightly. However once Bansal (64) had gone they added only another 22 runs by the conclusion of their innings. We felt we had done well to restrict a talented batting side to this total.
Ray and Richard have set the bar high after their opening partnership of 177 in the previous match. Richard had picked up an injury whilst fielding and needed a runner. From a spectators point of view it may seem such an injury would not affect your batting but this is not the case. Particularly with Richard whose nimble footwork is part and parcel of his batting. He has been in marvelous form this season and therefore his brief time at the crease in this match must in part be due to that injury.
Ray (37) started like a train but was caught on the longest boundary going for a 6. Following Ray’s dismissal at 73 for 3 Moon (25) came to the crease and was unlucky to be caught by a spectacular catch in the slips. It was so far wide of the fielder that it looked impossible but according to his peers he does this all the time.
There were independent umpires for this match, which is generally considered a good thing. However Darren got a bad decision from the same umpire for the second time. Last time he gave an LBW and then conceded that he had been wrong. This time he gave a caught behind when the ball in question missed the bat but hit the stumps without removing the bails. AIB sportingly withdrew their appeal but the umpire was unmoved. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde ‘one incorrect decision may be regarded as a misfortune; two looks like carelessness.' Darren is not a conspiracy theorist but he could have been forgiven for thinking that this was a bit ‘grassy knoll’.
Our tail was long but it didn’t wag. Curley of AIB got a fifer including 3 of the top order. The wicket keeper, Forde, performed well and got 4 catches including the one that ‘missed’ the bat. However that was not his call and his keeping was exemplary. We were all out for 99 and whilst we were somewhat dispirited we conceeded that the better team on the day had won. AIB were good in all departments and sporting opposition.
Our next match is against Malahide at home on 12th August followed by the Club BBQ the next day.