Another beautiful sunny day and the pitch looked a picture. Clive Wardrop was back from ballet lessons to strengthen the batting and skipper, Mick Neville, returned from his holidays in Malta. They probably had the same weather in Co. Clare where he normally goes.
Leinster won the toss and decided to bat. The ground had dried out to the point where it was difficult to stop a decent shot going to the boundary. Fielding and field placing were at a premium.
After 24 overs the match looked as though it was going the way of the fielding side. They had scored 116 but they were 6 wickets down. Their number 4 batsman was still there however. A young man with a hurling grip who had good control of the ball and could change his shot mid delivery. His innings of 74 runs was only brought to a close by a superb catch by Ahsan off a steepling shot at the long off boundary.
Our bowlers toiled manfully in the heat but the economy rates varied between 4 and 7 an over. The wickets that had come in the first half of the innings dried up but the runs began to flow. At the end of their innings they were 230-7 and we felt that it had got away from us a bit.
Tim provided a delicious tea and both sides tried to rehydrate. It was a hot day but fortunately there was an occasional breeze.
We needed a run a ball. Barry (25) and Tim (18) opened and their partnership resulted in 39 runs off 7 overs. We were on target. Barry who is an advocate of nets played one of the best shots I have seen at this level when he drove a full pitched delivery past point to the boundary. It never left the ground and zipped through the outfield at some speed. Clive (41) came to the crease and you could see that the reputation he brought with him from Laois Parish was well deserved. Everything was played along the ground and into the gaps. A lot of singles were run with the agile Tim ~ two veritable greyhounds.
Once Tim had departed Gunther came to the crease. He has had an indifferent season and so the whole team was willing him to succeed. He didn’t disappoint with 32 runs hit hard and fast.
After 20 overs Leinster were 103 for 3. At a similar point Halverstown were 102 for 2. It was game on!
Skipper, Mick Neville added 13 valuable runs and looked well in touch. Next JT (33) came to the crease. He knows how to make runs and pace a game. We were getting behind the rate and he pushed the accelerator hitting 3 sixes in his innings. The last two came off successive balls, which he effortlessly flicked over the boundary. By the time he returned to the pavilion we were 8-194 with 2 wickets standing after 37 overs. We didn’t have the firepower for that challenge and were all out for 201.
There were a lot of positives from this game. We had been set a big total and got within 30 runs of winning Another strike bowler to contain them in the last 15 overs might have made a difference. We had 4 batsmen who got more than 20 and looked as though they could ‘go big’ under the right conditions. We know that the Ronno’s can bat big and both came into this game with handsome averages. Mark is still the only club batsman to go past 50 this season. The batting unit looks in good heart.
There is always a bit of chat about the benefit of going to nets. After the Swords game those who had been to nets the previous Thursday averaged 4.25 and those who stayed away averaged 9.83. After the Leinster game the figures were respectively 13.2 and 18.67. You will have to draw your own conclusions! Kevin and Barry have been doing a lot of quick bowling in the nets whilst Neville and his son Terrence come down from the mountain to practice their leg breaks. Neville is quietly planning to be a spin bowler when he retires from the “Case/Threadgold strike force”~ watch this space.
Our next game is against Bagenalstown at home on Saturday 16th June.