It is always a pleasure to play on such a well prepared ground. Nice pavilion, with good changing rooms and a bar for afterwards. We were greeted by a team of youngsters with a few adults in tow~ a sort of D4 crèche. However, for those of us who have been around the block a few times this does not signal an easy victory. Usually these children are well drilled and have boundless enthusiasm. They appear not to know each other’s names and insist on calling each other ‘butty’ which is D4 speak for ‘buddy’ and is repeated as a mantra all day.
Halverstown won the toss and elected to bat. Merrion opened with 2 of their senior bowlers and it was at the sort of pace that Barry (14) and Tim (38) enjoy. The opening partnership produced 43 runs, which was a good solid start. The children were then brought onto bowl and were very effective. Good accurate spin bowling made scoring a little harder but with the help of Umer (31) and Ahsan (15) we pushed the total to 160 aided and abetted by 36 extras!
Play was interrupted by rain and the independent umpires took us off for about an hour. Fortunately play was able to resume but the mat was slippery. For such a ‘well got’ club the mat is remarkably poor and appears to be full of algae hence the slippery surface. I suppose that they have a number of good grass wickets and the mat is therefore not as cherished. In Halverstown Barry is the ‘mat meister’ and all foreign matter is sprayed off early in the season.
In spite of the drop of rain the outfield was quick and the captain, JT, felt that 160 might not be enough to bowl at. The mat also began to give the bowlers problems and both Barra and Ahsan slipped badly. Neville found the run up difficult and a wide was recorded against his name, which is an event practically unheard of. It was nice to have Barra back on the team and he took 2-27. John T was most effective with 2 wickets at an economy rate of 3.
The Merrion batting was a one man show. The captain, Mark Sandys, scored a chanceless 64. He was an object lesson in patience and technique. It took an exceptional catch from Ahsan to get him out but at that stage the damage was done. Merrion had scored 5-119 and they had a couple of seasoned campaigners to finish the job off. It went down to the wire but they held their nerve.
Our next match is against Swords 2 at Newbridge Demesne on Saturday 2nd June.