Athlone 3 v Halverstown 2 - Sat 3rd Jul 2021

Halverstown 2 win by 40 runs

HALVERSTOWN 2: 180 for 7 off 20 overs

Batting: P.Rosa 79* A.Jackson 25 A.Syed 13 A.Williamson 9 A.Pandey 9

 Bowling: A.Pandey 3-0-18-2 D.Drumm 4-0-18-1 A.Barber 3-0-18-1 A.Syed 4-1-35-1 M.Ruddock 3-0-31-1 P.Rosa 3-0-17-0

ATHLONE 3: 140 for 6 off 20 overs

Batting: Gupta 39 Ganesan 38 Thokala 37 Athukorala 9 

Bowling: Mayhad 4-0-32-4 Vignash 4-0-25-1 K.Brennan 4-0-27-1 Morne 3-0-13-0

Athlone actually play in Offaly, not Westmeath, in an attractive setting below the 1798 built Doon House of the Enraght-Moony family, who have been in Doon since the 17th Century. It is a “plain but elegant two-storey block, creeper clad, over a basement”, as Andrew Tierney writes in “The Buildings of Ireland, Central Leinster”. This was the return match following our convincing win in Harristown last week. Athlone would have to win even more convincingly to give themselves any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals of the Adamstown Cup. They fielded a stronger team whilst we had been shorn of Darren Ryall, star of our first encounter, and Danny Ruddock - both elevated to the 1st team. Once again we came perilously close to losing. Butty Brennan, namesake of the Athlone captain, might have won the Lottery in the old TV ad, but he can’t win a toss. Once again we elected to bat. Opener Ashley Jackson batted well to put on 25 but, though Abhi, Ahsan and Andrew Williamson contributed runs, no partner hung around for long. The middle order then suddenly collapsed with a stumping, lbw and run out in quick succession to leave Halverstown 82 for 7 off 10 overs. The run rate was fine but we were now into our tail end when, at No. 9, I joined Paolo Rosa at the crease. We might get to 100 or just possibly 120 we thought.

In the 2019 Ashes Test at Headingley England won on the last day with an amazing 10th wicket stand. Stokes won it for England with his 135*, but few remember his partner: Leach contributed a vital 1 not out of the 76 runs they put on together. There were echoes here: Paolo Rosa put on a magnificent display of hitting with his 79* off 37 balls. My Leach-like 7 not out off 31 balls (and more than a few extras!) kept Paolo at the wicket and- with our partnership of 98- we reached an unlikely total of 180.The pick of the Athlone bowlers was Mayhad with 4 wickets but Morne again bowled with economy and Butty, in between wicket keeping duties, took the valuable wicket of Ahsan. 

Athlone’s first 3 batmen did well against our attack and had 74 runs on the board after 10 overs. It was the 12th before we finally took a wicket, Ahsan bowling the excellent Gupta for 39; 2 overs later a superb caught-bowled by Abhi removed the Ganesan for 38. The other top scorer, Thokala, I bowled for 37. With further wickets falling to Matt Ruddock (a super catch from Ahsan), Abhi and Andy Barber (another caught-bowled), the threat from Athlone died only in the last few overs. Another nervy win that was an excellent effort in the field but set up by a one man display of power hitting by Paolo and which confirms our place in the semi-finals with 5 consecutive wins. The Paolo-Drumm partnership has made the record books: not Wisden perhaps but is the highest 8th wicket stand in the Adamstown Cup this year to date. We’ll take that! Particular thanks from the team to Stuart Conroy and Jon Kirby who made the long trip “doon to Doon” to perform the normally thankless tasks of scoring and umpiring.  

Written by Des Drumm.

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