Laois Lions v Halverstown Oaks - Sat 3rd Oct 2020

Halverstown Oaks win by 1 Wicket

LAOIS: 113 off 20 overs

Batting: S.Swartz 27* Vikneish 25* P.Bouclier 17 M.Wentzel 10 D.Carney 10 

 Bowling: Sanjiv 3-12-2 S.Swartz 3-13-2** P.Bouclier 3-20-1 M.Pretorius 3-5-0 K.Marchbank 3-12-0 D.Carney 2-9-0 Vicneish 2-16-0 N.Chambers 1-10-0 

OAKS: 117 for 9 off 20 overs

Batting: Vishnu 27* Abhi 25* M.Case 10* T.Gayle 9 N.Case 8 A.Williamson 8

 Bowling: G.Bayer 2-13-2 N.O’Reilly 2-22-2** A.Williamson 2-10-1 Vishnu 2-13-1

N.Case 3-9-0 Abhi 2-6-0 M.Case 3-10-0 D.Drumm 3-12-2 J.Kirby 2-11-0 

** one maiden  

I described our last match as one of heroics; this was one of legends, stories that will be told around Halverstown firesides for centuries to come, if they have fires then. This was our first trip to Laois’ ground in Stradbally which is on the Estate owned by the Cosby family since the 16th Century. On land behind the Main Street there are the remains of “The Abbey”, a walled garden and various other ruins as well as a nice cricket ground with views of the Rock of Dunamase- and a short boundary on one side near a car park that came under bombardment at times. I was told that it was a Franciscan Abbey dating to mediaeval times. However it looked like neither to me so (a shameless plug here, Ger!) I looked it up in Andrew Tierney’s magnificent opus “Central Leinster” in the “Buildings of Ireland” series. It was the site of a Friary but went through several iterations, finally the stone being used to build a house, since ruined. Stradbally has a lot of history and this game was to add another chapter

Laois won the toss and opted to bat. Neville Case and 12 year old son Mark opened our bowling and their accuracy- and that of Jon and Abhi- ensured initial scoring was slow. After 6 overs Laois had just 16 runs and batsmen Peter and Keith were replaced. Vikneish and Mornay upped the pace and Sean Schwartz positively blasted us away. The century mark was passed in the 15th over. Our bowling got back on track and their relatively modest total of 113 was due to excellent overs from Gunter, bagging another 2 wickets, Andrew and Abhi and the Cases coming back for a third over. Niall,too, bowled our only maiden. It took courage on Niall’s part. Conceding 22 on his earlier first over, I offered him a second for the 19th. He took it and bowled a double wicket maiden. Amazing- as was Hubert’s ultra fast stumpings for both of them.

Openers Terry and Andrew got us off smartly and Vishnu’s fine 27* included 4 boundaries. After 6 overs we were 44 and at the halfway mark well ahead of the run rate. Then came our usual collapse, though Gunter out for 1 was not usual and we were now worried. Abhi held the fort, his 25* critical. But Neville at No. 9, partnering Mark, was run out and it looked like we would fall just short. Mark was joined by last man Hubert. Mark is not a big 12 year old and was wielding an adult bat that seemed nearly as big as him. Their keeper, feeling sorry for him, was giving him tuition. We had moved over 100 on the 17th over, well behind Laois. But Hubert took control and was managing both the innings and Mark- whom he said was the coolest head there! 4 off the 18th and 19th, got us up to 111. Laois were, it seemed, trying to keep Mark in since, as a retiree ,Vishnu could bat again. However, Mark could also be called in for the already padded-up Vishnu. Siren voices suggested that I do that. But it just didn’t feel right. The last over. Mark ran a single. There was a kerfuffle; it looked like Mark was run out and they were going to get Vishnu anyway, but our umpire said not out. The Lions visibly breathed a sigh of relief. That was close! Hubert was facing. Oh no, Hubert scored a single, leaving Mark on strike for the last 3 balls with the scores now tied. At least we had got the draw! Sean was bowling- and bowling well. Dot ball as Mark missed. Another miss and dot. Last ball… and Mark hit it for a boundary. We won on the last ball as a 12 year old hits a four. An unbelievably magical moment that will live long in the memory of the Oaks who were there- and especially for Mark who deserves all the praise we can give him. The stuff of legend! For The Oaks a second close run win in a row. I wait 2 years to captain the team to a win and two come along in succession. What a finish to the very late and very strange season! Thanks to all the players and especially to Stuart Conroy who put in so much effort as Covid Officer for so little cricket in return. We look forward to resuming our winning streak next season.


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