Halverstown Oaks V Leprechauns - Sun 8th Aug 2021

Match Drawn

LEPRECHAUNS: 149 for 6

Batting: P. Bouclier 36, Shahzad 26, R Ullah 15, P Byrne 12

 Bowling: B. Martin 6-1-25-3; P. Byrne 5-1-20-2; F O'Beirne 4-1-3-1 


Batting: A. Pandey 46, C. Johnston 19, D. Drumm 3, K. Hodson 3

 Bowling: K. Hodson 5-0-13-2; J. Kirby 5-0-20-2; M. Ruddock 5-0-19-1; B. McAllister 3-2-3-0

A masterclass of defensive batting led by skipper Des Drumm earned the Halverstown Oaks a hard-fought draw against Leprechauns.

After a week of horrendous weather, the sun emerged miraculously for a beautiful day at Harristown, for the declaration match – a timed match with 25 innings in total after 4.30 – so all sorts of tactical decisions come into play. Think Day 5 of a Test match, starting with both teams level after finishing their first innings.

Leprechauns – featuring some of the finest cricketers from across the south of the country – batted first. Kevin Hodson was instrumental in reducing them to 41/4, taking two wickets bowling down the hill and taking two catches off the bowling of Jon Kirby.

It was a tougher slog after that, as Leprechauns moved to 139, Peter Bouclier and Shahzad leading the way with unbeaten scores of 36 and 26 respectively. Two further wickets – a neat catch off his own bowling by Matt Ruddock and a sharp run out by Abhi Pandey – came too late to affect the score too much, and Leprechauns’ skipper Paddy Byrne declared on 149 off 37 overs, the tiniest fraction over 4 per over.

The Oaks would have slightly fewer overs to chase it, about 30mins until 4.30 plus 25 overs thereafter (it turned out to be a total of 33 overs.)

43 off opener Abhi Pandey – which included two sixes – established something of a base, but unfortunately few others stuck around long enough, with 6 of the top 8 batsmen adding just 7 runs between them. Only Cecil Johnston offered significant resistance, a patient 19 off 51 balls before being trapped LBW.

By then, he had been joined at the crease by Des Drumm. While a win was still possible, the captain clearly made the assessment that doing so would require a rate of run-scoring hitherto not shown by the batting line up, and decided to dig in for a draw. There were still 17 overs to go.

But dig in he did, seeing off 36 dot balls before getting off the mark, in a remarkable display of patient, stubborn resistance. The Leprechauns used five different bowlers in the final 10 overs as they tried to make the breakthrough. The Oaks weren’t adding many runs – there were 8 maidens bowled in the last 14 overs – but were proving impossible to dislodge, as the overs ticked down and the tension ramped up!

Having being dropped off a tricky chance at slip, Des eventually fell for a heroic 3 off 45 balls, with 16 balls left for the final wicket stand of Jon Kirby and Paddy Carroll (who had come off the bench to replace an injured Ahsan in the first innings) to survive.

They took their captain’s lead and batted through to the end, adding a single run apiece off a combined 25 balls. Batsmen 9, 10 and 11 finished with a collective score of 5 off 70 balls.

It’s not often that a score of 3 deserves top billing, but it was a marvellous “thou shalt not pass” innings from Captain Des to secure a gritty draw for the Oaks!

Written by Gerard O'Shea

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