Halverstown Oaks v Merrion Taverners - Sun 12th Sept 2021

Merrion win by 8 Wickets

OAKS: 108 FOR 9 off 30 overs

Batting: A.Syed 26* D.Drumm 24* A.Barber 16 A.Jackson 12

Bowling**: A.Syed 4-11-1** G.O’Shea 2-16-1 A.Barber 3-11-0 D.Drumm 3-20-0 N.O’Reilly 2-10-0 B.McAllister 3-13-0 S.Hayes 2-9-0 M.Case 4-8-0** T,Case 2-16-0

MERRION: 109 FOR 2 off 25 overs

Batting: N.Bambridge 28* G.Walshe 25* S.Velmati 26* G.Biggs 13*

Bowling**: J.McCarthy 4-8-2 G.Walshe 2-4-1 N.Bambridge 4-10-1 S.Velmati 4-12-1 T.Purdy 4-16-1 T.O’Faolain 4-24-1 B.Wood 2-11-0 B.Bulmer 2-12-0

*Not Out ** 1 maiden

Neville Case keeps a very good book. His scorebook is neat and precise, making writing my match report so much easier. But there is no room for grey: he wrote, bleakly, that we lost to Merrion Taverners by 8 wickets. Cricket is a cruel game: ask any batsman out for a duck or, worse, a golden duck, especially after a long day in the field. Or a bowler hit for 6s off good balls where the batsman just got lucky or, desperate for a wicket to put a gloss on his stats, gets turned down for plumb LBW decisions. Cricket is also cruel in its scoring methodology. Yes, we lost by 8 wickets, but we didn’t get beaten that badly really. After all it took them 25 overs to win and 2 wickets do not take into account retirees having reaching the 25 run maximum. Unlike last year’s tied game, where retirees were allowed back- resulting in a revolving door for Merrion which got them the tie- we had not explicitly agreed to returnees. So if you take retirees as “wickets”, we lost by 5 wickets. Much closer.

We won the toss and batted first and were quickly into our stride of fast padding up as early wickets fell. Ashley Jackson started commendably, as did Andy Barber with 16 in the unusual role of no.3. However there was little other resistance to the accurate Merrion bowling until Ahsan and myself put on a stand of 50 for the 8th wicket before Ahsan retired. We finally got to what had seemed an unlikely score of 119, a decent target given the accurate bowling of Merrion, notably by McCarthy, Velmati and Bambridge . This was evidenced by just 3 boundaries from us. Our opening bowlers, Ahsan and Mark Case, then put Merrion under severe pressure and after 7 overs they had just 7 runs. A highlight was when Ahsan asked me to go to 1st slip. “Is this OK”, I called. “Fine” said Ahsan. Next ball was edged by Barney Bulmer and I took a diving catch. It almost looked planned! Back in my normal fielding position I subsequently dropped Bambridge, who went on to score 28*, with as many boundaries as we had in total. They opened up as we shared the bowling around and passed us at the hallway stage. 6s by Walshe (one of those lucky ones, off me!) and Sri (a less lucky 6, not off me) helped them both to maxima as Merrion hit 120 for 2 (or 5, depending). Our failure to take wickets was the problem, just Ger (a stumping by Cecil) getting the other. Several of Merrion could have been Man of the Match, but I gave it to Gerry for his bowling, batting and of course his lucky 6. They deservedly gave Andy our award, despite (or possibly because of) running out the limping Brian McAllister. A sporting and fun game enjoyed by all.

Written by Des Drumm

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