Halverstown Oaks v Merrion Taverners - Sun 19th June 2022

Merrion win by 2 Runs

Oaks 83-4 and 105-6

1st Inns: A. Williamson 23*, C. Johnston 19*, A. Syed 11* / M.Deeny 1-0-2-2, T. Purdy 2-0-8-1

2nd Inns: M. Hodgson 21*, J. Hodgson 21*, S. Hayes 15 / J.Ryan 2-0-8-2, G.Walshe 2-0-12-1

Merrion 91-5 and 99-6

1st Innings: T. Purdy 20*, J. Ryan 20*, G.Walshe 15 / A.Syed 2-1-2-2, J. Hodgson 2-0-10-1

2nd Inns: G. Biggs 20*, J. Ryan 19*, M. Deeny 19 / M.Case 3-0-4-1, M.Hodgson 3-0-8-1,         S. Hayes 2-0-8-1

The Oaks have played a variety of formats in games so far this year, and the visit of Merrion Taverners saw the four innings format make its first appearance – 2 innings aside of 15 overs each, like a mini Test match.

It would also see one of the most dramatic, frenetic, exciting and helter-skelter climax, at the end of a brave and big Oaks batting performance.

With 90 balls in an innings, a total of 90 runs probably wouldn’t be far off as a rough rule of thumb par. So when the Oaks kept Merrion to 91, we weren’t too unhappy, especially considering the considerable, quickly-scored knocks by Ryan, Purdy and Walshe who collectively accounted for just under half of the total.

In reply, the Oaks fell just short of a par score, Andy Williamson and Cecil Johnston added unbeaten 23 and 19 respectively, and 22 extras from the bowlers helping us to 83. So it was close – just 8 runs behind at the lunch break.

If the plan had been to keep the Merrion score low and try to bridge that gap somehow, it didn’t work. A couple of costly overs early on saw them race to 40 runs off 5 overs, before being slowly reined back in. On field skipper John Ryan was again unbeaten (19), being surpassed on this occasion by wicketkeeping-batsman Biggs (20*). Deeny and McCarthy also made double figures, as Merrion posted 99 for the second innings, leaving the Oaks a fairly hefty target of 108 to win.

Oaks players and spectators over the years know that heavy scoring, over an entire innings, has not often been the team’s forte. So a required run rate of 7.2 for 15 consecutive overs looked a very daunting challenge indeed.

Mark Case and David McConaghy laid a base for the chase. It wasn’t quick, but it was solid and opening batters getting through 5 overs has been a rarity for the Oaks. Nonetheless, with only 18 runs on the board after 5 overs, the target was 90 in 10 overs – the run rate was up to 9 an over.

Matt and Jim Hodgson produced one of the finest batting partnerships the team have seen in quite some time. The father and son raced each other to 20, both retiring on 21*, and snuck us along to 58 after 10 overs – but while they had made some inroads into the run rate, we still needed a lot of runs, now 10 an over in fact. Ahsan Syed and Stuart Hayes picked up the pace that had been set, and laid down a marker for what was to come for the final 30 balls: chasing down every single run, even ones that probably weren’t there, every single bye and extra chased to within an inch of its life.

There were 9 runs off the 12th over, 12 off the 13th and 16 off the 14th over. All of a sudden, it was 9 needed off the last over and the insurmountable target was in sight. Unfortunately, that over was being bowled by John Ryan – twice unbeaten with the bat and whose previous 3 overs across both innings had gone for just 12 runs. His masterful death bowling and wicket-taking in the over limited us just to just 6 runs, stranding us on 105 runs, a brilliant chase of a tough target, but agonisingly two runs shy of Merrion’s total.

All in all, a fine outing for the team despite the result, and so many players excelled. Maybe there’s a lesson in this kamikaze chasing of runs? Maybe we should try it from the start?

Written by Gerard O'Shea

SIMBLAWebsite Builder