Deryck Vincent (CricketEurope)
The intention to get out and about and see different grounds in the province was on hold this weekend. The IP20 games meant double weekends for the lads and due to a looming deadline for a Masters submission (no, of course it was not me) I was on driving duty to get the said lads to and from their game on Sunday.
That Sunday game was Clontarf second team’s away fixture to YMCA. Of course, it was also an away game for the home side as the lockout at Claremont Road continues. A large round of applause to Railway Union who provided the facilities to YM for this game.
Clontarf Captain Shane O’Brien won the toss and opted to bat first and that seemed like a reasonable call for a couple of reasons. Firstly this was the 5pm game on Sunday on a wicket already well used, so the likelihood was always that it might be a tricky surface on which to bat and one that was more likely to deteriorate than improve.
While there is sound cricket logic for that reason alone, his thoughts would have been confirmed by the fact that two YMers had headed across the Liffey with the view that the game was taking place in Castle Avenue and were hurrying back hoping to arrive before the first ball was bowled. As it turned out they only missed the first over.
I took up residence at the tennis courts end along with a couple of other fathers, Dave McGeehan and Ciaran McNally who were also spending their Father’s Day on driving and supporting duties for their sons Aaron and John.
Devansh Singh and Olly Riley opened for YM while the captain and Andrew Delany took guard for the Northsiders. It was not to be for Andrew whose father Gerry had taken up position 25 metres to my right, however the great thing about having four cricket playing sons is that if one is out there is a decent chance of another popping up somewhere along the road and indeed Niall was in the Clontarf lineup.
O’Brien and Andrew Vincent played nicely together, watchfully as the wicket dictated. Another youngster came into the attack to replace Riley and Reuben Wilson got a bit of swing to take the edge of Vincent’s bat with the score on 26. Shane O’Brien was next to fall this time to left arm spinner Jamie Forbes. Jamie’s Dad James would normally be at the game but he was excused this time as he had spent the 24 hours of Saturday cycling from Mizen Head to Malin Head in aid of charity, an undertaking that has raised an astonishing £46,000 for Cycle against Suicide.
John McNally looked in good touch but he had given his Father’s Day present to Ciaran the previous day when taking six wickets in the 2nds game against Merrion 3rds. In the process he had earned a shed load of Fantasy League points for his Dad who had made him triple captain for the weekend (I am not even going to pretend I have any idea what that means).
In the meantime David Vincent had come to the wicket. Hand on heart, I didn’t even notice but he marshalled the troops for the remainder of the innings in making 31 not out. Can I remember one shot? Well I remember a few edges but a single boundary (there were only five in total in the innings) tells you that it was very much a nudge and nurdle type of knock.
The Clontarf total of 98 for 7 may not seem wonderful but those on the sideline felt that it gave the visitors a chance. We had by this time been joined by Peter Prendergast – this may account for my lack of detail above – and the conversation was a 50/50 split between belly laughs and pontification as conversations in this company usually are.
The Clontarf Dads were encouraged that Peter’s son Joe had scored an unbeaten 59 in the previous game of the day on this wicket and his side’s 120 was comfortably enough for victory on that occasion but it would still take a performance with few or no mistakes to bring the points North.
Matt Butler got the show on the road and after a few loose ones he found his range when Henry Thompson clipped one to Gerry’s second son Niall Delany who took the catch with the minimum of fuss, which just about sums Niall up. Henry’s Dad Keith just kept on walking the laps.
Singh joined Forbes in what looked on paper as the crucial partnership but with the score on 30 Jamie went for a quick single and with just one stump to aim at, Andrew Vincent hit that one stump. The side’s reaction suggested that they saw this as a crucial breakthrough.
McNally earned Ciaran a few more fantasy points when he ended Ian Anders day, bringing to the wicket Sean McAuley, a vastly experienced player. The game was now in the balance, chasing a low score, YM would never be out of the game but Clontarf needed to keep things tight and add pressure.
The captain introduced Andre Ryan into the attack, a young lad on debut. Dad, Mano (and Mum Nessa) were sitting with us and he produced an outstanding spell of 4 overs for just 12 runs and in his final over he got his reward when McAuley slapped the slower ball to McNally at cover.
Mano was a top class second row for Lansdowne and Andre is head and shoulders taller than him and a far better athlete, one to watch I reckon. P.S. I am still faster than Mano so I reckon I am safe, if he catches me, well, nice knowing you.
With three overs left, YM were 73 still 26 short of the target, this was always going to be the crucial over. David Vincent returned and bowled an outstanding over conceding just one run. In the final over he finally got his reward when Kashyap perished hitting one to deep mid wicket and David’s brother Andrew took a terrific diving catch. I acknowledge my bias but there are few better fielders at any level in the province. Singh succumbed next ball when bowled for a good 42, comfortably the top score of the day but YM’s game was done.
As Shane O’Brien told his side in his understated manner, as ever, it is always good to win a tight game, YM will acknowledge it is equally tough to lose one.
So a good Father’s Day topped off by an outstanding burger from BuJo in Sandymount on the way home, can’t ask for any more, thanks lads.
Note you can still donate to the Cycle against Suicide Fundraiser at following address https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11402253_mizen-to-malin-24.html?fbclid=IwAR2T-HNpswJPiTNf9D__i0R1EYCxflpZFAc9bAJyRkIi-Gnnw42Z2XrQ-Jg