Malahide 1st v Phoenix 1st 28 June 2021

Some of my earliest cricket memories are tied into Malahide CC. I have a clear recollection of watching my father play an evening game out there in what must have been the late 1960s. It is never a chore to head out to the Village and when the game is as good as that served up on Monday evening, then there are be no complaints at all.

As I arrived, Georgina Dempsey and Nevedha Saravanarajan were heading out to the middle to get started against Emma McMurray and Sarah Condron. They got off to a great start taking the occasional boundary but playing a form of hit and run which made it very difficult for the home side to stem the flow of early runs. Hit and run carries a risk and there were a few close calls before the 50 partnership was brought up in the 7th over.

Malahide were due a break and it came when new bowler Aisling McCormack was introduced to the attack and immediately enticed Saravanarajan into mis-hitting the ball to point where Gemma DeVally took a good catch. This brought Lara Maritz, in good recent form with the bat, to the wicket to join Dempsey.

Dempsey, who was the one largely responsible for the cheeky running was using her feet to the Malahide bowlers to great effect. Of course when you leave your crease you have to make sure you get something on the ball and when she missed Sarah Brophy, Amy Hunter was waiting patiently to take the bails and end Demspey’s stay.

With the total at 102 and 7 overs still left, Phoenix looked well set for a big score. That they never quite got away was thanks to some good bowling from Brophy and Beth Deacon and some excellent ground fielding in particular from Anna Kerrison on the boundary. Maritz marshalled the Phoenix batters but they never quite got away and they finished their innings on 156 for 6 with Maritz completing her half century (including six 4s) just before she was run out. Brophy ended with excellent figures of 4 for 25.

The chase by Malahide began with Caoimhe McCann and Amy Hunter who in the first over made her intentions clear when she lofted Maritz over mid off for 4. In the early part of the partnership Hunter whether deliberately or not took responsibility against the quicker bowlers and neatly used their additional pace to ease the ball into gaps and in the process get the response off to a cracking start.

The introduction of Ashlee King into the attack saw Hunter ease her back over her head for 4 before leaning on a half volley which shot past point on the impeccable outfield for another boundary. The next ball saw a mishit which King did well to reach but unbalanced was unable to hang onto the chance. With Hunter clearly more comfortable against the quicker bowlers, Phoenix turned to their change bowlers to try to slow down the run rate, however this allowed McCann into the game and she began to strike the ball beautifully, in particular in the leg side.

In the 12th over, with the 100 just passed and no wickets down this was very much Malahide’s game. However, the 13th over saw Maritz return to the attack and with her first ball, pin McCann in front for a good 45. It was the opening that the visitors were looking for and they barrelled right through.

With King also back in the attack DeVally was a little uncomfortable against the pace and the pressure was now on Hunter. After the earlier calm there was a sense of panic from Malahide, DeVally was bowled and Condron run out. In an effort to save one over for the finale, Maritz was replaced by Dempsey at the Castle end and with the score at 109, Hunter tried to lap a ball she lost her leg stump. Her 55 had given her team a good chance but could they now capitalise?

Next ball, Demspey castled McMurray so Anna Kerrison came out to face the hat trick ball. It turned out to be a bit of a damp squib as Kerrison was able to watch the ball harmlessly pass. Hopefully Dempsey will learn that hat trick chances do not come around too often so she should make the most of them when they do.

At this stage, Malahide did not seem likely to reach their goal but Kerrison kept going but with an unlikely 33 still needed heading into the 19th over, there was only one outcome on the cards. Nevertheless there was still business to be done.

In her final over, Dempsey bowled Isobel and Aisling McCormack in successive balls to give her another opportunity at the hat trick. “Three slips and 2 gullys” her coach Amy Kenealy suggested. She did not take the advice instead she bowled full and straight and sure enough the bails fell for a third time.

An all bowled hat trick, quick learner that girl.