Saturday 24 August 2019

Make-or-break tie as Mals collapse


This final day 141-run loss for Malahide ensured they finished fourth in the Premier League, which sets up an intriguing elimination match with The Hills this weekend.

The new format in the Premier League sees teams who finish in third and fourth play each other in an elimination match. The winners of that elimination match will then go on to play the losers of the match between Merrion and Pembroke who play in the Grand Final qualification match, also next weekend.

Phoenix, with nothing to play for having lost three of their opening six games, won the toss and elected to bat, with Simi Singh and Benjamin Beecroft opening for the hosts.

Malahide got off to a blistering start, with Peter Chase claiming the wicket of Singh after just two overs, while Kelvin Donnelly added to Phoenix's woes just an over later when he got Beecroft out for a duck.

At that stage Phoenix were in trouble on 12/2 after just three overs, while Malahide were looking good to make it five wins from six.

Adam Chester and James Maginnis tried to get Phoenix going again and a partnership of 37 between the pair helped Phoenix reach 60, but Keith Reynolds got rid of both men in quick succession to leave the home side struggling on 62/4.

Phoenix desperately needed somebody from their middle order to stand up and be counted and thankfully for them Poonish Mehta delivered in style as he began spraying fours around the Phoenix Park.

Nicolaas Pretorius was just getting settled into his innings alongside Mehta when Peter Chase claimed his second wicket of the day to break up the partnership.

Mehta would go on to make 92 not out but ran out of partners as Chase picked up two more wickets late on to restrict Phoenix to 212.

At that stage Malahide would have probably fancied their chances of chasing down that total, but that all changed within four overs as Phoenix bowlers Poonish Mehta and Ben White destroyed the Malahide openers, with Alan Reynolds, Anish Desai, Gregory Ford and Matt Ford all going for ducks.

When Mehta took the wicket of Damien Mortimer in the eighth over Malahide were all at sea, with the scoreboard reading a scarcely believable 10/5.

Cameron Shoebridge was the only batsman who scored more than ten, but his 25 was nowhere near enough to prevent Phoenix winning at a canter by 141 runs.

Malahide will need to refocus and find some form ahead of this weekend's make-or-break game against The Hills.

Malahide: Alan Reynolds, Anish Desai, Damien Mortimer, Gregory Ford, Matthew Ford, Fintan McAllister, Peter Chase, James Newland, Cameron Shoebridge, Kelvin Donnelly, Keith Reynolds.

Fingal Independent