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Nenagh Cricket Club

May 201308th

Sport / Club Notes

Nenagh Cricket Club

Nenagh cricketers maintain flying start to the season

Nenagh Cricket Club had a holiday weekend to remember as they claimed two impressive victories in different competitions. Following on from their club record runs victory in league matches two weeks ago, Nenagh faced up to rivals Limerick in division 2 and registered a tight, gutsy victory, before following it up with an against-the-odds winning effort in their Minor Cup opener against Co. Kerry Cricket Club in Tralee.

Nenagh entertained local rivals Limerick CC at Ballyeighan Cricket Ground on saturday last. On a sunny but blustery afternoon, Nenagh batted first in what has come to be seen as the club's derby match against their opponents in the last two Minor Cup finals. A solid if somewhat cautious start from the hosts saw them creep along to 30 without loss in the first 15 overs, setting what looked like a decent platform, before the problems began. Thomas Mathew was harshly given out caught behind, before stand-in keeper Naoise Brooke top-edged a hook to give his opposite number another catch.33-0 had become 37-2 and it was soon to get worse. Jojin Mathew and Colin Cummings both departed quickly after, and after a brief period of calm, Jomy Joseph missed a straight one to leave Nenagh's innings in wreckage at 54-5.

Nenagh's top order failings left the middle order and tail with all the work to do, and captain Ginson Abraham had to step in to stop the rot, putting together a vital 48-run partnershp with Kannan Sreenivas. However, once Sree departed, followed soon by vice-captain Tiku George, Nenagh's innings once again looked underwhelming. Despite a useful cameo from V Anulal, they found themselves 144-8 at the start of the 43rd over when an extrodinary quirk of the laws was applied by the umpires, changing the face of the match. Having been warned that they were taking far too long to complete their overs, Limerick were penalised by having their bowling innings ended by the umpire with 3 overs remaining, and 18 penalty runs awarded to Nenagh. It was a decision which left just about everyone at the ground perplexed, but ultimately served as a major boost for the hosts, as it meant that the Limerick target was now raised to 163, and, even more perversely, that they had to get there in just 39 overs. It was a mistake that neither side will be queueing up to make again.

In the second half of the match, Limerick were undone by Nenagh's customary hostile bowling, with Ginson Abraham once again leading his troops by example, taking 5 for 28. There were wickets each for Anulal, Sree, Jomy Joseph and Sebastian Joseph, as well as a sharp run-out, but though the result was never really in doubt, Nenagh were guilty of some terrible catching, dropping at least 7 regulation chances. In the end it didn't matter, and could possibly be dismissed as a combination of early-season rustiness and a howling wind making things difficult, but Nenagh know they won't win many more matches with repeat performances in the field.

On the bank holiday monday, Nenagh then travelled to Tralee to face up to the first challenge to their title of Minor Cup holders, where they overcame a determined County Kerry side. After winning the toss and batting for the third successive match, Nenagh's early optimism took a hit when some canny home bowling left their fragile top order once again in disarray at 21-4 as Tom Paul, Thomas Mathew, Naoise Brooke and Colin Cummings all departed for single-figures. Jojin Mathew and Jomy Joseph set about trying to repair the damage, and managed to push the score on to 66 before Joseph holed out. Nenagh were once again in the mire, only this time, due to the starred players rule, club captain Ginson Abraham couldn't come to the rescue. Three more quick wickets came after a mini-revival led by Jojin Mathew with a stout 31, leaving Nenagh limping along at 99-8 before an unlikely partnership between bowlers V Anulal and Aji Anthony helped lift them to 148. Kerry will perhaps blame themselves for some slopped fielding at the death which ultimately proved fateful.

In the return innings, Nenagh's fabled bowling attack failed to make a breakthrough in the first 20 overs, with only some sloppy running from the hosts gifting the cup holders a couple of wickets, and at the drinks break Kerry were cruising at 70-2. Nenagh were not about to give up their trophy that easily though, and rallied with a noticably improved effort thereafter. Jojin Mathew broke the stubborn 50-run partnership that looked to be winning the match, before Colin Cummings took 5 wickets, including 3 in an over, to turn the game completely in Nenagh's favour. Mathew took a second wicket after several appeals, and V Anulal also chipped in with a strike as Nenagh sealed an unlikely victory that sees them progress to the semi finals for the third year in a row.

It is an old football cliche that says that good teams win even when they're playing badly, and Nenagh will know that they can drastically improve on their performances last weekend, with top order runs and better catching the main areas of concern. Having said that, they have now won the first three fixtures of a season for the first time in their history, have taken every wicket on offer, and know exactly how they can get better. Nenagh's next match is on Saturday 11th May at Ballyeighan Cricket Ground at home to Cork County 2.

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