By Ray Stapleton
May is winding to a close, summer finally seems to have arrived and the cricket season goes on apace.
The weather accounted for two of Bagenalstown’s matches last weekend with the Firsts and Seconds games falling foul of the foul weather. The Thirds got their game in and it was another excellent result for Stephen Hadley and his men.
The visitors, Civil Service CC, batted first and were restricted to 108. Credit must go to the wicket takers, Syed Baryalay who took 4 for 15, Anis Kahn who took 2 for 23 and Liam Foot who took 2 for 18. The fact that all these players are still Youth players (and younger) is both a credit to them and their efforts and offers great hopes for the clubs future.
The wicket takers were well supported by the other bowlers who built the pressure on the batsmen without taking wickets. Diarmuid Power was exceptionally parsimonious with only 9 runs coming off his 8 overs.
The ‘Town reply got off to an initially rocky start, being 3 for 26 at one stage. The elder statesmen, Power and Clive Foot steadied the ship with Clive particularly impressive, top scoring with 32. The young bloods then came to the fore again with Syed (13) and Stevie Hadley building on that platform. The game went to the wire with Bagenalstown leaking wickets and Civil Service leaking runs. Going into the last over four runs were needed to win and Stevie, who excelled with 25 not out, displayed coolness beyond his years to guide the side home.
They carried this great form into this weekend at home against Greystones. Not to be outdone by his young mates Robbie O Neill hit a sensational 62 to give the ‘Town a super start. Veteran Sean Farrell rolled back the years to stroke an unbeaten 52 in his own inimitable style. Life in the old dog yet! Captain Stephen Hadley chipped in with 23 and youth reared its head again as Syed hit a late 20 runs.
A challenging 206 total proved beyond Greystones as the bowler did their job once again and the ‘Town cruised to a 50 run win. Hadley Snr led the way this time, breaking a dangerous partnership and then coming back on to mop up the tail. Wickets were shared between Robbie, Anis and Azaz Ahmed with Syed again bowling very tightly but without success. Greystones were never allowed get any real momentum going with the Bagenalstown fielding being of a very high standard. Tony O Grady stood out in this regard, giving a master class in ground fielding. He has the relentless energy of youth and spends it wildly!
The Seconds continue to go winless but performances are good and that elusive win is just around the corner.
They went down to a strong Swords side by 30 runs in Dublin at the weekend. Waqar Khan was exceptional with the ball again proving virtually unplayable. The ‘Town bowled well and fielded aggressively to restrict Swords to 169. This was good effort on a big, fast outfield. Again though, the batting was rocky with too many wickets lost early. The middle order rallied with Sunny Charles and Ray Stapleton contributing 20 each before another clatter of wickets seemed to finish Town off. When Shozab Ali Taj struck 11 off one late over however it seemed like the fat might be pulled from the fire. An exceptional slip catch dismissed him and the ‘Town hopes went with him. Robbie O Neill deserves honourable mention for an unbeaten 16.
I am pleased to report that the First team secured their first win of the season away to Pembroke. Few details are available at this stage other than Shane O Neill top scored with 70 for Bagenalstown as they posted 242. It proved enough for a 50 run victory and they are up and running now. More details to follow.
In a busy weekend for Bagenalstown CC, the Fourth team played a friendly with Wexford which resulted in a narrow one wicket win for Wexford. I am obliged to mention that Colin O Neill finished with 10 not out for the ‘Town. The MLR flags were flying high this weekend! The underage teams also secured wins at U12 and U14 with wins over Waterford and Gorey.
It was all in all an exceptional weekend for Bagenalstown with 6 teams taking the field for the first time across all ages and abilities. Despite the above, we would still welcome anyone with an interest in playing or simply involving themselves with the cricket club.
There are many non-playing tasks to perform for anyone with the time and interest to put in such as scoring, coaching and just supporting.