With two games played on Sunday, the first XI travelled to Lonford, while the second XI made the trip up to Dundalk.
In Longfordit was a great day to play cricket with sun shining through. It was a high scoring game, with the highlight coming from Ibrar Jan who scored his first, and the club’s first century of the season.
Wexford won the toss to put the home side into bat first. Adeel Mohammad and Tony Murray shared the new ball, it was a decent start with the ball swinging. The Lonford openers looked solid against the new ball. The hosts had scored 48 from the first 7 overs.
Then came the bowling change at both ends. Wexfords speed star Ahmed Mansoor Oriakhail replaced Murray, while captain Nithin Padmaprabhu replaced Mohammad. At this stage Longford had a good start with the bat, putting up 75runs for the first wicket in 10 overs. Mansoor was quick enough to take his first wicket in his second over. Although skipper Padmaprabhu went for 20 runs in his first over, he was able to take the 2nd wicket of the innings via LBW.
While fielding Haq Nawaz was injured at slip and couldn’t bat while chasing. He was in a situation where he couldn’t field anymore. Wexford fielded with 10 fielders for the remainder of the game.
However, when the team needed Haq to field at the boundary with the single hand he was up for a challenge and contributed greatly to the team win. Being a senior member in the team Haq set an example for the younger players.
It was a crucial part of the match where Longford were in strong position scoring 110-2 after just 15 overs. It did not take them long toget 100 runs on theboard. Then came the Wexford spin twins of Anjith Varghese and Siblee Islam.
Left arm spinner Varghese took 6 wickets in his 9 over spell conceding just 48runs. This was one of his best bowling performances for the club. His 6 wickets helped the team to have a great comeback. His bowling performance is the best so far throughout the club for the year. With bat and ball the 1st XI are leading by example.
Siblee too had his part in the great comeback with two crucial wickets. After a spectacular bowling and an excellent comeback by the Wexford team, Longford were bowled out for 203, with over still to spare.
Defending a score of 204 in 45 overs with short straight boundaries was a difficult task for the home team.
Wexford had Sean Dunk and Varghese opening the innings. Wexford had lost their two openers for just 5 runs on the board. Unfortunately, Varghese was not able to carry his bowling form into batting. Wexfords left handed specialist Eugene Brennan walked in at number 3 and our super daring batsman Ibrar walked in at 4 to steady the ship for Wexford. A decent partnership between Ibrar Jan and Eugene began to build. This got things in the right place for the visitors. Very soon Eugene was out for just 9. At this stage Wexford were 55-3 after 12 overs.
With a half century scored in his first match, Mansoor walked in at number5 to join Jan. They both looked solid in the middle. Both consumed the pressure and very soon Jan set a fire with his bat to hit some big sixes.
At the initial stage in the partnership Mansoor was playing a supportive role. Jan got to his first hundred of the season with a six over long on. It was one of the greatest innings to be played for Wexford in recent memory according to captain Padmaprabhu. In total Jan hit 13 sixes and 7 fours in his innings to finish at 118*. A phenominal innings, one which will take some beating to top this season.
Mansoor on the other hand had a fantastic batting in the middle with scoring 56* which included 5 sixes and 3 boundaries. Mansoor is in his top form and It was his 2nd half century in his two matches in the league.
Captain Padmaprabhu stated after the game that “It was satisfactory to travel all the way to Longford to win a match with top class batting, bowling and fielding.” The win sets Wexford up nicely for the rest of the season.
Shorthanded 2nd’s team put up a fight but just not enough runs on the board
Wexfords 2nd XI made the 500km round-trip to Dundalk with just 8 men, on Sunday afternoon.
After an ordeal in trying to find the obscure ground, Wexford lost the toss and were put into bat. After noticing that the majority of the Dundalk team were at least 6’6″ tall, somewhat taller than the Wexford linup, Captain Stahlut had a feeling they would be in for a session of chin music. The mat was especially bouncy, and chin music is what the top order got with some very short pitched fast-bowling.
Steven Hadley was playing very solidly, whilst Aaron Murphy started out with two 4’s and looked in good touch. However he was unlucky to be caught behind for 10 by a one handed leaping catch from the keeper after slashing at a short one outside off.
Ultan Quirke came in and wasted no time racing to 20 with a few lovely boundaries before being bowled. Hadley made it through to drinks unscathed and looked like Geoffrey Boycott out there. Karthik came and went in a matter of minutes. He was bowled for a duck. This brought captain Stahlut to the crease.
Hadley eventually fell caught-behind after glancing a wide one to the keeper – fair play for Hadley for walking and not having to put his teammate Quirke, who was standing in as an umpire, through the torment of having to make the decision.
Samiullah Nasseri was next in and instantly upped the run rate with a couple 6’s and 4’s. Stahlut was then out bowled for 14. Nasseri was then caught on the boundary for a quickfire 26, which brought in Stefen Carty and Sean Faulkner for the last wicket – both of them putting on 5 or 6 each. Looking back Captain Stahlut stated “I was very proud of the team for making it through to the 33rd over with just 7 wickets available, and we had a defendable total of 7-134 on the board, albeit needing some luck in the 2nd innings.”
Faulkner and Karthik started off the bowling innings, and whilst not going for too many runs the odd boundary and no early wickets meant things were looking ominous. A brilliant caught and bowled by Karthik then brought about the first wicket for the depleted Wexford lineup. He made a full stretch dive forward onto the pitch to take it 1-handed – very tricky catch. Karthik then got the 2nd wicket clean bowled and things were looking up all of a sudden.
We then switched to spin from both ends, and whilst Stahlut and Murphy were generally bowling well and getting a lot of dot balls, the odd one that we pitched slightly too short were all heavily punished due to the extremely short boundaries.
The frustration of their number 4 batsman caused by the slow bowling eventually came to a head when he was out caught & bowled after attempting to hit Stahlut out of the park, but it took a thick top edge and soared sky-high.
Somehow Stahlut managed to take the catch to put Dundalk 3 wickets down for about 90 runs. There was still a small chance of a wexford upset.
Unfortunately the next over saw Murphy get hit for 3 sixes over the short boundary. Even though a lightning quick second spell from Faulkner snagged 2 more wickets Dundalk chased the total down in the 23rd over with 5 wickets to spare.
Hadley bowled 1 tidy over at the end, and the batsmen were in 2-minds about how to play him. Stahlut said after “In hindsight I should have brought him on a bit earlier. But at the end of the day, we just didnt have enough runs on the board for such a fast mat and tiny boundaries.
After the game finished Stahlut came out and said “I want to thank all of the lads who made the journey up, you made the club proud. And thanks to the couple of sub-fielders (friends of Sami & Karthik respectively) but gave their all to help defend the total. Everyone contributed with the bat. Our bowlers were all very consistent, whilst our fielding was top notch with no mis-fields or dropped catches. There were only positives out of this match (even with the lack of players). A 5-wicket loss with only 8 men is a great result and we can all hold our heads up high. The Dundalk lads were a very hospitable, fun and honest bunch of lads and I personally thoroughly enjoyed the match.”