First Ever National Cup Game for WWCC

National Cup – Wexford Wanderers 1 v Limerick 1 – Saturday 

Saturday brought Wexford Wanderer’s first-ever appearance in the National Cup. It also brought their 2nd 3+ hour away journey in 14 days as they made their way to the 2020 Cricket Ireland club of the year, Limerick Cricket Club. 

Unfortunately, the journey plus the traffic in the surrounding area meant that the game started without the full quota of Wexford players. This meant that upon winning the toss, skipper, Nithin Padmaprabhu, elected to bat first, despite winning their previous two matches chasing.

Alas, Sean Graham (38) and Haq Nawaz (38) walked to the crease and proceeded to get Wexford off to an absolute flier, both finding the gaps and clearing the boundaries with regularity while putting on 70 inside 9 overs. 

However, that proved to be a catalyst for a collapse, as the next 70 runs came at a cost of 9 wickets, due to a mix of hesitancy, poor shot selection and some debatable umpiring calls.  

Ibrar Jan (34) was the only man to stand up during this period, so when he was dismissed at 139-9, Wexford feared that they would be posting a total well short of where they should have been after the powerplay.  

What happened next though, swung the momentum back towards Wexford in what was already becoming a very exciting match as number 10 Siblee Islam and number 11 Alan “Chewie” Murphy, put on 32 for the last wicket through a combination of good running and sensible shot selection.

Wexford didn’t bat their full quota of overs. But at 171 they felt far more confident than they had 30 minutes earlier.

After tea Wexford set about the task of defending the total.

Limerick got off to a very sedate start as Nithin, Mansoor and Graham bowled tightly. They watched many plays and misses go through to Ibrar behind the stumps. Graham finally brought the breakthrough as the Limerick opener played for a spin, which never arrived and the off bail was dislodged.  

A run out from Sean Dunk and Ibrar brought about the second wicket after some confusion and the game was certainly for the taking. Limerick then set about rebuilding their innings through the very talented Tim Smithies (30) and captain Arslan Anwar (56). 

While the required run rate was creeping up to above 7, with the two of them at the crease Limerick were very much still in the mix. Mansoor finally dismissed Smithies, rushing him into top-edging a pull shot, which brought about the 2nd collapse of the day. 

3 further runouts, including a direct hit from Mansoor to dismiss Anwar, and wickets from Nithin, Adeel Mohammad and another from  Mansoor kept Wexford with their noses ahead as they managed to keep their required run-rate above a run a ball.  

And so it came down to the final over, Limerick needing 13 to win. A 6 from the first ball of the over brought it down to 7 from 5, but a dot and a run out going for the single brought Wexford back. 6 needed from 3. 

Then 4 leg byes cruelly brought Limerick to the edge of victory. With Limerick 9 wickets down, and needing 1 run to tie and 2 runs to win, the 5th ball of the final over sailed towards Eugene Brennan at square leg. But hope turned to agony as the ball flew less than an inch above his outstretched hand and crossed the boundary. The Limerick players, fans and officials ran onto the field to celebrate.

Sean Dunk stated after the game that “It was truly a fantastic and enjoyable match to be a part of, and while it didn’t end the way we wished, we certainly put our all out on the field.”

Wexford Wanderers 2 v Tyrrelstown 3 – Saturday 

Making the trip up to Tyrrelstown the Wanderers 2nds were put into the field to start. The home teams opening batsmen struggled to match the Wexford bowlers early on. With the top five batsmen putting on a combined 40 runs.

The score of the day came from Tyrrelstown batsman Purushotham Kalle. Kalle was bowled by young star Matty Vuyk for 50 runs, the only half-century of the game. Kalle was one of four wickets for Vuyk, who took 4 for 21. Posting his best figures of the year, he was followed by his father, Steven, who himself took 2 for 13. A combined 6 for 33 came from the Vuyk household.

Other wickets came via Tony Murray (1-18), Vishnu Bartaula (1-17), and Anjith Varghese (1-22). Dhavan Shah and Stephen Hadley bowled well for no wickets.

Wexford were set 146 to win having bowled the hosts out in 38.1 overs. 

Much like the home side, the opening batsmen struggled, Hadley and Aaron Murphy put on a combined 6 runs, while number 3 batsman, and wicketkeeper, Ultan Quirke scored 9. Anjith Varghese came in at 4 and put on a well earned 32, including 6 boundaries. Varghese was the top scorer for the travelling Wanderers side. His knock along with Steven Vuyks 29 and Murrays 21 game Wexford great hope that a win might be on the cards. Especially, given the low total that they had to chase.

But unfortunately, no other batsman made it into double figures. Extras, on 25, was the third-highest contributor to the Wexford total. 

Bowled out 141 in 38.4 overs, Wexford were unable to match the total set by Tyrrelstown and pick up aother loss for the season. No doubt they will hit form with bat and ball in tandem soon. 

Wexford Wanderers 3 v Swords 4 – Saturday 

Wexford won the toss on what was turning into a beautiful day for cricket. As the wicket had a little damp in it due to the earlier rain the consensus was to insert Swords 4 to bat.

After a tight opening spell from Freddie Matfield and Eoin Sheridan-Pope in which there were several plays and misses, the opening batsmen started to settle in. The skipper decided that it was time for a change and combined the youth of  Akhil with the ‘extreme’ age of Martin Sheridan Pope.

After a couple of overs, the bowlers settled into their task with many a vociferous appeal for lbw being turned down. M. Sheridan Pope reprised the years and ran in like a gazelle and was soon rewarded with the first wicket. Akhil soon chipped in with a couple of his own.

Due to the fact that two players could not be there on the day a couple of bowlers had to be fashioned out of current resources. Young Aidan Jayne, who had only ever bowled in the nets just before the game was brought on. At this stage, the opposing skipper had settled into his task and was having some fun with the Wexford bowling. 

However, Aidan’s gentle bombs made short work of him when he danced down the wicket and missed the ball only to turn around and see his stumps plinked over. In a move of extreme optimism and complete lack of execution the skipper, Athol Henwick, brought himself on, unfortunately, he wasn’t able to pick up a wicket on his return from South Africa. 

The pick of the bowling came from the father and son duo, Martin and Eoin, who both picked up two wickets each. 

Wexford then had to chase 169 to win. 

In short, they were unable to chase down the target in their overs. Henwick stated that their score was “Not even nearly but you know what, we had great fun.” 

‘Youthful’ batsman Herbie was the only one in double digits. The third of the Sheridan Pope men, Aaron, was a star behind the wickets taking all sorts down the leg and off. Aidan looks to be a great find. Freddie  Matfield was working up some steam when bowling and Akhil was a slippery customer with his left-arm seam. Martin Pope was like a grey-haired 20-year-old and Reni was a live wire in the field. Special mention to Eric Woods who came in as a replacement at the last moment and participated with great gusto.

Henwick stated that:

“In true 3rd team ethos the result is secondary to the enjoyment that we all had on the day.”. This is the key for the Wanderers third XI. Harvesting the youth in the club and getting them ready for senior cricket for the future. Despite losses they are putting in a fantastic effort week in, week out. 

Wexford Wanderers 1 v Laois 1 – Sunday 

It was the fourth league match of the season for cricket’s highest-ranked South-East team. It was obvious from the clouds that there would be rain later in the day. So, after winning the toss Wexford chose to field, hoping that the forecast rain might work in our favour when chasing a total.

Adeel Mohammad and Sami Jan shared the new ball to start the proceedings for Wexford. The Laois openers had a good start putting up 74 run opening stand for the home team. Soon after, Adeel was able to remove their opener in the 9th over of the match. Good tight bowling from Ahmad Mansoor Oriakhail, Siblee Islam and Nithin Padmaprabhu caused the home team to lose their next 4 wickets while adding only 81 to the total in 28 overs. 

Then entered one of the all-time leading bowlers for Wexford, which remarkably his first spell of the season, Alan Murphy. Murphy and left-arm spinner Anjith Varghese controlled the run rate and sped up the game. Alan was consistently landing the ball on the same spot, finishing his spell with 1-22 from 9 overs. Back-to-back wickets restricted Laois to 209 in 45overs. It was a great comeback by Wexford after Laois had a 74 run opening stand.

During the interval, the weather wasn’t looking great, and it started raining before the Wexford innings started. Chasing 210 in 45 overs Haq Nawaz and Anjith started the innings with a solid partnership of 45 in 10 overs. It was crucial not to lose the wickets as rain kept coming. We went on and off the field due to rain and the innings was reduced to 41 overs. Anjith got bowled when he was on 22, by a ball swinging into him. Although Haq lost his batting partner, he continued to concentrate on sticking to his plan. Haq’s innings were well planned, taking singles with the odd boundary. 

Then came the unexpected entry of Siblee at number 3, who has yet to be dismissed in his last 5 innings this season. Siblee showed his calmness in his batting by rotating the strike and building a partnership. Haq got out after scoring 61 to cap off a good weekend with two good knocks. At number 4, it was the captain Nithin who came to finish things when there were only 39 required to win to reach the new target (164 D/L).

Captain Nithin stated after the game:

“On the field, there was some great fielding examples set by Adeel, Khalid Shirzada, Eugene Brennan and Ibrar Jan to stop the boundaries. There was extremely high energy within the team on the field, and everyone contributed to the team’s win. The result is that we have affected 6 runouts in the last two matches. All in all, as a team, we will continue with the same momentum and energy in the field.” 

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