On a sunny warm evening in the wonderful surroundings of Terenure college the Archives took on the Walnuts in a return match seeking to reverse the result of a close defeat in the reverse fixture in Blackrock.
The Archives won the toss and Captain Kenny choose to bowl, a decision he later found out in the bar that the Walnuts thought played into their hands, with Kenny blissfully unaware of the late evening sun glaring into the eyes of the batsmen in the second innings…
As some Archivers were running late, Sushant who had come to cheer on the team was nearly required to take the field, but at 6:05 PM the Archives had 11 willing, and some able-bodied, players ready to take the field. On a beautifully prepared uncovered pitch the Archive bowlers were hoping to extract whatever movement the pitch could offer.
Sandeep and Walker proved a very effective opening bowling combination. With fast and accurate bowling, they immediately caused problems for the Walnuts experienced batting line up, restricting them to 9-1 off 4 overs.
Russell and Kerr were first bowling change and both continued to add to the pressure of the batting side. Kerr took a wicket, caught Russell and his fine spell was only spoiled by a rare 4 struck off his last ball from the impressive Gould, who was anchoring the Walnuts innings. Russell was bowling some beguiling deliveries and getting the maximum benefit from the uneven pitch.
Pickford was brought on next and that is when the Archives really turned the screw on an increasing shocked and rattled batting side. Extracting some inconsistent bounce for the uncovered pitch Pickford picked up 2 wickets in a fine spell that ripped the spine from the Walnuts batting. As Gould had to retire on reaching 20, the Archives were in the ascendency.
Murphy and Director Mills contributed tight overs, further restricting the scoring for the Walnuts. Murphy was particularly unhittable with the batsmen playing and missing a number of times. Mills kept up his fine bowling this season and was also very unlucky not to take a wicket. Neither bowler gave up a boundary in their four overs. At one point an exasperated Walnut roared at his startled batting partner ‘to get a move on’.
Kenny was the fortunate beneficiary of the increasing erratic pitch when a rank log hop pitched outside leg, spun prodigiously past the off stump, barely rising 2 inches from the ground.
With 4 overs to go the Walnuts had staggered to 57 for 4 and when Roberts got a wicket with the first ball of the 17th over there were murmurs from the more experienced Archivers to take it easy on our opponents. While an admirable goal at this stage of the match, it did put Roberts off his stride, as he was heard grumbling there was no guarantee that his bowling would be any worse if he tried his best or not. Kenny’s strategy of keeping Bennett back until to blow away the tail was now redundant. As it was the Walnuts finished on 82 for 5.
This seemed a modest total, but you can never judge a pitch until both sides have batted. Russell and Pickford strolled out to bat past the verdant old tree inside the boundary.
The eponymous tree
Russell departed quickly and that brought the indomitable Bennett to the crease. What followed was a batting masterclass from Bennett and Pickford. Bennett set off like a greyhound smacking two boundaries in his first two balls. They both rotated the strike with ease. Pickford was particular untroubled throughout his innings, making batting look easy on a still tricky and uneven pitch.
The Archivers on the sidelines were enjoying the fine batting and the late evening sun. The mood was further enhanced when Murphy produced a crate of beer. The lack of a bottle opener was a problem soon solved by the exceedingly strong teeth of Sandeep.
The Archivists enjoying the successful run chase with some cool beers in the evening rays
When Bennett retired with consummate ease past 20, Director Mills was next in. After a couple of strong shots, he was bowled by Whelan off another ball that deviated extravagantly on the uncovered pitch.
Walker waiting to come in
Luckily for the Archives they had a strong batting line up and Sandeep and Walker were now at the crease. Sandeep showed great respect to the Walnuts bowlers before blasting a powerful 4.
Difficult to tell whether Sandeep is in Patient mode or Bazzball mode
With Walker doggedly guarding his wicket at the other end victory came quickly and the target was chased down with four overs to spare.
After the match the players retired to the congenial surroundings of Terenure rugby club. Where the Walnuts provided some excellent sandwiches for the post-match get together. The man of match for the Archives was Pickford for his excellent all-round performance with bat and ball. Gould was man of the for the Walnuts.
A win each this season for both these fine teams seemed fitting. The spirit both teams play the game makes these fixtures a highlight of the season.
[Written by: John Kenny]