The Hills v YMCA, 31 August 2021
142 for 8 139 for 9, The Hills won by 2 wickets
The Hills’ players had no time to rest on their laurels after Monday’s win at Rathmines, and they welcomed YMCA to The Vineyard on Tuesday evening. A combination of work pressures and injury meant that The Hills made four changes from the team which beat Leinster with Sameer Dutt, Athar Farooqi, Will Archer and Mark Donegan replacing Cian Nulty, Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin, Lorcan Woodhouse and Bhavesh Lakhotia.
YMCA won the toss and opted to bat first. It is a convention in 20 overs cricket that it is essential to score heavily during the 6 Power Play overs, and Rory Anders implemented this requirement to its fullest extent. In a fearsome attack on The Hills’ opening bowlers, he managed to lose 1 ball, score 2 sixes, 5 fours, have a strike rate of 194.12% and by the time his wicket was taken by Sameer Dutt, he had added 33 runs to the YMCA score. At the end of the Power Play, YMCA had scored 54 runs for the loss of 1 wicket. From the 5th over onwards, the spin twins, Sameer Dutt and Jonathan Tall managed to put a brake on the scoring rate, and YMCA wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Vipul Kashyap (24), Roy Maltby (19) and Michael O’Reilly (14) made valuable contributions to the YMCA score, and at the end of the first innings, YMCA had accumulated 139 runs for the loss of 9 wickets.
After the initial onslaught, The Hills’ bowlers retrieved lost ground, with Tomas Rooney-Murphy taking 3 wickets for 27 runs, Jonathan Tall, 2 wickets for 13 runs, Andrew Kavanagh 1 for 19, Sameer Dutt 1 for 29 and Dylan Blignaut 1 for 29. There was an appreciable improvement in the fielding, and some wonderful catches were taken, especially the catch by Tomás Rooney-Murphy to dismiss Ian Anders.
The Hills’ reply had the worst possible start, with a wicket falling to a run out on the third ball of the first over. Tomás Rooney-Murphy sacrificed his wicket when there was a mix-up between himself and Murray Commins regarding a quick single. This brought Mark Donegan to the crease, and he played some beautiful shots, but when the score was on 16, he was deceived by a quicker ball from Cillian McDonnell. There was then a stand of 36 runs between Murray Commins and Dylan Blignaut (9), but Dylan’s wicket fell to a catch behind the wicket by JJ Cassidy off the bowling of Rory Anders. Cassidy was in the act again shortly after when he effected a brilliant legside stumping to dismiss Andrew Kavanagh when only three runs had been added. There was then a stand of 51 runs between Murray Commins and Will Archer (17), but the required rate was rising all the time, and there was an element of panic setting in. Murray Commins (55) who had batted brilliantly for the third successive day was out when the score was 106; he was followed immediately by Athar Farooqi who was dismissed first ball, and Will Archer was clean bowled by Rory Anders 2 runs later. There was now a contrast in moods with the YMCA supporters euphoric, and the mood of The Hills’ supporters replicating the gathering gloom of the evening. At the start of the 17th over, 32 runs were required off 4 overs with 4 wickets in hand. The next partnership between Sameer Dutt and Sam Smyth added 5 runs when Sam having batted with great maturity was out to a catch on the boundary. With 2 overs remaining, 25 runs were required, and it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that the home team was going to come up short, but Killian Everard and Sameer did not entertain such negative thoughts. In the 19th over, Sameer hit 2 fours, 1 six and this over yielded a total of 17 runs to leave The Hills needing 8 runs to win. Killian took a single off the first ball, Sameer hit a four off the next ball, and then he hit a single. With 2 runs required off 3 balls, there was tremendous pressure on Killian, and the next ball was a dot. With great aplomb, he played a beautiful cover drive which sped to the boundary, and The Hills had won a tremendous game amid scenes of great euphoria.
Since he came to The Hills, Sameer Dutt has had very little opportunity to bat, but on Tuesday evening, he gave a brilliant display of intelligent batting and controlled striking. Murray Commins’ rich vein of form continued, and the young players made vital contributions to this win. It’s a tribute to the spirit which the captaincy of Tomás Rooney-Murphy has engendered in the team that no game is lost until the last ball has been bowled. Until next Saturday’s visit of Clontarf to The Vineyard, it’s onwards and upwards.
The members of The Hills CC have long been renowned for their thoughtfulness, and during the innings break, a cake and club tie were presented to Ray Moran to mark his forthcoming 80th birthday.