The 5th XI took the field against Merrion 7 with 6 players aged 17 and under. The investment in youth reaped immediate rewards when Merrion went in to bat. Oliver Manks (2 for 16) made the breakthrough in an impressive spell of fast bowling into a strong headwind. His fellow opener Sarvjeet Singh bowled with pace and intelligence to take 1 for 16. Merrion's middle order found James Dickinson's off-spin virtually unplayable. His six-over spell of 1 for 13 included 3 maidens. Sean Condron took 1 for 15 on his debut and Aaron Doyle wrapped up the Merrion innings with 2 for 11. With such competition, it's a real tribute to say that Danny O'Brien stood out. In his eight overs, in which he bowled both into and with the wind, he took three wickets for just 19 runs.
The fielding was near perfect. Brian Thornes lead by example behind the stumps and took a superb diving catch where first slip. Oliver Jeffrey-Carrick caught a rocket of a square cut at point to stun batsman and fielders alike. Two further catches were nonchalantly pocketed by Graeme Tarbox. The tight bowling and exemplary fielding put such pressure on Merrion that they were bowled out for 107 in the 36th over.
Resuming after tea, Malahide lost an early wicket, but that only made matters worse for Merrion as it brought Aaron Doyle to the crease. His 62 not out was remarkable not only for his domination of the bowling, but for his maturity in building a match-winning innings and his awareness of where the game rested at critical moments. Useful partnerships with Oliver Manks, Eric Lacey and, at the end, Sarvjeet allowed Aaron to lead us to a 6-wicket win.
Today it felt like we'd reaped the rewards for a lot of hard effort during the season and for giving youth a chance.
Thanks to Robert Dickinson for scoring and to Zoe D and Robbie Condron for supporting.