Phoenix on the rise at Carrickfergus expense
David Holmes (News Letter)
Carrickfergus is the place to go if you want runs - unfortunately, on Saturday most of them were flying off Phoenix bats.
Home confidence was high, buoyed by two fighting victories in the league campaign as they turned attentions to the Irish Senior Cup.
Anthony Martin bowled effectively with the new ball, picking up the experienced Reinhardt Strydom and Ian Anders.
Rory Anders (41 off 62 balls) and Phoenix skipper Nic Pretorius regrouped.
Pretorius fell one short of what would have been a deserved half-century, caught by Daniel Poulton giving Stephen Grant the sixth bowler used by Carrick his second wicket.
In the next over - the 33rd - Adam Chester (26) was clean bowled by Jamie Holmes.
At 145-5, the Carrick faithful scented blood but we were not prepared for the carnage that was to ensue.
Ari Keravalis and Tom Anders added 131 in exactly 15 overs, with Anders’ contribution 38. Keravalis’ innings can only be described as power, savagery and brutality combined.
He had made 89 off 46 balls after six fours and seven sixes, when Pat Botha clung on to a stunning return catch. This was in the “catch it or wear it” category - umpire Brian Boyd looked delighted it was the former!
Had a relatively simple chance in the deep early in Keravalis innings been taken, I fancy this would have been Carrick’s for the taking, as it was, Anders went on to 50 from 52 balls and the visitors posted 312-8.
Carrick needed a sound base, Phoenix showed what was possible with 167 coming off the last 17 overs. But Carrick’s top-order batting, with the notable exception of Iain Parkhill, had a collective bad day at the office.
With Rory Anders unable to bowl, the new ball was taken by brother Tom and Keravalis. The latter looked impressively sharp, but it was the wicket-to-wicket approach of Anders that did the damage, firstly, Michael Gilmour bowled and then Holmes caught.
Much rested on skipper Pat Botha and Daniel Poulton. With the wicket showing signs of wear, leg spinner Ben White was getting bounce with appreciable turn and Botha chopped on.
Off spinner Gordy Millar (4-36), although not a first-eleven regular, bowled with control - Poulton offering a return catch just after he had been put down and then the experienced Ryan Eagleson stumped by Pretorius, who had an immaculate day behind the timber.
At 99-7 it was about respectability, Ashwin Shetty with a maiden 50 and Parkhill who carried his bat for 59 provided that, the final margin 131 runs.