IT WAS first blood to the South in the Development inter-provincial at Wallace Park yesterday - and it got very messy.
Chasing an imposing 180 for victory in their 20 overs, the North XI collapsed from 70 for two to 84 all out in the space of 34 balls as Rory Anders and the South’s eighth bowler, Pembroke skipper Fiachra Tucker, helped themselves to four wickets apiece.
Only Ross Adair batted with any authority for the hosts and although Ryan Hunter was second top scorer, his 19 runs came off 30 balls and put the pressure on Adair so much that he holed out to long-off just before half-way.
After his dismissal and with 120 still needed from the final 10 overs, Hunter was forced to up the tempo and he was duly caught on the long-on boundary from Tucker’s fourth ball.
The leg spinner then weaved his spell through a series of hapless batsmen and with Anders’ pace operating from the other end it proved an unplayable combination.
In contrast, the North bowlers were mauled from the start, mainly by the in-form Seamus Lynch from Terenure, the second highest run scorer in Leinster this season, and former Glamorgan batsman Jeremy Lawlor. They scored 69 off the first seven overs with Lynch taking a particular liking to Matthew Foster whom he hit for successive fours and a six before Lawlor finished the seven-ball over with another huge maximum.
Captain Shane Getkate, the one contracted Ireland player in the two sides, brought himself on and made the breakthrough in his first over, but Lynch had already smashed 43 off 21 balls with five fours and two sixes.
Although Jacob Mulder had Lawlor caught at long-on and bowled Doheny, who was attempting a reverse sweep, there was to be no respite as Greg Ford plundered 54 off 34 balls, with one of his four sixes clearing the Cecil Walker pavilion.
With Tim Tector, the class act at the Ireland Under-17 intra-squad games this week, more than keeping an end up at the higher level, the unbroken fourth wicket stand added 47 from the last 19 balls.
The North side was reduced by one with the injured Conor Olphert not involved but the extra man really didn’t make a difference. The bowling was more accurate and the strength in depth at Doheny’s disposal was impressive.
Getkate was bamboozled by Ben White’s leg spin in the third over and despite conceding only six runs in his two overs was never seen again.
The North knew they needed a fast start from Adair and it was all very promising when he greeted Anders with a four and a powerful square cut six. But he added only five more boundaries before he perished to the other leg spinner, YMCA’s Mitchell Thompson.
Hunter had already been dropped, on five, at deep mid-wicket – he hit the ball so hard that the batsmen didn’t even manage a single – and perhaps that was the reason that caution took over and he was content to take singles after that, although it made no impression on the escalating run-rate required.
Tucker may have ended his struggles but it only started the North’s. Namesake James Hunter followed in Tucker’s next over, and Anders then dismissed CJ van der Walt and Kyle Magee in successive balls. Mulder avoided the hat-trick and hit the only boundary in the second half of the innings but a wicket in every over thereafter hurried the game to a conclusion.
The teams meet again in Malahide on Monday afternoon and although the North players have so much more to prove, their hosts also know they have more to give.