Balbriggan Senior First xi travelled to Sydney Parade on Saturday afternoon to face Pembroke.
Pembroke had the boys in blue in trouble with the loss of four wickets including opener Connor Fletcher, inside the first 5 overs. Reducing Balbriggan to 23/4. In stepped the man of the moment, Chris de Freitas, who was in top form once again with the bat as he scored 45 and skipper Nathan Rooney 29 helped to steady the ship as Balbriggan made 135/9 off their 20 overs.
Farooq Nasr stepped up with the ball in the first over of the second innings. With his second ball took the wicket of opener Diarmuid Tucker.
Pembroke got going putting on 63 runs for the fourth wicket, before Campbell Davies Webb broke the deadlock, removing Garth with a great catch from Andrew Darroch
Needing 15 from the last over, Andy Darroch was tasked with bowling. Conceding 12 runs, Balbriggan ran out three run winners.
In response, a magnificent 72 not out from Theo Lawson was in vain for Pembroke as the wickets were shared and they could only muster 132/7.
Rush 3rds Vs Balbriggan 3rds On Sunday Balbriggan thirds made the short trip to Kenure to play local rivals Rush thirds in their second Fingal Derby of the weekend.
Balbriggan 3’s, invited to bat by Rush suffered an early setback with the loss of Shahrukh Nawaz, soon after with the departure of Adam Tantas 21-2 off 5 looked precarious, however Niall McElearney followed on with his form from Saturday steering the side to 66-4 off nine overs with a well made 27 off 22 balls .
Skipper Chuka Uba and Roger Kear then began the acceleration taking the score to 91 before Kear departed for 15. Nobody really came to grips with the pace of the pitch as wickets began to fall rather steadily. That was except for skipper Chuka ,he dug deep defending where needed and striking some fine blows taking the score to a somewhat under par total of 142-9. Chuka remained unbeaten on 59 off only 39 balls with five fours and 4 mighty sixes in an innings where as Skipper he definitely lead from the front.
In reply Balbriggan made an early breakthrough with miserly Ifty Sabir removing the experienced Alan Butterly in the first over. Hassan Shahid then reduced Rush to 19-2 with an LBW appeal going the bowlers way. Soon after Ifty struck again in a super spell of 2-12 off his three overs. Rush however were determined , Burke 17, Iqbal 15 and Butterly 14 all made starts and kept the momentum going but no Rush player could push on as wickets fell at regular intervals.
Rush were still very much in the chase until the introduction of Brian Dunphy and skipper Uba…In an impressive spell Brian took 4 wickets for 24 runs in his 4 overs of leg spin and Uba 2 for 12 including a fantastic reaction catch caught and bowled which ended the Rush innings on 101 all out giving Balbriggan a 41 run victory.
Over the past four weeks the Balbriggan 3’s have developed as a side with a nice blend of youth and experience. The batting has delivered each weekend and the accuracy of the bowling has very much improved.
Catching and fielding still needs to be improved and this is a strong focus in the weeks ahead. With Rush beating Finglas the day before, the whole group has been thrown wide open. Both Finglas and Balbriggan have played 4 and won 3 with Balbriggan to play Finglas in a potential winner takes all fixture in two weeks time. If the fielding can improve then Balbriggan have every chance of qualifing from the group. However in the return fixture against Rush next weekend, nothing can be taken for granted.
On Saturday Balbriggan Thirds made the short trip to The Inch to play local rivals North County in what proved to be a real Fingal thriller with Balbriggan chasing down the North County total to win by 6 wickets but with only one ball to spare.
Batting first North County started with great intent racing to 20 off the first two overs before Hassan Shahid removed Arshad for 9. Stephen Crawley soon made it 37 for two but North County had already reached 38 off only four overs.. The introduction of Roger Kear 1-18 slowed the scoring and with support from Niall McElearney 1-22 , Raja 1-21 and with a return spell from Stephen 2-24 the impetus was slowed.
However the dangerous Dutta kept North County in the hunt with a well made 62 containing 6 fours and one 6 he was the major contributor as North County finally posted 154 , a challenging total but one perhaps far higher than should have been with no less than five chances being spilled and 15 extras from the bowlers.
The Balbriggan reply began well with young Cian Rooney 19 and Niall McElearney 36 adding 60 for the first wicket in 8 overs. Both players batted with confidence well beyond their years and gave Balbriggan the platform to really launch the chase.
The loss of Rooney brought Tariq Faheem to the crease and it was his arrival that really changed the game. Right from the start of his innings he put the North County bowlers to the sword. His first ball was slog swept onto the roof of the pavilion swiftly followed by three more along with 2 fours in an aggressive 42 . While Tariq was blasting away Skipper Chuka quietly went about his business in support.
The pair added 56 runs before Tariq tried the slog sweep once too often and was bowled. Raja soon followed LBW giving North County some hope with Balbriggan 120-4 needing 35 off the last four overs. Undaunted by the challenge Captain Chuka Uba 42 not out then took command supported by Roger Kear 10 not out as the target was whittled away.
The Skipper led from the front increasing the tempo striking five fours and two sixes and with two balls to go struck the winning runs with a powerfully struck four much to the delight of of the large group of Balbriggan players and supporters who had made the effort to travel and watch the game after their own matches had finished.
Their support and encouragement was much appreciated by the Balbriggan thirds players and no doubt helped them get the chase over the line as they recorded their second victory over North County in back to back weekend fixtures.
Our Fourth XI faced swords in a double header this weekend, on Saturday at home in Jack Harper Park and again on Sunday in Newbridge Demesne.
Saturday’s game saw the fourths bring an immense batting performance. Captain Martin Murphy led the charge in the early overs with a couple of cracking fours, setting the tone of the innings before falling at 22. In his first game back for the season, Haseeb Basharat certainly didn’t forget to dust off the cobwebs, smashing a stunning 71 runs against really tight bowling from Swords. His 71 including 5 massive maximums into neighbouring Hyde Park. This was well supported by Jose O’Carroll’s fine 28. As the Brig finished their 20 overs on 151/7
On Saturday, the swords batting attack were just too strong for Balbriggan in conditions that favoured batsmen, with swords putting on the required 152 runs for the loss of just 1 wicket.
Sunday’s game was a shake up from the 9 wicket loss on Saturday. A slightly changed squad travelled to Newbridge in Donabate, paired with a fabulous support on a cracking Sunday afternoon.
In the second ball of the first over, Fionn Bannister ripped through the opener for Swords with a stunning C&B, and again two balls later, bowling a beauty for Jose to catch behind, leaving the hosts 1/2 off just 0.4 overs.
Balbriggan Continued to put pressure on the Swords batsmen with Stephen Crawley, 2/11 and Aadi Wankhade, 2/10 taking a share of the wickets to reduce a strong swords side to 90 all out.
Not being complacent, Balbriggan sent out the openers to pursue the modest target of 90. After losing two early wickets, Stephen Crawley, fresh from his 98* against the Hills, steadied the ship, with a quick fire 37 runs before returning. Haseeb Basharat and Chris McMahon saw the game home being 13* and 23* respectively.
Our Fourth XI sit nicely in the cup, with two wins and two losses under their belt, they face The Hills this weekend at 5pm in Jack Harper Park as part of our double header with the Second XI.