CRICKET | Dundalk slip to narrow defeat in league opener against Longford

Leinster Cricket League Division 10 | Longford won by 25 runs

Dundalk Cricket Club’s Brolin Sunther

Dundalk Cricket Club’s Leinster League season began with a narrow defeat to Longford on an exciting day when 469 runs were scored at almost a run a ball.

The Division 10 match began with the skies clear in Dromiskin and while the day got colder and a little wetter as it went on, it did not take away from a fantastic match that was still up for grabs as the last over began.

Longford batted first and for the first 25 of their 40 overs, they were held on a tight leash by the Dundalk bowlers, led by captain Andrew Williams and backed up by the swift Regin Samuel, the crafty swing of Andrew Pike and the youthful exuberance of Abdul Moeed.

After 25 overs, Longford were four men down and still to reach 100. There were two wickets in that time for young Abdul — both caught behind by rookie wicketkeeper Michael Hughes, who settled down after a nervy start — while Aussie Pike came up with two fantastic contributions.

One was a brilliant reflex deflection to run out one of Longford’s well set openers with the first wicket bringing up 64. The second came just after the drinks break when he clean bowled the other opener.

The fifth wicket, though, just would not come and after the two Andrews and Samuel had bowled their overs, Longford went for all-out attack and it paid off, with Umar Sarfraz top-scoring with 82.

In their last 15 overs they scored at 10 runs an over and despite a brilliant Samuel run out — a direct hit from the boundary — another wicket for Abdul and two wickets in the final over for Seamus McDermott, Longford’s total of 247–8 looked daunting. After their fine start, Dundalk conceded over 40 runs in the last three overs and looked to be out of it.

The feeling grew after Pike’s early dismissal, but Jiwan Jodhani mixed patience with some excellent counter-attacking shots and his 38 gave Dundalk hope that they could at least get close to Longford’s total.

Sajan Jayaseelan played a beautiful innings and was perhaps unfortunate to be given out LBW having made a superb 63.

Dundalk still needed 115 after his dismissal, but they were ahead of Longford’s score all the way through and that continued while Regin Samuel was at the crease. He cemented his man of the match performance by adding a well-made and at times powerful 53 to his excellent bowling and fielding.

Even after the 37th of the 40 overs, Dundalk were still ahead of Longford’s score at the same stage but the dismissal of Samuel, to a quite wonderful running catch was the turning point.

Dundalk’s lower order could not quite finish the job off — with Brolin Sunther fighting hard but not quite able to get the boundaries flowing and Brent Higginbotham’s crisp shots always seeming to find a scrambling fielder.

Dundalk had a chance going into the last over but tight bowling meant they finished 25 short at 222–8.

The team can bounce back this Saturday with another home game in the league against Cabinteely, starting at 1pm.

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