There was a palpable sense of anticipation as Henry Hayes and his band of merry men travelled to Edgbaston for the first of the indoor 6-a-side matches. Seemingly the hangover from last year’s unsuccessful indoor cricket campaign appeared to hinder us and we got off to a poor start. With very little to report with regard to any stand out performances, it is with sadness that I have to say winning the toss was one of the highlights. However, Oli Thornley’s superb last over which yielded only 2 runs and a wicket after the opposition had scored 118-0 off the previous 9 overs served as a reminder that we had the ability to turn things around. In reply we kept up with the rate but wickets tumbled at regular intervals with only the Skipper Hayes offering any resistance with a hard hitting 35.
After the morale damaging loss to Aston, the team prepared to face Coventry 2nds, who were going through some vigorous warm ups. As many of us have grown accustomed to, Coventry’s coaches/physios/masseurs/video analysts/hydration technicians were a plenty – Team Phoenix were ready.
After a rather disastrous start which saw batsman’s numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 score a combined total of 3, including 3 diamond ducks, it was left to the partnership of Jonny Gonszor and Robert Clayden to steady the ship and salvage something of the innings. Clayden nudged it around in his usual handy fashion until another run out saw Gonszor left last man standing with 8 overs still to bat. After being dissuaded from teeing off by Hayes and Thornley he played one of the more memorable indoor innings to date. It was a superb effort, scoring 67 and carrying us to a respectable 92 – We were in with a sniff. The bowling was tight and the fielding was sharp. Wickets began falling at regular intervals, particularly owing to a very quick spell from Clayden who got proceedings under way with a wicket maiden (apparently high on confidence after a fine performance for UWMCCFC the previous evening). All of a sudden Coventry found themselves with their opener on last man standing, still needing 38 for victory. A mixture of good batting and good fortune meant that they went into the last over needing 8 to win. 3 followed by another 3 and the game is apparently gone. The merry men had watched the Phoenix fly out of their sights and were heading towards their 2nd loss of the day. What followed has to be one of the biggest heads-gone moments indoor (and all cricket for that matter) has ever seen. With 1 required to level the scores Hayes brought the field in. Much to the fielders’ dismay, Gonszor sent down a filthy short delivery, which the batsman inexplicably preceded to try and hit it into next week, only to see it rebound into the hands of our disbelieving captain. After a lengthy dispute over the rules of the tournament from the brigade of Coventry support staff, the umpires confirmed that Warwick had won by 1 run. The Phoenix was felled, the merry men triumphant.
High off the recent victory Hayes ordered the group to the wagon in pursuit of his preferred cuisine, a celebratory McDonalds. Sadly it was to no avail, as we couldn’t leave the ground due to barrier issues. Task back in hand, we returned to face Coventry 1sts. With the addition of opener Vivek Naker the top order fared better than in the previous 2 games, showing a steady accumulation of runs and more importantly keeping valuable wickets in hand. The skipper retired as he reached his 25, and we amassed a respectable total of 97. There was a sense of inevitability in the air as the star studded batting line up of Coventry 1sts chased the total with relative ease, with a fantastic display of batting from recent addition who took 18 off one over. The total was chased, pleasantries exchanged and we were on our way home. The bus journey provided invaluable time to chat about various aspects of our performance, and deliberate as to how we can improve for the future. Despite losing 2 and winning 1, the final loss it was much easier to take as the performance was competent and showed much promise for the future of the 2014/15 indoor campaign. Additionally, there is always the opportunity to avenge the loss to Coventry 1sts in the Varsity fixture – Bring on the pressure of Desso!