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The Munster Reds travelled to Oak Hill for a much-anticipated IP20 fixture against the North West Warriors on Tuesday last, with both teams keen to come away with the points. Unfortunately the weather seemed determined to not play along, and it appeared that delays and interventions were likely to result at some stage. At the designated start time, the covers remained on the square as persistent drizzly rain and visibility was poor, with no chance of play imminent. Prior to the game, Shane Getkate was ruled out of the squad due to back spasms, so unfortunately had to sit out the match.

Umpires Kennedy and Baig were clearly keen to get the match underway as soon as possible, and when the drizzle lifted, the players were out in the middle almost immediately. The Munster Reds, having won the toss, elected to bowl. The Warriors lineup was led by Doheny and Roulston as openers, who were to make a considerable impact on proceedings.

The opening pair started in impressive fashion, Doheny dispatching the first two balls of the day to the boundary. And despite Munster Reds Captain Josh Manley ringing the changes in the bowling attack, calling on himself, McCarthy, McNicholl, Damgaard and Mike Frost, the Warriors rattled along to 85 without loss off the first ten overs. Carson McCullough made the opening breakthrough in the 11th over, with Nikolaj Damgaard taking a sharp catch to dismiss Doheny for a quick-fire 36 off 22 balls.

McCullough struck again to remove the impressive Roulston in the 12th over- but by then the opener had plundered 50 at better than a run a ball. 96/2 soon became 106/3, as the returning Liam McCarthy had Melly caught by Brandon Kruger with just 8 against his name. Carson McCullough added a third wicket to his tally with the scalp of Hilton for a duck. 115/4. His fourth wicket was Wilson, dismissed for 2. 129/5 in the 16th. The rain that had already affected proceedings returned yet again, obliging the umpires to abandon play until the clouds lifted. MacBeth had compiled an impressive score of 25* from 18 balls at the enforced break.

The considerable delay meant that the North West Warriors innings came to a close with the onset of persistent rain, after 17.3 of the 20 allotted overs had been bowled. With calculators and formulae, it was determined that the Munster Reds would face only 5 overs- the revised target being 53 runs to win. It was a case of buckle up and prepare for what would be a quick-fire reply!

The Reds reply got off to an excellent start, with Ali Frost spanking 14 runs off the first Marcello Piedt over, including a boundary and an expansive maximum. The crafty McBrine bowled himself for the second over, and had an immediate impact. Only going for 4 runs, he also claimed the scalp of Frost for 15- caught by Wilson. The forward momentum created by the Reds soon began to falter, and the third over yielded only another 4 runs in total. And whilst Damgaard clubbed a well-struck six in the fourth over off McBrine, the bowler struck back almost immediately to see off Kruger for just 4 from 9 balls. Runs required became daunting, with 22 needed of the final over.

Piedt to bowl the last. By dismissing the big-hitting Damgaard with his first ball, the game was rapidly slipping away from the Munster Reds. Despite 8 runs being scored off the following 4 balls, the bowler had the final word, with Metcalfe holing out to the Warriors Captain McBrine on the last ball of the shortened reply. It was a disappointing end to a rain-affected match, but the Munster Reds will regroup and prepare for the upcoming 50 over fixture to be played the following day. Hopefully the rain will not play a part!

-signing off from a damp and breezy Oak Hill Cricket Club!

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