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The Blanche Rutland Memorial Match | Monday 27th May 2024 | Oyster Oval | Spa | Kerry.

MCC XI vs Co. Kerry CC XI

The MCC brought a strong squad to the Oyster Oval at Spa for the Blanche Rutland Memorial Match, on Monday 27th May. But in spite of a squad that included Peter Chase, a former Irish international seam bowler and two more players with experience in the Ireland-A set-up: David Delaney and Gavin Hoey, County Kerry CC provided the visitors with a serious contest.

MCC batted first and their top order looked in great form and complete control. Gavin Hoey (46) was the first to fall with the score on 62, bringing David Delaney, (better known for his zippy bowling) to the crease at number 3. He and Finlay Yates put on another confident partnership to take the score past the 100 mark, before Kerry checked the flow of runs taking 3 wickets with the score still on 105. However Patrick Tice (42) and Rory Betley were unfazed and built a superb century partnership for the 5th wicket.

Betley top scored with a brilliant 86 which included nine 4s and five 6s. With the score on 221 for 5, it looked like the MCC might run rampant. But the tail failed to wag, both Usman Sherzad who finished with 3 for 37 and Braden Warnke(4 for 58) kept the pressure on as Kerry bowled the visitors out for 269 with an over to spare.

Although Kerry lost opener Awais Saghir cheaply in the third over, Monil Patel forged partnerships; first with Braden Warnkeand then with Ajith Thanathan, both of whom added 17 valuable runs. Ajith clearly relished hitting David Delaney for a huge straight six, but it was the Dublin speedster who had the last laugh when he powered through Ajiths defences just a few balls later to leave his stumps in total disarray. But it was Monils outstanding innings of 77, including eight 4s and five 6s, which formed the backbone of the Kerry reply and ultimately earned him the Player Of The Match award.

Kerry never quite kept up with the run rate, though Imran Pathan(35) smacked three 4s and three 6s before being dismissed off the bowling of Peter Chase. And though wickets kept falling, Farrukh Hussain launched a rear-guard action that briefly threatened to cause an upset, nonchalantly smoking four 6s and two boundary 4s to rack up 34 off a mere 12 deliveries faced. But when he became Chase’s third victim it was pretty much game set and match.

Like Peter Chase, Gavin Hoey also picked up three wickets while David Delaney finished with 2 for 58. In the end, Kerry’s margin of loss was just 26 runs, a far more competitive match than it looked on paper at the start of the day.

Marylebone Cricket Club was the original holder of the Laws of Cricket, formerly cricket’s global HQ. That function is now performed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and the MCC is tasked with promoting global development. And there’s no denying, they really are very active all across the globe. Wherever they go, MCC always bring friendship and take great pride in promoting the Spirit Of Cricket. They joined wholeheartedly in the tributes to Blanche Rutland, to whose memory this match was dedicated. Known to dozens of Kerry players as ‘Nan’, Blanche was scorer, tea-lady, guide, mentor and disciplinarian, a central pillar of the club, she is sorely missed. The weather was also on best behaviour, indeed the sun shone brightly as the visitors decided to refresh themselves after the match by hopping over the white fence at the sea end of the ground tore ward themselves with a dip in Tralee Bay!

Congratulations to everyone involved. Great match, great spirit, great occasion!

-Ed note: Many thanks to Mick Jones for his report, and to Val Lerigo-Jones for the fantastic images.

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