The second weekend in May saw DUCC facing Dublin YMCA on Saturday 9th in College Park and Phoenix in "The other Park" on Sunday 10th. YM had not only finished an impressive 2nd to Pembroke in 1969 but had augmented their resources by persuading Denny Leng across the city from Phoenix. Not as strong as they were to become throughout the 1970s Phoenix still had experience aplenty in their line up in both batting and bowling. Trinity knew that they were to face a couple of difficult challenges in these games.

DUCC had to make 2 changes to what seemed to be their regular XI. I cannot recall why Philip Nixon was not available on the Saturday but, unsurprisingly, can explain my own absence. My one and only sibling Patricia was getting married in Belfast. There isn't much photographic evidence to verify my attendance but I can assure you I was there. I can also point out that writing this "series" should at least guarantee that I remember that Saturday 9th May will be Patricia and Geoffrey's 50th Anniversary.

Back to College Park and skipper Halliday won the toss again and with Duncan Parkes (DUHC Captain in 1970-1971) and John Ogilby (also better known as a Hockey exponent) replacing the "absent ones" DUCC set out to try to post a challenging target. As you will see the 2 "stand-ins" made notable contributions in this game; alas neither has survived to enjoy the compliments that their efforts deserve. Dennis Leng took the early wicket of Silverstone but McKenna and Bryce advanced the score to 41 albeit quite slowly. Bryce continued his fine start to the season reaching exactly 50 before being 5th out. However Barney (16) had been run out-between the wickets with "Maggie" often carried a bit of unwanted excitement.

From a reasonably healthy 71 for 2 (Hart Cox 10) DUCC subsided to 104 for 7 and had only got there thanks to Duncan Parkes (17). When he became Leng's 3rd wicket (and Frank Sowman's 2nd caught behind) skipper Halliday was joined by Frankland. He soon succumbed to Pat Hade bowled for 5 and DUCC, at 117 for 8, were in big trouble. John Ogilby, the stand-in for Chris Harte behind the stumps then produced an amazing 2 not out! Meanwhile Mike Halliday played the innings of all "captain's innings"! His 48 included 7 singles, 13 twos, 1 three and 3 boundaries; the partnership with Ogilby was worth 44 and the total now a healthy 161 for 9 at declaration. Trinity had occupied all of 62 overs and, as it worked out, YM would have 42 to chase their goal.

The visitors would have hoped for a solid start but it was not to be. Frankland's first over was a maiden and McCarey, despite nursing a damaged finger, then bowled Peter Murphy for a duck. Richard Beamish and Freddie Brady took the score to 39 (in 14 overs) only for Frankland to bowl Brady and Ian Lewis (Alan's father) in the space of 3 balls. At this point John Ridgeway who had earlier bowled 17 overs (1 for 32) came in at number 5 to play arguably the best innings against DUCC all season. A fine striker of the ball his 84 included a six (off Frankland) and 11 fours before, with the "winning post" in sight he was bowled by Halliday.

Trinity's attack was somewhat hampered with McCarey's injury and he only managed 9 overs. John Frankland somehow contrived to bowl unchanged throughout the innings and exerted enough control to keep the run rate just beyond YM's reach. Between his 11th and 15th overs he only conceded 3 runs and his last two cost a mere single apiece. A flurry of run outs followed Ridgeway's departure at 144 for 6 and, in the end YM were 4 runs short with 8 wickets down.

  • DUCC 161 for 9 dec M. Bryce 50, M. Halliday 48; D. Leng 19-3-47-4.
  • Dublin YMCA 158 for 8 J. Ridgeway 84, R. Beamish 29; J. Frankland 21-5-61-4.

An early morning departure from Belfast in my trusty A 40 meant that I arrived in The Phoenix Park in plenty of time, and with a desire for knowledge. I was completely unaware as to how the YM game had gone! Soon it became apparent that it had been drawn, the most important fact being that we remained unbeaten. That philosophy may have affected our approach to this match although our slow scoring (batting first once again) owed much to the tight control of John Wills (24 overs 4 for 58) and Alistair Conan (22 overs 2 for 59). It is also true that Trinity contrived to lose (at least) one wicket every time they seemed to be getting in to a sound position!

Barney got us underway with a boundary and a 2 in Brian Freer's 1st over but he fell (12) to the same bowler at the start of the 7th. When Silverstone followed at 21 for 2 it was up to the in-form Bryce and Cox to improve matters. This they did adding 57 for the 3rd wicket in just under an hour before Bryce (37) was run out. Hart Cox went on to reach 42 (featuring 7 boundaries) but just when he looked to open up he too was run out-no blame to apportion here as I was his partner! Thereafter, and either side of Tea, another 51 runs were garnered thanks mainly to a scratchy 23 from CCJ and three late fours from John Frankland.

As with the YM match enough time had been used up to make the run chase tight for time. Also, as on Saturday, DUCC were to bowl 42 overs, the main difference being that Simon Hewson, Mike Halliday and Maggie Bryce contributed 17 of them partly in an attempt to lure Phoenix into losing wickets in the pursuit. Understandably Frankland was a bit leg-weary but Ronnie McCarey more than compensated, dodgy finger or not! He began Maiden, Maiden, 1 run, Maiden and then had D R Pigot caught by Hewson from the firstt ball of the 10th over. When he later trapped the obdurate J.R. West LBW (21) the score was 44 for 2 off 20 overs.

The remaining 22 overs produced 100 runs but neither the rate of scoring nor, especially, of taking wickets really threatened a positive outcome. Gerry Murphy reached a fine half century before becoming the first of Halliday's 2 victims and he added 61 with Eamon Mullan in just 32 minutes for the 3rd wicket. In the end both sides seemed largely content with a draw but for DUCC the weekend represented a reality check without ambition being seriously damaged.

  • DUCC 158 for 9 dec H. Cox 42, M. Bryce 37; J. Wills 24-6-58-4.
  • Phoenix 144 for 5 G. Murphy 51, E. Mullan 32; R. McCarey 11-5-14-2.