Leinster claimed their second win of the U19 County Shield in Malvern against Buckinghamshire yesterday in what turned out to be another low scoring game.
Winning the toss Bucks asked Leinster to bat first on the same pitch which they had chased 101 the previous day. Today's opening stand lasted a mere 6 balls as Una Raymond-Hoey fell to the off spin of Manktelow in the first over. Clodagh Conway joined Malahides Ciara Murphy and the two had added only 16 before Murphy was cleaned bowled by the pacey L Sandy in the 8th over.
With the score on 16-2 it was either a sudden injection of pace or dig in time. We got both, Grieve provided the caution and patience while the 15 year old Sophie MacMahon picked up the rate adding 9 runs from her 12 balls faced, and in the context of the game so far this was positively blistering !
The 6th and 7th batters were Clara Pryor and Alison Smith, but neither managed to stay long and added only 3 between them as Bucks produced two bits of good work by way of a direct hit run out and a stumping to send them back. The Captains elder sister Niamh Conway was next to join Grieve and over the next 6 overs they added 33 runs as the score got closer to the all important 3 figures.
Conway was bowle with the board on 93 in the 31st over. Rebecca Branagan was next in but couldn't reproduce the ability shown on Monday to occupy the crease and was caught at cover after just 2 balls. Grieve had tho moved the score on past 100 and was now not out 41. Hannah McKay followed Conway and with Boycot-esqe solidity she blocked solidly everything in an attempt to see the overs out. Her gutsy display netted her 5 runs from 18 balls, she was eventually run out however turning for a second - so keen was she to get the strike back and continue the challenge versus the bowlers.
The Hills' Rhiannon Pope was last in and played a lovely off drive which gave hope that she could stay with Grieve (who now had Raymond-Hoey as her runner) and help get to her 50 but 2 balls latter she was bowled. Grieve was stranded on 44 not out but a very defendable 125 was on the board.
The defence started well with the score on 4 in the 4th over Conway castled Verrokin-Jones for 3. Bucks then adopted a similar tactic to that shown by Leinster in their chase yesterday - knuckle down and wait for the bad ball. Leinster however were not in a mood to provide to many bad balls and what ensued was a tense battle as Bucks scraped to pick up anything that offered width or lack of length.
Leinster squeezed hard in the ring and attacked with catchers in front of and behind the bat. Come the half way point Bucks were 6 down but with almost half the required total achieved. Still at the crease was the impressive looking Villiers-Smith, the tall right hander had added 15 and looked very comfortable with clips of her pads and drives through the covers.
Conway then produced her second inspired bowling change of the game by bring back Branagan - the flight and change of pace did her with the first ball providing a simple caught and bowled chance. Branagan then disappeeared beneath a huddle of jubilant Leinster players ! With that wicket the nerves settled and the remaining batters looked less likely to be able to knock the runs off and patience was all that was required. Then the tension rose again as Bucks closed in on 100 runs with 8 down.
Then the news filtered through at the 34th over drinks break that the Buckinghamshire 11th player had left the ground due to illness. So with renewed vigour the Leinster girls re-started knowing now only 1 more wicket was required and just 2 overs later Hannah McKay got her hands under a bottom edge - the umpires then consulted (for an age) to decide if the ball was up and eventually give it. Phew ! Day 3 brings the Shield Final v Somerset who despatched Durham with ease yesterday. A tough game awaits.