Leinster Premier League, Saturday 28th August

A couple of midweek 20 over victories over YMCA and The Hills, compounded by a 9 wicket defeat of Malahide on Saturday, appear to have installed Merrion in the catbird seat with just one match to play.

Yesterday, Merrion welcomed Malahide to Anglesea Road and, winning the toss, they inserted their guests. It didn’t start well for the Villagers, with Alan Reynolds being castled by Max Sorensen off the 5th ball of the innings.

Reynolds’ opening partner, Arjun Muntha, was unlucky to fall just one run short of a century, caught behind by Stephen Doheny off the bowling of Tom Stanton in the 37th over. The Malahide batters worked hard against a relentless Merrion attack, but only Timcy Khabduja (43) and Jimmy Newland (26)were able to add significantly to the total and the Malahide innings closed on 227, all out. Tom Stanton, 3-27, Jack Carty, 3-46, and Amish Sidhu 2-31, led the destruction.

The Merrion response was as brutal with the bat as had been their bowling unit. Undefeated centuries for Stephen Doheny (108*) and the ever reliable John Anderson (102*) left the Malahide attack floundering. The only fly in the ointment for Merrion was the dismissal of Jack Carty (12), caught behind by Fintan McAlister off David O’Halloran’s bowling.

Merrion 230/1, beat Malahide 227/10 by 9 Wickets.

**

Merrion’s closest challengers, Pembroke, depleted by the absence of their quartet of Ireland men, succumbed to a four wicket defeat by The Hills at Sydney Parade. The Lawson brothers, Theo (74*) and Paul (26), so often the mainstay for the Foxes, fought hard as their comrades fell around them, bringing up a total of 192/8 off 50 overs. Jonathan Tall, 2-39, and Dylan Blignaut 2-43, were best with the ball for The Hills , with wickets also falling to the bowling of Andy Kavanagh, Luke Clinton, Sameer Dutt, and Tomás Rooney Murphy.

The Hills reply was led by Murray Commins (79) and Cormac McLoughlin Gavin (53). Commins fell in the 44th over, LBW to Fiachra Tucker, with The Hills needing 18 to win. It was then put up to a couple of seamers, Tomás Rooney Murphy (2*) and Cian Nulty (15*) to see their side home. Rooney Murphy kept his end warm and encouraged his young companion to do his stuff, this he did, striking 3 boundaries in the 12 balls he faced to see The Hills across the line.

Pembroke 192/8, lost to The Hills 195/6 by 4 wickets.

**

It’s been a traumatic season, in one way or another, for YMCA who made the short trip to Observatory Lane to take on Leinster CC. The home side won the toss and opted to bat. As has so often happened, Joey Carroll (100) was the backbone of the Leinster effort but aside from Dev Ranolia (19), Bilal Azhar (17,) and Saqib Bahadur (17), there wasn’t sufficient support for the centurion and the innings closed on 199/8.Tom Anders 2-32, Bobby Gamble 2-35 with one each for James Forbes, Rory Anders, and Cillian McDonnell, took the wickets for YM.

Three of YMCA’s regular scorers were forced to take Chuck Berry’s duck walk; Mitch Thompson, Tim Tector, and Rory Anders being dismissed without bothering the book-keepers. YM were, of course, without Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, and Simi Singh on Ireland duty. However, undeterred by these snags, Bobby Gamble (54), Tom Anders (51), Andrew Blair White (40*) and Vipul Kashyap (33*) stuck to their task and saw their side home in the 49th over.

Leinster 199/8 lost to YMCA 203/6 by 4 wickets.

**

In the Park, Phoenix entertained Clontarf, hoping to open their account with a first win in the Premier. Clontarf won the toss and elected to bat but only 2 of their top 7 batters managed to muster double figures; PJ Moor (19), and Andrew Vincent (14). With their visitors struggling on 78/7, Phoenix hearts must have been lifted; enter John McNally (102) whose century off 98 balls put ‘tarf firmly back in the game.

David Vincent added 30 more and Clontarf finished 239 all out. Theo Dempsey’s 4-35, was the highlight of the Phoenix bowling attack, along with Stephen Moreton 2-17 and Aaron Cawley 2-48.

The Firebirds’ reply was something less than incendiary, only three of their batsmen managing to get into double figures, Tyrone Kane (19), Amish Rana (19) and Jamie Grassi (16). Those 3 got precious little support and the fire of the Phoenix burned out, 113/10.

Phoenix 113/10 lost to Clontarf 239/10 by 126 runs.

**

In the coming week there are three midweek replays;

Leinster vs The Hills on Monday.

The Hills play YMCA on Tuesday.

Clontarf play Leinster on Thursday.

The final round of the League will be on Saturday September 4th; The Hills vs Clontarf. Merrion vs Pembroke. Malahide vs YMCA. And Leinster vs Phoenix.

The results of these matches will determine which two sides will play off for the Premier League title, as well as which side will be relegated to the Championship.