The Bank Holiday Monday saw the welcome return of cricket in Leinster. With the sun shining I made my way up to Terenure to watch the First XI take on the YMCA 1st XI in Group A of the Sports Hub Senior League Cup.

The home side were pretty much at full strength, only missing Donal Vaughan, who still it seems hasnít informed his better half not to book holidays during the cricket season. YMCA on the other hand were greatly understrength, missing their international contingent of Simi Singh and Harry Tector as well as the injured Curtis Campher. Thus, if Terenure were going to have a chance of a win, today was the day.

Prior to the start of play both teams and the officials took part in a minutes silence as a mark of respect for the late Eddie Moore, as this was the first game played by Terenure since the left arm quicks sad passing during the close season.

The ground was looking well. The recently painted benches were full of supporters from both sides, which is always a welcome sight, and the Covid Officer was kept busy throughout with a steady flow of people coming in and out, taking the numbers watching close to the one hundred allowed.

YMCA won the toss and elected to have a bat. Jack Tector and Rory Anders opened, and when Anders dispatched Zubair Khan over the ropes it looked like it was going to be a long day in the field for the Terenure team.

Thankfully it wasnít going to be a day filled with incessant noise for the crowd or the batters though, as at the request of the Munster Reds, Seamus Lynch had taken the gloves for the home team. This change in personnel behind the sticks proved of benefit to the home side, when in the 3rd over, the ball dropped in front of Anders and Tector called him through for a single. Lynch, picked the ball up cleanly, and sent the stumps flying at the non-strikers end, leaving Anders well short, and not too happy with his opening partner. In Tector's defence, in any other year it probably would have missed the stumps and run down the hill to the boundary for overthrows.

Kenny McDonald had opened the bowling from the top end, and had been bowling tidily enough, keeping things tight. Toward the end of his 2nd over, Jack Tector pushed the ball to Diarmuid Lynch at backward point. An over excited Tim Tector charged down the track from the non-strikers end looking to sneak a single. His brother sent him back. Lynch fired the ball in to McDonald and the rest was history. YMCA were 28/2 and all of a sudden in a bit of bother, all of their own making.

Jack (43) and YMs number 4 Bobby Gamble (36) steadied the ship, and soon settled the YMCA nerves, putting on 77 for the 3rd wicket at a decent rate. The partnership was pretty chanceless early on, and included a magnificent hit for 6 by Tector off Doyle that hit the scorebox. Danny Wicks then put down Gamble on 31, the first of his 3 drops off the same batter over the next two overs, either side of him catching Tector. To say he was having a mare in the field would be to put it mildly.

Bhavic Tukrel and Aidan Doyle bowled tidy spells in the middle of the YM innings. Some late hitting by Tom Anders however saw YMCA to a competitive 152/6 off their allotted overs. The bar had opened at 14.00 so I headed on in to get what would be my first Smithwicks of the year. To my disappointment, Smithwicks hadnít come in on the delivery, so I thought Iíd have to wait until next week for my first pint. Thankfully Pembroke would come to the rescue later on in the day.

Wicks and Seamus Lynch opened the batting for Terenure in reply. McDonnell and OíReilly started tightly, and as the pressure built, Lynch felt he needed to hit a big shot. He drove the 5th ball of the 2nd over cleanly, but unfortunately for both him and Terenure it went straight to Rory Anders who took a decent, if straight forward, catch at mid-off. The Terenure number 3 Cotter and Wicks then stuck around for a while, eating up valuable time for little reward, Wicks eventually being run out for 6, to complete a miserable afternoon for himself.

Donal Lynch came in at 4, and though he was going at almost a run a ball, the run rate kept rising. Meanwhile at the other end, JJ Cassidy put down Cotter behind the stumps while he was on 7, a regulation catch was put down off the same bat on the boundary rope, and Tom Anders inexplicably dropped a simple caught and bowled off the same bat which was easier to catch than drop. Whatever happened to bowlers not dropping them off themselves!

Lynch eventually went for 10, popping one up to the keeper off McDonnell making it 58/3. Eventually with the score on 63, Cotter didnít risk YM dropping him again, when he managed to chop on off OíReilly. Sharland was comprehensively bowled by Rory Anders and soon after Shankar was caught at deep mid-wicket off Thompson for 16. Late on, Khan and Tukrel brought some respectability to the score, getting the home side up over the hundred mark. OíReilly and Rory Anders had bowled particularly tightly for YM going for a combined total of 23 off 8. Impressive stuff in T20.

Following that game, I headed down to Sydney Parade where Pembroke 5th XI were taking on Terenure 3rd XI. Another ground, another excellent crowd. What a sight. The bench by the wall was packed, though one disgruntled individual entering before me refused to give either his name or number to the Covid officer, declaring heíd go to Railway instead as he walked away in a huff. One assumes he didnít get in there either.

I found a spot by the wall, and to my delight, Pembroke had no problem with their Smithwicks delivery. And for Smithwicks it didnít taste half bad. Ken ďPlatesĒ Brennan was bowling for Terenure as I settled down to enjoy the cricket. Neither side was particularly youthful, I would think a 30-year-old would have brought the average age down by a notch or two, but there was some amount of quality and experience in both sides.

Pembroke made 113, a decent enough target at that level. At 55/1 though Terenure really should have chased it down. However panic set in, and when Craig Senior managed to pluck one out of the air at backward square one handed everyone in the ground knew it would be Pembrokes day. (Itís a catch worth watching and can be found at exactly 2 hours here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aeyOISLYbw&t=6s ) The Terenure innings petered out after that, the away side finishing 10 short on 103, with the experience of Ryan, Cresswell, Senior, Smith and Mooney showing through in the end.

So, nought from two for Terenure on the day, but at least the Smithwicks tasted good in Sydney Parade.