On Saturday I headed down to Rathmines to the Senior League Cup Group A game between YMCA and Leinster. It wasnít that I was following YMCA around, Iím just quite lazy and Observatory Lane is the closest ground to my home.

The game while technically a home game for YMCA, was taking place in Rathmines due to the ongoing issues with Claremont Road. Letís hope these issues can be resolved soon and we will see cricket back in Claremont Road in the near future.

On arriving at the ground, I bypassed the YMCA warm ups, headed for the far end of the ground and set myself up at the Mount Pleasant Avenue end next to the John Buckley Gate. (A lovely tribute to an absolute gentleman).

Leinster had won the toss and elected to bat. YMCA were unchanged from the previous weeks win over Terenure, with none of their international trio being able to return, while Leinster saw the welcome return of Joey Carroll, who came in for Tristen de Beer following their defeat to Rush last week.

At 12.55, Saqib Bahadur and former YMCA player Aviral Shukla strolled enthusiastically to the crease, clearly keen to get started. McDonnell and OíReilly opened the bowling for YMCA, bowling excellent lines and after 2 overs had restricted Leinster to 1/0 with Shukla in particular struggling to get the ball off the square.

The pressure of playing against his old teammates, the static scorecard and some excellent early bowling were clearly getting to Shukla when he set off for a suicidal run after pushing it to backward square after the 1st ball of the 3rd over. YM managed to mess up the run out, but Shuklas reprieve didnít do him much good, when he was tidily stumped by JJ Cassidy off Cillian McDonnell next ball. With 0 from 12 balls, the dismissal was probably a relief for both himself and his team.

First ball of the next over Bahadur, who had now been joined by Joey Carroll at the crease, flicked it to mid-wicket off OíReilly where a tidy catch was taken by Bobby Gamble.

Devender Ranolia strolled to the crease next. He seemed nervous, jumpy in fact, and had to be sent back numerous times by Carroll when looking for runs that were not there. The Anders brothers had by now replaced McDonnell and OíReilly, but there had been no let up from YMCA with both bowling excellently. What did become noticeable however was that a couple of balls were popping slightly, and a couple were staying slightly low. This was quite a difficult track to score runs on.

There was no let up for Leinster. Things were tough and after 9 overs they were only on 26 with just one boundary having been scored. Most importantly however they were only 2 down still.

Thompson came on to bowl the 10th. He was unlucky not to get Carroll 2nd ball, but when he dropped the 4th of the over short, Carroll dispatched him over square leg in to the gardens for 6.

In the 11th Ranolia thinking he was playing Division 16, thought it was advisable to start questioning the umpire regarding wide balls. Probably not the most advisable thing to do. He followed this up by almost decapitating the same umpire, driving the ball straight for 4 off the last ball of the over.

Gamble came on to bowl the 12th, getting the key wicket of Carroll first ball for 17, who pushed it straight back to him in the air, for as easy a caught and bowled as youíre going to get.

12 runs came off OíReillys next, as Ranolia and Salter looked to up the pace. However, when Salter went for LBW to Gamble first ball of the 13th, and Ranolia ran himself out 3rd ball having made 28, pushing it to mid off and attempting to run to Rory Anders, it looked as if the wheels were about to completely come off the Leinster innings.

Andrew Tonge went next, bowled by Tom Anders. He was soon followed by Hardus Venter, LBW, playing a particularly ugly shot, with the finger going up before the appeal had reached the w of How, making it 71/7.

Former Knockharley and Merrion player, Ross Shivmangal (9), Mark Tonge (19), who was having a love in with the fine leg boundary, and Bilal Azhar (6) however hit a few late runs, Tonge being run out off the last ball attempting to bring the hundred up.

So, 99 All Out, and a target of 100, it was. Not enough youíd think, even with the quite tricky pitch. When, Jack Tector smashed the first ball of the YMCA innings for 4 through point off Azhar the signs were ominous for Leinster. When Conaty went for 13 off the 2nd, Rory Anders hitting 2 delightful 4s, Leinster were in danger of being put out of the game very quickly. They needed to shake things up, and this they did by taking the pace off the ball.

Bahadur and Ranolia were brought on. Both struggled with their length early on, with Tector hitting consecutive 4s off Ranolia and Anders a 6 over mid-wicket off Bahadur, but Leinster correctly persisted with them.

At 48/0 off 6 Leinster had almost given up, but Tector (28) gave them a glimmer of hope, getting himself stumped off the 1st ball of the 7th over off Bahadur. When Anders (18) was bowled 4 balls later by Bahadur, who all of a sudden had it on a string, Leinster saw an opening.

Confidence up, Ranolia too found his line and length, and 3rd ball in to the next over he bowled the out of form Tim Tector who hadnít looked at all comfortable for 0 making it 49/3. Thompson was bowled in the 10th over, attempting to play to leg, off Ranolia making it 56/4. YM were still in the driving seat, but all of a sudden it was game on.

Marty Block had by now positioned himself near me. There are very few things more pleasurable than hearing Marty talk cricket in a tone that wouldnít be out of place on TMS. Iím surprised Heatley Tector hasnít had a word to get him on his live broadcasts, heíd be a super addition.

With Bahadur and Ranolia both bowled out, the question was what had Leinster got left? They had 3 from Azhar. Could they go back to Conaty? They had Mark Tonge. But most important they had Shukla.

First ball from Shukla, Gamble attempted to hit him over the top and was duly caught by Azhar on the ring. Tom Anders edged the next ball through slip, and Shukla had his line and length, and more importantly his confidence back after his batting nightmare. Azhar came back on at the other end and he too had now found his line and length. Runs were coming very hard to come by.

Anders was caught at short 3rd man by Conaty off Shukla in the 13th. It was 59/6. Blair White joined Cassidy at the crease now, had the odds turned in Leinsters favour? They had by the time Cassidy was run out in the 16th over for 3 off 15 balls, after an awful mix up off a no ball that saw Cassidy attempting one that went straight to Ross Shivmangal at mid-off.

Ian Anders played across the line and was bowled by Mark Tonge who had started his spell impressively. When Shukla bowled OíReilly off the last ball of the 17th over, and the last ball of his fine spell YM were 69/9 and the game was almost done. Shukla had himself 3/8 off 4 having bowled a flawless spell. It goes to show what someone can do when given the opportunity. Maybe others that find themselves behind an unmovable top 6 should look at similar moves.

McDonnell and Blair White battled on for another over or two, but the result was inevitable. Azhar dismissed McDonnell in the 19th over, leaving YMCA 73 all out and 26 runs short. It was a remarkable comeback by Leinster, and one they should be very proud of. To show such spirit to remain in the game was highly commendable and for their bowling unit to bowl so tightly was remarkable.

For YMCA, the lesson here was definitely, you donít learn to win games never getting a chance at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. They somehow need to find a way for Ian Anders, Mitchell Thompson and the likes to get a bat more regularly.