Leinster Senior League Cup. Round 4 June 26th, 2021

Starting from this week with Section D where we had two remarkable matches on Saturday, each in its own way; North County welcomed Phoenix to the Inch where they proceeded to inflict a fairly brutal six wicket defeat on a severely depleted Firebirds side.

Phoenix have suffered as much as, if not more than, any other club through the calls on their star players to provincial teams; Leinster Lightning have George Dockrell and Jamie Grassi, while Munster Reds have claimed Tyrone Kane, Aaron Cawley, and Theo Dempsey.

To add insult to injury their captain Adam Chester is serving a suspension for an indiscretion in an earlier match. Indeed, the Phoenix selectors found themselves trawling to field a competitive side and felt it necessary to include the Ireland Women’s seamer, Lara Maritz in their team.

For the record, Lara didn’t disgrace herself in any way, bowling two overs, taking the wicket of Jonathan Andrews and conceding 17 runs. All in all not a bad outcome, considering her second over was bowled to a couple of former Ireland players, John Mooney (6*) and Eddie Richardson (27*).

Earlier the visitors had been bowled out for 62. Player coach, and stand-in captain, Stephen Moreton (35) provided the bulk of the score.

It took County until the twelfth over to achieve their target, 63/4. After the match, Stephen Moreton expressed his disappointment with what he feels is the lack of empathy shown by Cricket Ireland towards the clubs who are being stripped of their best players. He felt that the national and provincial organisations might have consulted with the grassroots regarding the Inter Provincial tournaments.

The other match in Section D was the visit to College Park by The Hills 97/6. The Skerries side were determined to avenge last week’s setback when the students taught them a lesson. The Trinity, 96/5, side batted first and, yet again, the former Hills wicket keeper, Nic Pretorius (45) was the scorer in chief as the home team posted 96/5 in their allotted overs.

When I spoke with John Mooney earlier in the day he reminded me that North County had struggled to a narrow victory on what could only be described as an indifferent outfield, scoring 101. The Hills, who were without Murray Commins, with Munster Reds, and Levon Shields, injured, lost a couple of wickets early but a steady innings by Mark Donegan (43) held things together until the last ball of the 19th over. saw him caught by Danny Hogan off the bowling of Sam Streek with the score at 88/5.

Will Archer scrambled a remarkable four and the scores were tied with one ball remaining. Luke Clinton swung and missed and the ball by-passed the Trinity wicket keeper, the match was won with a bye off the last ball, a 4 wicket win for The Hills.

Special word of praise for Conor Hoey who reached a remarkable milestone, claiming his 300th wicket for the University club.

In Section C, Balbriggan sprang a surprise on a Pembroke side, also seriously depleted, winning by 3 runs. Balbriggan, driven mainly by Chris de Freitas (45) and Nathan Rooney (29) put together a total of 135/9. There were 2 wickets each for Ryan Hopkins, Paul Lawson, Scott Ruttle, and JJ Garth.

A fighting innings by the always competitive Theo Lawson (72) aided by Garth (27) appeared to have Pembroke on course but they came up 3 runs short 132/7.

There is little information to hand on the other fixture in this group between North Kildare and Merrion, with runs for Michael Lewis and four wickets for Tom Stanton helping the Anglesea Road side to a comfortable win.

In Group B, Railway Union, 153/3 beat Clontarf 107/6 by 7 wickets. Hashir Sultan (57) and Kenny Carroll (41) did most of the damage while Conor Kelly’s 1/17 was the best of ‘tarf’s bowlers.

The Clontarf reply was led by Andrew Vincent (27*) and Eoghan Delaney (25). Fakhar Zaman with 2 for 11 was the best of the Railway bowlers.

Malahide, 140/8, overcame their recent downturn with a 32 run win over Cork County, 108/10. Alan Reynolds (41) and Callum Riches (31) carried the heaviest part of the load for the Villagers, as Nabeel Anjum with 3 for 13 kept the Cork side interested.

For the southerners, Ross Durrity (27) and Rudolph Pollard (22) worked hard in a losing chase, with Riches completing a fine all-round day by taking four wickets.

Finally in Group A, Rush,88/10, were yet another team to feel the loss of their stars as they fell to 4 wicket defeat by YMCA, 90/6. Ehtesham Ahmed (25) and Asher Abassi (21) topped the home batting but with Cillian McDonnel and Bobby Gamble each taking three wickets for 12 they were always running uphill.

The YM reply was hard-fought trench warfare, Jarred Barnes bowling threatened to bring them down as he claimed four scalps for just 15 runs, but Tom Anders (32) and Devenish Singh (18) provided a backbone for an unfamiliar looking YMCA outfit, who were, of course, also deprived of their leaders.