So far, our analyses of Leinster club's preformance over the 21st century has revealed clubs going up and down, through cycles of boom and bust, but with a continuing improvement. Pembroke's recent history shows that gradual improvement, but with a rather startling depression from 2005-2010. This article will look at the reasons behind that bust, and the ensuing improvement to become the 5th ranked team on the island at the end of the 2016 season
Merrion's win over Waringstown in last September's Irish Senior Cup final was the 13th time in the last sixteen seasons that the competition's winner has come from Leinster, and the countdown to the 2017 season has now started, with Cricket Ireland announcing the draw for the first round.
Clontarf 1 dominated Division 1 in 2016, losing three matches, but never being really threatened. It was their 13th Senior League/Division 1 title, and the third time they had won back to back titles, after 1991/92 and 1995/96. There were a few changes in personnel from the 2015 title winning team, but nothing major, and the new players slotted in well. It was a simple formula - pile up a stack of runs, which was easy with some of the province's top players, and strength in depth. And then let loose a well balanced bowling attack.
As this column has bored everyone repeatedly for the last few years, Division 3 has lost its interest for the neutral. With the top three clubs turning down promotion year after year, and with rumours coming from the OCC last year that 2nd teams would not be accepted anyway, Division 3 has become stale. I appreciate that it may not feel like that for the teams involved, but for the neutral that is how it seems.
It's difficult to find a bad word to say about Knockharley at the moment. The ground has come on enormously under the control of Ralph Condie (picking up the awards for best ground in Division 5-16 category at the recent Cricket Leinster dinner), the club's youth set up continues to develop, and most of all the 1st team is climbing the league ladder at an alarming rate.