Open Championship stats
Leading all time run scorer (2011-2019) - Lynal Janseon (Rush) - 3121 runs @ 48.02
Most runs in a Championship season - Lynal Jansen (Rush) - 911 runs (2013)
Highest score - Robin Kelly - 219 - Pembroke 1 vs Rush 1 - Kenure - 5 Jun 2012
Leading all time wicket taker (2011-2019) - Lynal Jansen (Rush) - 111 wkts @ 19.61
Most wickets in a Championship season - Stephanus Grobler (Cork County) - 32 wkts (2016)
Best bowling - Malcolm Byrne - 7-16 - The Hills 2 vs Old Belvedere 1 - The Vineyard - 22 May 2011
Most matches - Shahid Iqbal (Rush) (2011-18) - 93
Team of the YearBatsmen: Eoghan Delany (Clontarf) (Prem (2015, 2016)), Jack Webster (Terenure), Robert Forrest (Clontarf) (Prem (2015)), Kenny Carroll (Railway Union) (Prem (2014, 2016)), Jamie Grassi (North County) (Prem (2016, 2017)) Wicketkeeper: Mick Cotter (Terenure) (Div 9 (2014)) Bowlers: Chad Laycock (Railway Union), Sameer Dutt (Clontarf) (Div 3 (2015)), Yassar Cook (North County), Eddie Richardson (North County) (Prem (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)), Clinton Hinchliffe (Balbriggan)
Review In the Open Competitions Championship, 28 games were played, and 2 matches were rained off Runs per wicket for all teams - 24.11 Runs per over for all teams - 4.82 - Division Competitiveness 74%
Clontarf 1 - Champions - (Pos in league - 9 (2018 - 2)) - Batting Rating 165 - Bowling Rating 133 - RpO for 5.49 - RpO against 4.21 - Youth %age (by appearances) 5.1% - Average age of team 28.3
After the shock of Clontarf's poor start to the season (leading to their early departure from the Senior League Cup), and then a loss in the first Championship match at home to North County, many were wondering if Clontarf were in serious trouble. But normal order was soon returned, and they won their last eight matches to top the league with ease, ensuring a return to the Premier League. That run was pretty much entirely down to the amazing form of two batsmen, who both make the Team of the Year. Eoghan Delany batted eight times, with scores of 101*, 15, 90, 16*, 132*, 2, 18* and 106 for an incredible total of 480 runs at 120. And although it is easy to fall into the trap of saying, "of course one of the best batsmen in the province would score loads of runs in the Championship", there were many occasions when Delaney came to the crease with the match in the balance. For example, against Railway, Tarf were soon 24-2, before Delaney's 132* took them to 255. Robert Forrest's record would normally be enough to be a team's best, with 381 runs at 54.43 including four 50s in the eight innings, making his first TotY since the 2015 Premier League. The only other player to get to 200 runs was overseas player Macalister Wright with 227 runs at 32.43. The bowling lacked the dominance of Delaney or Forrest, but it was still the strongest attack in the division by far. Sameer Dutt makes his first Team of the Year since Division 3 in 2015 with 12 wickets at 12.33. Kevin Prior took 10 wickets at 25.80 and Shariful Islam took 10 at 16.30. The one worry remains Clontarf being the oldest team in the division. However at 28.3, that is a long way below that of 31.6 in 2018 and they are going in the right direction.
North County 1 - 2nd - (Pos in league - 10 (2018 - 3)) - Batting Rating 103 - Bowling Rating 114 - RpO for 4.96 - RpO against 4.21 - Youth %age (by appearances) 10.1% - Average age of team 23.2
Ultimately, North County would have needed to reverse all three of their losses in order to grab the first place they needed to return to the Premier League. The 9 wicket loss to Clontarf is difficult to quibble over though, and therefore, even if they had reversed the narrow losses to Railway Union and Terenure in late June, they would probably still have come up short. Five players deserve honourable mentions, and followers of Leinster cricket shouldn't really be surprised by any of them. Who the best cricketer in Leinster in the last decade is a decent argument to get lost in on a dark winter's evening. But you'd be hard pushed to find a better candidate than Eddie Richardson. The decade brought more senior wickets for him than anyone else - 273 at 16.89 (Paul Lawson finished next with 211 at 21.91). On top of that, he finished 8th on the batting list with 4093 runs at 36.54. 2019 probably wasn't a vintage year, but 19 wickets at 13.63 easily got him on to the Team of the Year. North County's overseas couldn't have done much better with bat or ball, scoring 437 at 72.83 and 13 wickets at 13.15 with the third TotY member being Jamie Grassi who had a welcome return to form after 2018 with 308 runs at 44. Niall McGovern has blossomed since 2016, scoring 1144 senior runs at 26 in that time, and provided backbone to County again this year with 247 at 27.44. The final member of our quintet is a player who would be a decent outside bet to be the leading wicket taker of the 2020s. Graham was still playing 3rd team cricket towards the back end of 2019, although he showed his promise making the 2018 Division 3 Team of the Year. He started the 2019 season with 6-20 for the 2nds against Malahide, and finished it with an extraordinary 7-20 in the final game of the season against Balbriggan to finish with 16 wickets at 15.75. It was the best senior return of the season, and the sixth best of the decade. YMCA's Jack Tector was only 15 when he took the decade's best figures with 8-40 in 2012, but Graham isn't too far behind at 17. That match was a real hum-dinger, as North County collapsed from 69-1 to 104 all out thanks to Farooq Nasr's 6-19. Balbriggan were blown away at 13-6 before Duane Harper and Kashif Ali added 46 for the 7th wicket. It was left to Graham to take two wickets in two balls to seal the win.
Balbriggan 1 - 3rd - (Pos in league - 11 (2018 - 12)) - Batting Rating 119 - Bowling Rating 102 - RpO for 4.93 - RpO against 4.94 - Youth %age (by appearances) 6.1% - Average age of team 26.1
To describe 2019 as a breakthrough season may be a bit much, but after five consecutive seasons in which they finished in 12th place, five wins was enough to lift them to 11th place overall. There is a big psychological difference between 12th and 11th, the difference between mid-table and just missing out on runners-up spot. Two players stand out for Balbriggan, with overseas player Clinton Hinchliffe being the one to make Team of the Year. 308 runs at 44 and 18 wickets at 15.56 was a pretty decent performance, and with the bowling especially. Only North County's Eddie Richardson took more wickets, with the pick of his bowling being 6-30 in the away win to Terenure. Farooq Nasr has another impressive season but it feels even better than his two previous Balbriggan seasons in 2017 and 2018. Although 2017 saw more wickets and 2018 saw more runs, 2019 saw him putting everything together, becoming a real leader within the team. He scored 216 runs at 30.86 and 16 wickets at 18.56, including the team's best bowling of the league - 6-19 in the same match against North County that Owen Graham took seven. Conor Fletcher took a small step back in his third season with the club, scoring 259 runs at 28.78 and two debutants had decent starts - Josh Newport with 14 wickets at 23.5 and Dean Carlisle with 206 runs at 41.2.
Terenure 1 - 4th - (Pos in league - 12 (2018 - 15)) - Batting Rating 88 - Bowling Rating 92 - RpO for 4.52 - RpO against 5.37 - Youth %age (by appearances) 25.5% - Average age of team 26.1
There must be a huge amount of satisfaction in Terenure this Christmas, with the team finishing higher in the league than they have in any season since 2014. Overseas player Jack Webster dominated but that is not to take away from many Terenure born and bred players who contributed at vital times of the year. Webster's 572 runs at 57.2 was by far the highest in the league this year, and his 841 runs in all Senior cricket for the club in 2019 was the highest we have on record for the club - of all time, beating Andre Botha's 759 in 2011. One other player made Team of the Year - Mick Cotter being the wicketkeeper with most dismissals with 17. His biggest contribution to the season was probably with the bat though. Away to North County, he scored his maiden Senior fifty (51*) as that and a Jack Webster 106 took Terenure yet another win in Inch. Remarkably in the three matches that Terenure have played in the top two Divisions in North County, they have won them all. As far as we can tell, in not a single season in Kenneth McDonald's long and illustrious career as he taken as many wickets as he did in 2019. Even better, he was the team's leading wicket taker with 13 at 20.77. He was supported by Mark Thomas with 11 at 21.27 and 18 year old Patrick Ryan who took 11 at 31. And the Terenure role of honour is completed by 17 year old Séamus Lynch who scored 214 runs at 23.78, making it consecutive seasons with more than 200 senior runs.
Railway Union 1 - 5th - (Pos in league - 13 (2018 - 11)) - Batting Rating 77 - Bowling Rating 91 - RpO for 4.65 - RpO against 5.12 - Youth %age (by appearances) 22.7% - Average age of team 24.2
There's no other way to describe Railway Union 1's 2019 apart from disappointing. They also finished in 13th place in 2017, but that year they had Dublin University ahead of them (who played in the Senior League Cup this year). The batting was the weakest of the six teams competing, with the problem not really being the quality at the top, but the lack of depth. Kenny Carroll is named on his third Team of the Year (and his first since the 2016 Premier League) with 295 runs at 49.17. Across the decade, Carroll scored more than twice as many Senior runs as the next Railway player (4333 at 38.69 as opposed to Mohammad Tariq's 2056 at 20.98). Only John Anderson, Simi Singh, Bill Coghlan and Theo Lawson were above him across the province. The second member of the Team of the Year is Chad Laycock who came from Glenwood High on Cricket Leinster's South African exchange program. Laycock took 12 wickets at 11.67 as well as handy 154 runs at 25.67. But that was it. An absence of a Jack Webster type overseas player was apparent and hopefully Railway Union have better luck on this front in 2020.
Cork County 1 - 6th - (Pos in league - 14 (2018 - 13)) - Batting Rating 79 - Bowling Rating 79 - RpO for 4.37 - RpO against 4.95 - Youth %age (by appearances) 4.0% - Average age of team 27.0
They won their first and last matches - both at home, but between that they had a run of seven matches, including all their away games when victories alluded them. It takes Cork County 1 back to a level they were last at in 2012/2013. Individual performances were not surprisingly thin on the ground. Jeremy Benton continues to lead from the front, and his record of 276 runs at 34.50 was top again. The only other substantial run scorer was Cormac Hassett who has his best ever season with 206 runs at 22.89. Brandon Kruger took 13 wickets at 26.23 in his debut season, and that old war horse Abubaker Saddique took 11 wickets at 17.55, the fifth year in the last six that he has got to 10 Senior wickets. Over the decade as a whole, Morne Bauer was Cork County's leading wicket taker with 82 wickets at 27.95 and leading run scorer was Stepahnus Grobler with 1909 runs at 42.42