This evening sees the LHK Insurance Alan Murray Cup group stages come to a climax as the remaining 5 fixtures are played out across Groups A, C & D.
Kicking off with last night’s action in Group B, wins for North County and Merrion saw them finish tied on points at the top of the table, however with the game between the two sides a ‘No Result’ due to rain, net run rate was the order of the day to see which side would qualify, Merrion were chasing 101 and dispatched the runs in just 6.4 overs to give their run rate a healthy boost, however North County’s 62 run thumping of local rivals Balbriggan saw them do just enough to secure top spot on the tie-breaker.
RAILWAY UNION VS ADAMSTOWN
Group A has already seen Clontarf confirm top-spot, however the final game in that group for the season sees Adamstown visit Park Avenue to take on Railway Union. The away side have had a tough first campaign in the competition, having been beaten comprehensively by both Malahide and Clontarf in their opening two games, and will be up against some familiar faces this evening. Adamstown’s star man Prabhanshu Kamal has spent the last few seasons playing at Railway Union, whilst former Adamstown men Hamza Maan and Kashif Shah find themselves regular members of the Railway Union side over the past number of games this season. Philippe le Roux captains Railway this evening in place of Liam McCarthy and Kenny Carroll who are both unavailable, whilst Ross Wynne once again deputises for Ciaran Divney behind the stumps. For Adamstown, Lucky Sharma is a powerful hitter who comes into the side today whilst Pomin Ponselvan and Prabhanshu Kamal will be important players with the ball.
KEY BATTLE: Philippe le Roux vs Prabhanshu Kamal
PHOENIX VS YMCA
Group C unfortunately sees two dead rubber games taking place, with the first of those coming from the Phoenix Park where YMCA are the visitors to the side who have already qualified at the top of the group thanks to the head-to-head rule. The home side will be without the services of Adam Chester and Theo Dempsey, whilst Oliver Hald is on international duty with Denmark and Tyrone Kane is representing the Munster Reds, meaning they are without their three main seam-bowlers for this contest. The batting unit will need to stand up as a result, and Nicolaas Pretorius is one of the better ball-strikers around who will no doubt enjoy the t20 format, along with Louis McDonough, Stephen Black and Will Bennett, they will be the men charged with putting together a decent score this evening to allow their back-up bowlers a chance to defend. YMCA have their own brilliant ball-striker at the top of the order in Rory Anders, and he is the man who sets the tone for their side, whilst Simi Singh is due to make an appearance this evening which adds even more quality to the line-up, the touch and stroke play of Jack and Tim Tector may not appear suited to the shortest format, but the pair still tend to do their scoring quite quickly and between those four players at the top of the order, ought to have plenty of talent on show to cause Phoenix some problems.
KEY BATTLE: Nicolaas Pretorius vs Simi Singh
TERENURE VS LEINSTER
The other game in Group C is the Dublin 6 Derby, as Leinster visit Terenure in the two side’s first meeting of the season. Leinster enter this game off the back of three wins in their last four fixtures and have several players in good form, Ben Mitchell and Joey Carroll have been in the runs and wickets and both are powerful ball-strikers who will be suited to the shortest form of the game. Bilal Azhar will be a key man with the new ball whilst the spin of Saqib Bahadur will be important to have a chance of keeping the game tight in the middle overs. Bahadur will be another man hoping to impress with the bat, whilst lower-order hitters Tristen de Beer and Peter Masterson have both been boundary-heavy in their contributions this season. Terenure have been in similarly good form, winning their last four games on the bounce, in no small part down to the form of their star opening batter Séamus Lynch, who has amassed 263 runs in those games, remarkably needing to run just 19 of them. Henry Dall and Dónal Lynch will occupy the other positions in the top three and having made the bulk of the runs between them last time out will be aiming to do so again this week. With the ball, Raghav Grover, Mark Thomas, Zubair Khan and Dylan Cleary make up a very strong seam attack who will be hopeful of putting on another good show after their excellent performance against YMCA last week.
KEY BATTLE: Mark Thomas vs Ben Mitchell
THE HILLS VS RUSH
Group D sees a winner-take-all game between The Hills and Rush in The Vineyard, with the top spot in the group set to be the prize for the side which emerges victorious. The Hills have a very powerful 3/4/5 combo in their 50 over side, and that trio of Mark Donegan, Dylan Blignaut and Levon Shields will be key to the batting efforts of the home side in this game, whilst with the ball, skipper Tomas Rooney-Murphy, Blignaut and Ashley Bain will be the key seamers, with back-up in the form of spinners Athar Farooqi and Jonathan Tall. For the visitors, Neil Rock and Llew Johnson are the key men as usual with the bat, their style of batting being ideally suited to the shortest form of the game, with support coming from Jack McGee and big hitting Jarred Barnes, they will be desperate for one of Rock or Johnson to get in and going to give them a chance of building a big score. With the ball, Barnes will be supported by Asher Abbasi and Daniel Coffey, with Andrew Doheny coming into the side to add another seam option, Brandon Morris and Jack McGee will remain the spin options in the side in a game where it’s almost certain to come down to which spinners can keep which batters under control the best.
KEY BATTLE: Jonathan Tall vs Neil Rock
PEMBROKE VS NORTH KILDARE
Finally in Group D, Pembroke are captained by JJ Garth for their tie with North Kildare, he leads an inexperienced but talented side into this fixture where several players will be looking to put their hand up and perform with a big few weeks coming up for the home side. Sanil Gupta, Diarmaid Tucker and Rob Kelly provide powerful boundary hitting ability in the batting stakes for the home side, whilst David Cosgrave and skipper Garth will be the other men looked to for runs. Joe Prendergast returns from injury to the line-up and he will be a seam bowling option alongside Piyush Sharma, whilst leg-spinner Arshad Safi is given a chance to show his skills in the 1st team alongside left-arm spinner Donncha Tucker who has established himself in the side as a strong performer this season. North Kildare will be looking for runs from their main man Kaustab Pawar to put up a score whilst he will now find support from the returning Monil Patel, the North Kildare spinners, Manjeet Singh and Imran ul-Haq have been in good form in recent weeks, but will face a much sterner task against this Pembroke batting line-up this evening.
KEY BATTLE: Donncha Tucker vs Kaustab Pawar