The final of the Buakit Premier League this weekend is between Merrion and Pembroke after both teams managed to progress into the final through contrasting routes. Merrion finished the initial group stage of the competition on top, but Pembroke managed to beat this weekend’s rivals only a couple of weeks ago. This will ensure it will be a fascinating clash between two very well matched sides.
Starting off with Merrion, who have had an excellent year at first team level this year. They won the T20 competition earlier this year against YMCA and will now be looking to complete an excellent double for their side. The hallmark of this team has been their settled squad, which has required little to no tinkering throughout the majority of the season. Under captain Tom Stanton, they have had a team which is equally effective with both bat and ball.
In the 50 over campaign this year, it has been the success from the top of the order that has given them a brilliant base in the majority of their fixtures. The opening pairing of Jack Carty and Stephen Doheny has proved to be fruitful, while John Anderson has been in typically brilliant form this year at number three. They have depth to their batting as well, with the likes of Max Sorenson, Michael Lewis, Dom Joyce and Grant Glutz all providing useful runs in the middle and late order.
Their bowling has also been the catalyst for some of their wins also, especially in the T20 refixed games that have been dotted around during recent weeks. The spin bowling has been particularly impressive, and Tom Stanton leads a three strong left arm spin attack which has left many teams in difficulties. Amish Sidhu has led the attack all season and his control and guile is well matched by Stanton, and young Daniel Forkin. They have all taken important wickets throughout this competition and could well be to the forefront this weekend with Pembroke’s pitches usually being spin friendly.
For Pembroke, it has been a topsy turvy few weeks in the Buakit Premier League, where they looked in poll position for qualifying for this final before a mid competition wobble. However, they managed to recover and close fought victories against Merrion and YMCA got them into this final. Like Merrion, they have only lost the one game so far in this season, with a tie against Clontarf being the only other dropping of points.
This has been an outstanding season for this side, who has relied mostly without the services of their international players. Lorcan Tucker and Barry McCarthy made brief impacts in the few games they played - but overall, it has been other players that have come to the table in their absence. Most notably with the bat has been Theo Lawson, who without his inspiring innings with the bat, they wouldn’t have got over the line against either Merrion or YMCA. Lawson comes into this final in rich form and will be the key batter for Pembroke.
The bowling has been shared around with plenty of options bowling well in tough circumstances. Joe Prendergast has done an excellent job opening the bowling for this side, stepping into the void of a seamer with the new ball. He has taken crucial wickets, including three against Merrion when these sides met before. There have also been crucial wickets for the spin of Gavin Hoey - who has had a breakthrough all-round season, which ultimately earned him a deserved call up to the Leinster Lightning. Impressive spells from Scott Ruttle and Paul Lawson have also been very important for this side - who are very spin heavy in their bowling line up.
This should be an excellent final with play due to commence at 11.30 am at Sydney Parade.