Clontarf vs Malahide
Clontarf will face Malahide in one of the most compelling matches of the round with both sides looking to secure
Clontarf will have been disappointed to come out on the losing end of a five wicket defeat to Merrion in a rain affected game last weekend. That was down to a poor effort with the bat in hand, especially given that Robert Forrest had blasted 21 from just 8 deliveries at the top of the order.
After a brief collapse, it was the runs from the young pair of John McNally and David Vincent that managed to get them off to a total that might have been able to be defended. However, it wasn’t quite enough for the bowlers to defend, and they will have been disappointed with that performance.
There were quite clearly some positives to take from the bowling effort, with Fionn Hand taking 3-22 from his spell, but it is perhaps the rhythm that Mick Granger is bowling with at the moment that would cause a great deal of optimism for this Clontarf side.
Malahide have been in brilliant form in this competition and now sit with a record of 3 wins from 3 games after a last gasp victory against Phoenix last weekend. Jimmy Newland was the hero that day, as his six off the last ball sparked wild celebrations in the Malahide camp.
There were also welcome runs for their captain, Fintan McAllister, who scored a vital 63 in the run chase, when they had gotten off to a shaky start at the top of the order. He was ably supported by Ali Frost, who played a good second fiddle in tricky circumstances.
The bowling of Mike Frost has been very impressive thus far this season and he has been one of the tightest bowlers in the division at the moment and he leads what is a very strong bowling unit.
KEY BATTLE: Fionn Hand vs Ali Frost
Leinster vs The Hills
Leinster suffered another defeat at the hands of Pembroke last weekend, which leaves them in an unpromising position in the table at the moment and they could badly do with a win in their next few fixtures.
It was a great sight to see Joey Carroll back in great form with the ball last weekend, with a fantastic spell of 4-17 which saw him take some crucial top order wickets. He has a very good record against Pembroke with the ball in hand in recent years and it is good to see him back bowling. There were also three good wickets for Ranolia with his slow left arm.
However, the batting for Leinster has been their clear achilles heel so far this year and it is the problem between them winning and losing games at the moment. Joey Carroll was 26* when they were taken off for rain, but apart from that there have been too few batting contributions.
The Hills will have been disappointed to have had to come off just three overs before the conclusion of their game against YMCA last weekend. The Hills looked like they were on top in this game and could have been on the cusp of victory.
There was a welcome return to form for Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin, who scored an excellent 75 with a wide array of shots. There were also handy contributions from both Andy Kavanagh and Dylan Blignaut with the bat in hand.
With the ball, it has been Cian Nulty who has impressed many with some really fiery spells and bowling at good pace. His first over against YMCA yielded the key wickets of Tim Tector and Bobby Gamble, and looked constantly threatening throughout his spell. He will be hopeful of taking advantage of the usually helpful assistance of the Rathmines pitches on Saturday to perform well with the ball in hand.
KEY BATTLE: Joey Carroll vs Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin
Phoenix vs Merrion
Phoenix host Merrion on Saturday and are in desperate need of a victory after two defeats last weekend to Malahide and YMCA respectively. The Malahide defeat was quite unfortunate, but they were comprehensively beaten by YMCA on Sunday, and must bounce back very quickly.
They have been buoyed in recent weeks by the runs of George Dockrell with the bat, but he might not be available this weekend, which would be a massive loss for them. That would put more pressure on Tyrone Kane, who has only recently returned after injury and is currently playing as a batter within this side.
They have more concerns as Aaron Cawley was unable to bowl his full compliment against YMCA and it will be interesting to see whether he can be back to full fitness for this weekend. He is a key member of this Phoenix side as he leads the attack to great effect, so it will be important for the Munster Reds man to be playing.
Merrion had a good win against Clontarf, chasing down their target with five wickets to spare. That has put them in a good position in the league table at the moment and will be looking to add another win to further boost their chances of progressing to a final at the end of the year.
Their win against Clontarf was put together by a superb performance with the ball in hand. Amish Sidhu took 4-11 with the ball and has been the leader of this attack for a few seasons now. There were also very useful contributions from Tom Stanton and Max Neville, who both took three wickets apiece.
Their batting just had to do the job but it was probably a good sight to see two middle order members of the side in Niranjan Shankar and Sean Stanton - providing the necessary runs. They have a very strong side overall and will be tough to beat in this competition, when playing to their best.
KEY BATTLE: Tyrone Kane vs Tom Stanton
Pembroke vs YMCA
In the final game of the BuaKit Premier League this weekend, Pembroke will host YMCA in a clash between two Sandymount sides, in our featured game of the day.
Pembroke are coming into this off the back of a comprehensive win against Leinster last weekend. They were led by Lorcan Tucker with the bat, who has been in imperious form since his return to club cricket. However, like Dockrell for Phoenix, he might not be available this weekend as he prepares for the upcoming Irish series, and that will also apply for Barry McCarthy and the other Irish internationals for Pembroke.
The spin attack of Pembroke is still as potent as ever and they are a very good bowling line-up to squeeze an opposition in the run chase. They regularly try to post runs on the scoreboard and then to let that pressure effect wickets in the second innings. Paul Lawson has been bowling with the new ball at times, while Gavin Hoey and Scott Ruttle have also provided key wickets in recent weeks.
As for YMCA, they were quite fortuitous to get out of The Hills with no result as they looked up against it when bad light intervened. However, their performance against Phoenix on Sunday was a complete performance of the highest quality.
They posted a massive 374-2 from their 50 overs, with a maiden senior ton for Mitchell Thompson leading the way, alongside brilliant contributions from Harry and Jack Tector and Curtis Campher. This left them in a very strong position going into the run chase, where Jamie Forbes and Rory Anders took wickets in a resounding win.
However, they will have to do without both Harry Tector and Campher for this clash, and will be more reliant on the efforts of Bobby Gamble and the Anders brothers, who all hold very key attributes for this side. With the side becoming more settled in recent weeks, they may have an upset in them.
KEY BATTLE: Fiachra Tucker vs Mitchell Thompson