Malahide vs Pembroke
The first action from this week’s Buakit Premier League comes from the Village in Malahide, where the home side will be hosting Pembroke in an early top of the table clash. These two sides both have excellent 50 over teams, and it will be a very interesting game between the two sides.
Malahide come into this clash with a record of 2 from 2 in this competition after a comfortable four wicket victory over Leinster last week. It was an excellent effort with the ball from Malahide, with wickets for Jimmy Newland and Keith Reynolds. However, it was the tight ten over spell of Mike Frost, who took 1-22 from his ten overs, that put the most pressure on the Leinster line up. That led Malahide to restricting Leinster to 192, and they completed the run chase with a minimum of fuss. There were runs for Ali Frost, who made a half-century, alongside runs for Alan Reynolds at the top of the order.
Pembroke played out an exciting tied match against Clontarf in the gloom at Sydney Parade. Pembroke were buoyed by the return of Irish wicket-keeper, Lorcan Tucker, last weekend and he top scored for them with an excellent 84*. There were also runs for Theo Lawson and Diarmaid Tucker as they posted a decent score.
At the moment, the Pembroke pace attack looks a little bare and Joe Prendergast did a good job filling in with the new ball in hand last week. It will be interesting to see whether they have the services of either Barry McCarthy or Josh Little available to them this weekend to bolster what is already a very strong spin attack.
Both these teams have started this competition well so it will be hard to know who will come out on top, but it should be an excellent game.
KEY BATTLE: Mike Frost vs Lorcan Tucker
Clontarf vs Leinster
Clontarf were the other side involved in that dramatic tied game at Sydney Parade and they play host to Leinster, who are still looking for their first victory in this competition this year.
Clontarf look set for a good campaign in this format and did well in the circumstances against Pembroke, when successfully getting to a tie despite batting in fading light and on a turning pitch. The run chase went to prove just how important Eoghan Delany is to this Clontarf side, as his middle order runs will prove invaluable for them throughout the season. There were also runs at the top of the order for PJ Moor, who can be very destructive to opening attacks when he is in the mood.
The bowling for Clontarf also looks strong and there were two wickets apiece for Mick Granger and Fionn Hand last week. These two added to David Delany give the Clontarf attack plenty of pace and plenty of wicket taking options.
Leinster put in a spirited effort against Malahide but fell short by four wickets on this occasion. There was a half century from JP O’Dwyer in the middle order, while Jack Salter played well for his 33 at the top of the innings. However, it is the batting that is currently letting them down, and they will be hoping that players can put their hands up in the coming weeks for big innings.
The Leinster bowling unit has been excellent so far this year and put in a decent effort to defend a below par 192. There were wickets for Aviral Shukla with his off-spin, while there were some very tight spells from plenty of the other bowling options.
Clontarf are favourites coming into this clash, but Leinster will be sensing an upset.
KEY BATTLE: Eoghan Delany vs Saqib Bahadur
The Hills vs Merrion
The Hills came out on top in a tight finish against Phoenix last weekend with a gripping one wicket victory. They host Merrion, who’s game against YMCA ended up with a No Result, in what should be a very competitive game in the Vineyard.
The Hills were indebted to Dylan Blignaut last week, with his excellent 37* leading them to the narrowest of victories. This was a crucial win for the Hills, and potentially might serve as a welcome booster of morale for the Skerries side. There had been a solid base set from Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin, but The Hills are another side who have been a little bit short of the mark with the bat so far this year.
They are another team that have excelled with the ball and their efforts to keep Phoenix to 132 all out were excellent. It was led by Tomas Rooney Murphy who took three wickets, but was ably backed up by wickets for the young duo of Killian McGrane and Cian Nulty.
For Merrion, they started excellently with a hundred run opening partnership between Jack Carty and Stephen Doheny against YMCA. Those two could well be a very potent opening pair for Merrion, and with a middle order consisting of John Anderson, Michael Lewis and Dom Joyce will look very imposing to the majority of sides.
They also have been boosted by the return of Max Neville to the side. The fast bowler, and former Ireland U19 bowler, has bowled with great distinction this summer for Trinity and now returns to Merrion to open their attack. This adds a different layer to an already stacked bowling side.
This could well be a close clash between these two sides with The Hills having picked up momentum last week.
KEY BATTLE: Dylan Blignaut vs Stephen Doheny