In the Leinster Womens Senior [D1] Cup played at Rathmines, Merrion defeated Leinster by five wickets. It was a tightly contested match between two well matched sides. With some key players missing on both sides it was also an opportunity for a number of young players to take part in a major final.
Leinster won the toss and batted first and had to face an all spin attack [all but one over bowled by Merrion was spin] with all the pace taken off the ball. This encouraged Leinster to embark on an all out attack with 23 runs coming off the first three overs. But crucially they lost their first wicket, Eimear Richardson caught trying to hit over the top off Julianne Morrissey. Elaine Tice produced perhaps the best ball of the day to bowl the Leinster captain Laura Delaney in the fourth over.
Leinster moved on more carefully to 43 before the introduction of Melissa Scott Hayward resulted in the dismissal of Alice Donnelly for 15, which proved to be the top score of the innings [other than a generous 27 extras]. Morrissey then took two more wickets. The introduction of Blathnaid Breslin, however, proved to be decisive and her four overs of slow off-break bowling produced the best figures of the day – 4/14.
In the end Leinster might well have been out for around 100 were it not for a last wicket partnership between Anna Kerrison and Aoife McDonnell that brought the final score to 116 off 22.3 overs.
When Merrion went in to bat they also lost an early wicket when Blathnaid Breslin was unable to continue her form with the ball and was out to Suzanne Kenealy in the first over. But from that point on Merrion were on top with Melissa Scott Hayward playing the one outstanding innings of the evening and with two ‘40’ run partnerships with Rachel Delaney and Ann Golden brought Merrion to within five runs of victory before she was finally run out in the 22nd over for 64.
It was left to Merrion’s captain on the night Julianne Morrissey to steer the team home and score the final runs.
Looking back on the match Leinster may feel that they should have made more runs against the Merrion attack but their aggressive batting provided a number of catches that the Merrion fielders were happy to accept. The Merrion ground fielding was excellent with Kate McKenna and Ruby Neville, in particular, cutting off runs on the square boundaries, well supported by Hannah McKay behind the stumps.
Leinster 116/10 off 22.3 overs.
Batting: A Donnelly 15, L Delaney, 13, H Ridgeway 13, A Kenealy 12 and V Gee 11. Bowling: B Breslin 4/14, J Morrissey 3/32, M Scott Hayward 2/27, E Tice 1/25
Merrion 116/5 off 22.2 overs.