The IBI Corporate Finance Leinster Senior League Cup has passed the halfway mark and the latest tables are set out below.
The rankings speak for themselves and certainly based on last year’s final league placing Balbriggan and Phoenix are in strong positions to achieve Premier League cricket at the expense of, most likely, North County, Clontarf or YMCA. However, nothing is decided and a run of wins or losses for all but the two current section leaders could alter things.
So what is so different about this year, beyond the obvious that it is a new season and games between clubs have different outcomes. One thing that is perhaps worth focussing on is the changed makeup of the various teams.
I have the impression that there is more player turnover at the top levels of Leinster Open Competitions today than in the past. In this I may just be betraying a false memory of a time when the 1st XIs of what were then known as Senior Clubs did not change much year on year. But what do the statistics say - at least about the modern era.
Focussing solely on the first match of the season one can get a snapshot, nothing more, of how individual teams have changed over the past few years. We looked at how many players who turned out in 2019 took part in the equivalent matches in 2018, 2015 and in 2012. The turnover of players, in the short term for certain clubs and over a longer period for others, is quite considerable. Of course there are many reasons for this. First of all it is a snapshot and someone might simply have missed the first match [this year after all we started in the Easter weekend] but is still a regular on the side. Over the period younger players will have come into the teams and older ones retired. Some players will have moved country or given up the sport. A few will have changed clubs.
Given all the possible reasons for player volatility you may or may not be surprised by the figures. At the same time it should at least give pause for thought about how prepared clubs are when it comes to ensuring that they have a steady flow of young players coming through the ranks. And faced with the turnover of players, does this mean that there will be greater reliance on non-domestic players in the future. A back of the envelope calculation of the teams produced in the first outing by clubs [excluding Dublin University] this year suggests that around 46% of those playing learnt their cricket outside of Leinster.
Later in the year we will look more closely at player movements between clubs and on the numbers progressing from youth cricket to the open and 'senior' ranks. But for the moment one might note that of 32 players who received club debuts this year in the Senior League Cup [just looking at the first match for each club], 27 were not brought up through the youth structures in Leinster.