An unbeaten half-century from Ireland captain Laura Delany saw Leinster defeat a talented young Malahide side by 12-runs in a magnificent contest at Observatory Lane.
That barely scratches the surface of a game that ebbed and flowed from beginning to end as the top two in the league clashed.
Delany shared stands of 68, with Rebecca Rolfe (34), and 63, with Sophie MacMahon (35*), that seemed to have swung the match in Leinster’s favour at the halfway mark.
Malahide bowled well and restricted the opportunity for the batters to free their arms. Instead, the Leinster players placed the ball in the gaps and ran well to build their scores. Indeed, the first boundary was scored in the 18th over as Delany and MacMahon smashed 37 off the final three overs.
This explosion of runs, that saw five boundaries struck, including four from MacMahon would prove the difference at the end. Delany’s only boundary, through mid-wicket, brought up her half-century, as Leinster scored 138/2.
Amy Hunter has been in sparkling form for Malahide this season and together with captain Caoimhe McCann, they brought the visitors very close to victory in this excellent match.
Hunter (31) played conservatively and ran well, matching the Leinster players, while McCann (62) took the opportunity to display her attacking skills. Their partnership of 100 had the Leinster players second guessing themselves as they were consistently ahead of the run rate.
The turning point was a piece of sharp thinking and quick hands from wicket-keeper Isabel Saeed-Maguire. Throughout the innings she had kept the Malahide openers from batting too far out of their crease with good glove work and sharp throwing down of the stumps. In the 16th over, her timing was perfect, and Hunter could not get back in time.
Sarah Condron fell in the next over, before Maria bowled Anna Kerrison in the 18th to leave Malahide needing 24 runs off two overs. While McCann remained, there was hope but MacMahon ended her wonderful innings in the final over and Leinster had their win.
Two half-centuries, a one-hundred run partnership, good bowling and excellent fielding. This was an entertaining match on a Thursday evening in Rathmines.
Elsewhere on Thursday night, Merrion defeated YMCA by 62 runs at Claremont Road Merrion posted an impressive 158/2 off their 20 overs with Rebecca Stokell (64) and Leah Paul (52) sharing an opening stand of 132. The YMCA reply got off to the worst possible start as Gaby Lewis fell to Celeste Raack (2-4) first ball. Stokell (3-14) then backed up her batting with an equally impressive three overs as YMCA were bowled out for 96.
The third game scheduled for Thursday night between The Hills and Pembroke at Milverton saw no play.
Sprint Coatings Division 1 20-over
Leinster v Malahide, Observatory Lane, Thursday July 30th
Leinster 138/2 20 Overs (L Delany 54*, S MacMahon 35*, R Rolfe 34; A Kerrison 1-20, S Condron 1-28)
Malahide 126/4 20 Overs (C McCann 62, A Hunter 31; M Kerrison 1-20)
Leinster won by 12 runs