Merrion qualified for the Sports Hub Leinster Senior League Cup final with a 10-run victory over North County at a sun-baked Anglesea Road on Sunday afternoon.
Early intent and runs from Michael Lewis (35), followed up by an explosive 31 off 16 from Max Sorensen late on pushed Merrion to 133/8 off their 20 overs.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, both Lewis and Jack Carty (15) played beautiful cover drives to register their first boundaries of the day.
After they departed, North County took out the experienced Merrion middle order cheaply. Cian Mulvanney bowled Dom Joyce with a full toss and had John Anderson caught at short fine leg. This, after Abdul Ghaffar had deflected an Anderson drive onto the stumps to run out Ed Joyce for just 5 at the non-striker’s end.
All this brought Sorensen to the middle, and he set about upping the tempo immediately. His power was clear to see as he struck two massive straight sixes. The entertainment was cut short by another experienced player, as Eddie Richardson (3-14) brought himself back into the attack to remove him at the beginning of the 18th over.
This curtailed the Merrion total, and they would have felt they were 15/20 short at half-time having posted 133/8.
North County would have hoped for one big partnership to get them up to the required total, but Hugh Kennedy had other ideas for the home side. Bowling his four overs straight through, Kennedy removed the top three inside the powerplay and his four overs went for just 14 runs.
Jonno Andrews (16 off 16), Eddie Richardson (34*) and John Mooney (17 off 14) could have got North County home if they could have put on a big partnership.
With the experienced duo of Richardson and Mooney set together and 47 required from the final five overs, the visitors possibly had the advantage. However, a mis-timed sweep from Mooney popped an easy catch to Dom Joyce and the momentum shifted again.
While Richardson remained, the game wasn’t over though and Merrion needed to continue taking wickets and applying pressure.
Enter Jack Carty, whose first over was the 18th and he bowled Sludds (11) breaking a partnership of 21 with Richardson but just as importantly conceding just one run in the over.
Richardson gave it his all in the final two overs but there was just too much required and Merrion were able to see out a 10-run victory and set up a final with YMCA who defeated Clontarf earlier in the day.
Sports Hub Leinster Senior League Cup
Semi-Final, Anglesea Road
Merrion v North County, Sunday July 18
Merrion 133/8 20 Overs (M Lewis 35, M Sorensen 31; E Richardson 3-14, C Mulvanney 2-30)
North County 123/6 20 Overs (E Richardson 34*, J Mooney 17; H Kennedy 3-14, J Hitchcock 2-24, J Carty 1-11)