An incredible final day of the league season saw Merrion crowned champions of Sprint Coatings Women’s Division One, as both they, and second placed Pembroke fell to final round losses.
Merrion entered the final round of fixtures with a five percent advantage over their closest pursuers, however this round was made all the more tricky by the absence of their Irish internationals, with the side currently away on duty in the Netherlands.
They travelled to The Hills this evening and batted first, making a decent total of 119/4 from their 20 overs, with Cecelia Joyce the top score with an unbeaten 49, whilst Annabel Squires supported her well, adding 63 for the fourth wicket with the former Irish international.
There was a wicket apiece for Lara McBride, Aimee Maguire, Aisling Byrne and Katie Boylan, in a good all-round bowling performance for the home side.
In response, an excellent opening partnership between Amy Benson and Robyn Searle brought The Hills through the usually threatening opening spells of Niamh MacNulty and Julianne Morrissey almost unscathed, with Benson run out at the end of the 8th over with the score on 31. Aisling Byrne and Searle added a further 28, before the stand in skipper was run out for 13.
This brought Aimee Maguire to the crease and the decisive partnership of the innings took place, as her and Searle added 47, before MacNulty eventually returned to dismiss Maguire for 20, just 4 runs short of victory. It was then left to Searle to hit the winning runs, as she finished 45* from 55 deliveries as The Hills ran out 7 wicket winners with three balls to spare.
Attentions then needed to turn to Observatory Lane, where Leinster had batted first and made 114/8 from their 20 overs, thanks mainly to 30 from Jenny Sparrow, with their cause aided further by 30 extras bowled by the away side. For Pembroke, spinners Louise McCarthy and Lucy Robinson were the main bowlers, taking 3/18 and 2/14 respectively.
In response, Pembroke never got going, as only Lucy Robinson (12) and Anna Beale (20) managed to get to double figures, with Jenny Sparrow taking 3/20, and two wickets for each of Rachel Byrne and Sarah Ingram restricted the away team to just 108/9, securing a 6 run victory for Leinster, and in essence, confirming the league title for Merrion.
Congratulations to Merrion from all at Cricket Leinster on securing the Sprint Coatings Women's Division One title for the 2022 season - a fantastic achievement for all players, coaches, officials and supporters associated with the team, as they secured their third trophy of the season.