On to week 14 of the 2023 season. Lots of T20 Cup semi final places sill start being decided over the next few weeks, whilst leagues start to take shape, with sides realising they have no real chance of the promotion, or perhaps that this could be the year
The forecast looks pretty much the same across the province - perhaps the odd shower this morning, clearing up to a dry, cloudy, warm and blustery afternoon.
Previews of all today's matches coming up. Scorecards that have not been submitted are a bit problem at this time of the year, as we can not tell who is where in each league. If your club is responsible for outstanding scorecards, get them submitted today!
Railway Union 1 vs Balbriggan 1 - Premier League can be a brutal arena, and there is no way og ignoring the fact that Railway need to start winning if they are to stay in the top tier. They have a tough task though with reigning champions Balbriggan traveling to Park Avenue. Balbriggan may have lost two of their last four, but they are very much still looking at retaining their title. This is the first ever top tier match between the teams, with all eight of their previous senior matches being in the Championship. That head to head is 4-3, to Railway with Balbriggan never having won a senior game in Park Avenue - losing all three played. The last match between the teams in Park Avenue was in July 2019, when Connor Fletcher scored the third of his six senior tons. He made 113, and with 71 from Clinton Hinchliffe, Balbriggan totaled 264/5. But Kenny Carroll's ninth (and most recent) senior hundred (108) coupled with 65* from Prabhanshu Kamal (his only senior 50 in 21 innings) saw Railway win by five wickets with an over to spare. That was Railway's joint highest ever senior chase in Park Avenue, leveling 266/7 versus Dublin University in June 1951.
Leinster 1 vs Merrion 1 - Another big weekend in Rathmines, as Premier League leaders host Merrion, before playing The Hills in the Irish Senior Cup semi final tomorrow. The league remains so tight though, with YMCA two points back, and Malahide and Balbriggan only a win away. Merrion have lost their last two, and play their third away match on the bounce. Merrion have an impressive record in Observatory Lane, winning their last six senior matches there, and since the start of the 2000 season are 13-4 in Rathmines. Leinster's last win was all the way back in August 2012 when 59 from Stephen Moreton got Leinster to what looked like an average 233/6. That was before a decent Leinster pace attack of Tim Law (3-30), Joel Leacock (4-20) and Joey Carroll (3-12) blew Merrion away for 63. It was Merrion's third lowest total in Observatory Lane, behind efforts in May 1948 and May 1969.
Clontarf 1 vs YMCA 1 - Clontarf looked to have turned their Premier League corner, winning the last two after a slightly dodgy start of losing their first three. They are however still in 7th place, so need to keep winning. YMCA are also in the middle of a great run having won their last four. Someone's run will come to an end! The last couple of decades have seen Castle Avenue being a reasonably happy hunting ground for Clontarf, winning nine of the last 23 matches. The only one wicket win in the 87 matches the match has been played in Castle Avenue saw YMCA triumphant in July 2016. Alex Cusack (77) passed 50 for the 29th (and final) time in Leinster cricket, but Simi Singh took five wickets 5-49 for the fourth time in his Cricket Leinster career. He was to do so for the last time (so far) again the following week. Clontarf made 259 all out but the real drama was still to come. Alan Lewis made 49, and Sameer Dutt took 3-49 as Tarf looked to have sealed the victory with YM at 246-9, but James Parkinson added 15 for the last wicket, with Yaqoob Ali only facing one ball. Parkinson finished with 39* and YMCA had their highest ever successful chase against Clontarf in Castle Avenue .
Malahide 1 vs The Hills 1 - Malahide kept the pressure on the top two, with a Matt Ford inspired win over Balbriggan last week, whilst The Hills lost their third in a row in Leinster. A win today followed by a win in the Irish Senior Cup tomorrow would make up for the last three weeks. Senior matches between the teams in Malahide have been few and far between, with only five since the turn of the century. The Hills have won three of those, with Malahide's last win being in July 2014. Fintan Mc Allister (106) and CalluM Riches (73) added 214 for the fourth wicket, with Mc Allister's innings being his fifth senior ton. He has since added three more, with six for Malahide and two for Rush. Malahide made 245/8 (Naseer Shoukat 3-13 from 12 overs!) before 4-23 from Reinhardt Strydom derailed The Hills' reply, only Nicolaas Pretorius' 74 preventing a complete disaster.
Phoenix 1 vs Pembroke 1 - One of the most anticipated clashes of the Championship season as leaders Pembroke travel to Phoenix. Phoenix's win last week in North County was one for the ages, Phoenix recovering from 15-6 to win by 117 runs thanks to Oliver Hald's 104 at number 9. It is the only hundred by a number 9 in senior cricket, although the database is only back to 2011, with 1989-1993 thrown in as well. Pembroke won eight games on the trot in Phoenix (from 2012 to 2021) but Phoenix have won the last two, winning both matches played in 2022. Last year's match saw a number of low scoring and bowling records broken. Phoenix struggled to 118 (Hald top scoring again with 43), with Poonish Mehta taking 5-33. That score was more common than you may imagine - it was only their fourth lowest total against Pembroke in Phoenix in the last six years! Their worst is 45 all out in June 1945. That was the second time Mehta had taken five wickets in an innings in Leinster, his best being 6-8 in 2018, for Merrion but also in Phoenix. Things then went down hill for Pembroke, as Hald (2-19) and Tyrone Kane (7-35) knocked them over for 55. It is Kane's best bowling in a 138 match career and Pembroke's second lowest total against Phoenix in Phoenix, the lowest being 47 all out in August 1927.
North Kildare 1 vs Cork County 1 - North Kildare's hunt for a first win of the season continues, hosting a Cork County team lying in fourth, and who will be buoyant after last week's win against Rush. North Kildare just need to think back to last year's playing of this fixture, a match which was one of the most impressive wins in their history. Kaustubh Pawar scored 191 as North Kildare ran up 310/6. It was both the team's highest ever Senior score, and the highest individual score. Cork County stood no chance after that, and collapsed to 48 all out, with Manjeet Singh with pick with 4-7. It is Cork County's third lowest total in Leinster cricket, their worst being earlier this season - 42 all out against Pembroke.
Terenure 1 vs North County 1 - A good win for Terenure over Civil Service in the championship last week moves them up to 5th place. North County's roller coaster loss to Phoenix see them drop a couple of places to 7th. From the start of 1997, North County won 14 of the 15 senior matches between the teams in Terenure, before Terenure won last June. That game was dominated by Sadiq Safi's 6-22, as County were bowled out for 63. Not surprisingly, that was Safi's best bowling in a 28 match senior career for Terenure and was the best for Terenure this century, until Bhavic Tukrel took 7-16 against Rush last August.
Rush 1 vs Civil Service 1 - Rush will be smarting after last week's six run win to loss in The Mardyke, and Cork County have closed the gap in the Championship to ten points between Rush's 3rd and their 4th. Civil Service scored 300 in losing to Terenure with a win today likely to lift them one or two places into the middle of the table. The only previous senior meeting between the teams was Rush's 10 wicket win in this year's Leinster Senior Cup. Jarred Barnes took 3-21 as Service were bundled out for 117, before Llewelyn Johnson (52) and Neil Rock (58) knocked off the runs. It was Rush's fourth senior 10 wicket win and first away from home and Civil Service's first 10 wicket defeat since May 1941 when they lost to Pembroke.
North Kildare 2 vs Wexford Wanderers 1 - A double header on the road today for Wexford Wanderers with a semi final place in the YMCA Salver up for grabs with the final two matches in the group being played. Two wins for Wexford and they are through. A win in this match, followed by a loss later to Civil Service would leave all four teams locked together on 12 points. Net run rate would then be used, with Wexford currently well ahead. In the reverse fixture on May 27, James Harmse top scored for Wexford with 43 as they made an impressive 182/6 from 20 overs, Ahmed Dar being the pick of the North Kildare bowlers with 2-17. North Kildare never got going, but Dar completed a good all round game with 32; Harmse took 2-21 and Haq Nawaz took 3-12 to bowl North Kildare out for 107.
YMCA 2 vs Merrion 2 - No preview as waiting on scorecards from YMCA 2 vs Civil Service 2 (June 17) and YMCA 2 vs Pembroke 2 (June 25)
Civil Service 4 vs Finglas 1 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Civil Service 4 vs North Kildare 3 (June 24)
Laois 2 vs Railway Union 4 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Railway Union 4 vs Clontarf 5 (July 2)
Carlow 3 vs Halverstown 2 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Tyrrelstown 5 vs Carlow 3 (July 1)
Castleknock 4 vs Athlone 3 - Lots of cricket still to be played in Group B of the Adamstown Cup, with no side yet out of the running. Castleknock have won one and lost one, whilst Athlone have a 2-1 record with one game rained off. Castleknock have had a mixed season so far, winning four and losing five in all competitions. Their leading run scorer is Mubeen Khan with 174 runs at 34.8 and three bowlers have taken 11 wickets - Azgar Baig, Nadeem Muhammad and Abdur Rahman Shaikh. Athlone have had a 6-4 season so far, with their top run scorer being Kumuditha Athukorala with 206 runs at 25.75 and their top wicket taker Rohit Jha with 14 at 16.50.
Clontarf 4 vs Carlow 1 - The first match of a double weekend for Clontarf, and they urgently need two wins to lift them out of the Division 6 relegation zone. Carlow have played less games than anyone else in the division. Should they win a couple of games in hand, they are in the thick of the promotion race. Lose them and they will be down with Clontarf. The teams have already played three times this year, with two matches in the Middle Cup and the reverse league fixture. So far it has gone with the home team winning every match. The Middle Cup game in Castle Avenue saw Tariq Hussain make a match winning 62 for Clontarf as they made 143/8 from their 20 overs. Robi Alam took 3-22 for Carlow and Muhammad Javed 3-21. In reply, Carlow collapsed to 19/5 and 34/6 as all the Clontarf bowlers enjoyed themselves. Conall Woods then wrapped up the tail with 3-15 as Carlow were bowled out for 82. That is Woods' best bowling figures in his 25 match Clontarf career.
Athlone 1 vs Clondalkin 1 - Athlone's three wicket win at home to DLR County last week sees them retain leadership of Division 8. Clondalkin are down in 7th place with a 2-3 record, dropping a place as North County's losing bonus points against Knockharley sees them move up one. The team's last meeting in Doon was a record breaking affair with Clondalkin getting home by three wickets. Athlone made 316/9 with fifties for George Jebaraj (82) and Awais Khalily (57) - it was Athlone 1's third highest total in Leinster cricket. Abul Shapon took 4-51 for Clondalkin, the fifth time he has taken four wickets or more for Clondalkin 1, in 89 matches. The Clondalkin reply was all about a 175 run partnership for the second wicket between Wahed Ferdous (116) and Md Khurshid Anowar (79). It was Wahed's first hundred for Clondalkin in a 121 match career for the club and is the highest score for the club (and only the sixth hundred) in 279 matches played. Clondalkin won by 3 wickets with 15 balls to spare to record their highest successful run chase - beating 198/9 away to The Hills 3 in August 2021.
Ashbourne 2 vs Slieve Bloom 1 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Adamstown 5 vs North County 5 (Junior Cup Group B - June 17)
Leinster 5 vs Malahide 5 - Malahide have two games in hand over Leinster, and win those two and they would be above their hosts today, in this Division 14 tie. But at the moment, Malahide are down in 7th place with a 1-4 record, and Leinster are flying high, although only with three wins and three losses. This will be the third time the sides have met this season, with Leinster winning both. The Junior Cup game in April was won by Leinster by 12 runs, but a quick look at the reverse league game on June 11. Srinivas Karra scored 57 for Malahide from number 8, helping them recover from 120/6 to get to 194 all out. Karra's score was the highest on record for a Malahide 5 number 8. In reply Kuldeep Bisht scored 68 to set Leinster off and contributions from the middle order ensured they won by 4 wickets with nearly five overs to spare.
Tyrrelstown 4 vs Carlow 2 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Laois 3 vs Greystones 3 (Division 15 - July 2)
Adamstown 4 vs Phoenix 5 - Two more matches to be played in Group C of the Whelan Cup and the scenarios are pretty simple. Two wins for Adamstown and they are through to the semi finals. If Phoenix win today, they are through to the semi finals. If Adamstown win today, and then lose to Greystones on July 22, all three teams will have 8 points and the semi final place will be decided by net run rate. The two matches this season have been shared. The Whelan Cup match was played in Phoenix on April 30th. Phoenix made 122/6 in 15 overs with Vignesh Kannan top scoring with 36. Adamstown never got close, with Rajesh Malik taking 3-7 to put Phoenix on top straight away. From 11-3 there was no coming back for Adamstown.
North County 3 vs Knockharley 2 - Knockharley have won their last two in Division 8 keeping them at an all time high of 58th place in the Leinster league ladder. They make the short trip to Balrothery to take on a North County 3 side for the second time in a week, winning by 62 runs last week. That match saw Knockharley's first win in the fixture since 2018 (losing the last three). Kashif Qazi took 4-36 for County (the tenth time he has taken four wickets or more for North County since 2011) in a day dominated by bowlers. For Knockharley, Muhammad Afaq scored the day's only fifty with 56, his third fifty for Knockharley in his debut season. North County kept losing wickets, with Anil Thirumalasetti (3-19) and Tayyab Rashid (3-17) being the best bowlers as they were bowled out for 133, Manmeet Singh top scoring with 28.
The Hills 3 vs Adamstown 3 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Adamstown 3 vs Tyrrelstown 2 (June 18)
Merrion 6 vs North County 5 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Adamstown 5 vs North County 5 (June 17)
DLR County 1 vs Kilkenny 1 - Kilkenny have their destiny in their own hands in Group B of the Middle Cup. If they win their last two matches (today and then away to Mullingar on July 23) they will have qualified for the semis. But all four teams still have a slight chance. DLR County must win today and against Lucan on July 22, and hope Lucan beat Mullingar tomorrow and Mullingar beat Kilkenny on July 23. That would leave all four teams tied on 12 points with net run rate deciding the winner. DLR County have lost all four matches between the teams, and the reverse fixture in this year's Middle Cup saw a big Kilkenny win. Zeeshan Mumtaz scored 101* as Kilkenny made 201/4 - one of five hundreds he has now scored for the club, making him the joint third highest run scorer in the Open Comps this year. It was also Kilkenny's second highest T20 score, after 208/4 vs Adamstown 3 in June 2021. Ali Chaudhary (3-25) and Mumtaz (3-26) were the leading wicket takers as DLR were bowled out for 98.
Greystones 1 vs Terenure 2 - Greystones are out of the running in Group B of the YMCA Salver, but Terenure still have a mathematical chance. Two wins from their last two matches will get them to 16 points, level with Castleknock. However Castleknock would have to lose their other match to Pembroke 3, leaving all three teams tied on 16 points and a net run rate battle. It could happen! Greystones won the first six matches between the teams (from 2013 to 2019) but the seventh tie was on MAy 27th this year, and Terenure won by 12 runs. Colm Morgam (79) and Niqash Ali (70) assed 134 for the 3rd wicket to get Terenure to 205/2 in 20 overs. That is Terenure 2's highest 3rd wicket partnership in T20 cricket and the team's highest total in T20 cricket. In reply, a 58 ball 106 from Mamoon Rashid nearly got Greystones home as they ended up on 193/8.
Kilkenny 3 vs Dundalk 2 - Like Group A, Group B in the Adamstown Cup still has lots of matches to be played. Dundalk have lost their first two games, but three wins and they will end up with 12 points and an outside chance of qualification. Kilkenny have two matches left, and will also finish on 12 points should they win them. Kilkenny are 3-8 for the season, their run scoring charts being headed by Saptarshi Mukherjee by 304 runs at 30.40 and their wicket taking charts topped by Fahim Khan with 10 wickets at 21.70. Dundalk are 6-3 for the season, with their top run scorer being Avijot Singh with 236 runs at 39.33 and their top wicket taker Jithin John with 15 at 11.80.
Lucan 3 vs Sandyford 3 - It looks as if one side on 16 points will qualify for the Minor Cup semi finals from Group A. If Lucan can win their last three games, they will be on 16 points and it will then be up to the cricketing Gods as to whether they advance. Sandyford are in a much stronger position, on 12 points with two matches to go. Two wins would guarantee them a spot in the semis. The only previous match between the teams wasn't a particularly inspiring affair (Lucan won by 24 runs after scoring 125), so a quick look at the team's season so far. Lucan are 2-6 for the season, with their leading batter being Annu Shukla with 165 runs at 20.63, and their leading wicket taker being Vishnu Raju with 10 wickets at 16.90. Sandyford 3 are an impressive 9-1 for the season, with their batting dominated by Joel Jeba Kumar Palayan (364 runs at 52) and Mohit Sharma (369 runs at 46.13). Their top wicket taker is Aaditya Shah with 19 wickets at 6.74.
Pembroke 5 vs Phoenix 6 - Pembroke look to be too far back in Group A of the Minor Cup. With two matches left, even two wins will give them 12 points, with three teams already at that mark and beyond. Phoenix have three matches left, and will move to 16 points if they win all three. Pembroke are 3-7 for the season. Top of their run scoring chart is Bhushan Baviskar with an amazing 459 at 65.57. Before anyone gets up in arms about Pembroke's starrings, Baviskar has also batted five times for Pembroke 4, scoring 43 at 8.60! Their leading wicket taker is Graham Mooney with 12 wickets at 14.33. Phoenix are 1-7 for the season, with the top run scorer being Emmet Staunton with 133 runs at 19, and their top wicket taker is Zahid Safi with 7 wickets at 20.
Swords 1 vs Railway Union 3 - Three games to go in Group D of the Middle Cup and three of the four teams can still top the group and make the semi finals. This is Railway's last game and a win will do it - they will be in the semis. Swords need to win all three games, and hope they qualify on net run rate ahead of Railway Union. In the reverse fixture on JUne 17, a slightly mundane card shows Swords getting to 125/8, with no one scoring more than Ebin Paiva's 28 and no bowler doing better than Kashif Shah's 2-23. It was a total that was shown to be woefully short, as 54* for Sahil Chirdia and 44* for Maninderjit Ghai saw Railway with five overs still to go. Swords will need to be better today.
Wicklow County 2 vs Rush 4 - A win last week for Wicklow County against Mullingar has pulled Wicklow County into contention for the semi final spots in Group B of the Minor Cup. Twenty points may be required (which would mean Wicklow have to win both of their remaining matches), but 16 might be enough - especially if they beat Finglas on July 22. For Rush the game is all about keeping warm for the league, as their chances of finishing in the top two are over. It is now just over ten years since these two last played each other - June 27 2013. Bazil Cromer took 3-20 for Wicklow County, but Kashif Rehman (44) and Jahanzeb Shaikh (61) had added 114 for the first wicket to set Rush up for 156/4. It remains the third highest opening partnership for Rush 4, and was the second highest until Conor Butterly and Tomás Armstrong added 155 against Swords 4 last month. Wicklow County never really threatened - John Joyce made 56 but Wicklow finished well short on 111/4
Merrion 4 vs Tyrrelstown 1 - The first of two games this weekend for Merrion in the Middle Cup. It is looking like they will need to win all four matches and then hope they beat Athlone on net run rate. Tyrrelstown are unfortunately out, as the best they can do is draw level with Athlone - a team who beat them in both matches played. The only match played in Merrion between the teams was a Middle Cup game in May 2022. Merrion made an under par looking 114/6, with no one scoring more than Himanshu Sharma's 28 or taking more wickets for Tyrrelstown than Rajkumar Koka's 2-22. In reply, Tyrrelstown got home easily with 12 balls and 6 wickets to spare. Yuva Kumar Dabbara scored 41 for Tyrrelstown, one of six scored of 40 or more for Tyrrelstown 1 in 43 matches played.
Gorey 1 vs Tyrrelstown 3 - All teams in Group D of the Whelan Cup have two games to play but for these two teams, their semi final chances have already disappeared with Lucan 2 uncatchable at the top. Before this year, these two had never played, but they are making up for lost time, playing three times so far this season. Tyrrelstown won the first two, but Gorey won the Division 13 match in Courtown last week. Khan Khan took 3-21 and Balachander Achari 3-30 (his best bowling in 19 matches for Gorey) as Tyrrelstown were reduced to 57/8. But 44* for Dhanapal Viswanathan and 35 for Bharath Rao got Tyrrelstown to 137 all out. Gorey were themselves struggling at 53/5 but Mohammed Shifan Hameed Raheem scored 38* to get Gorey home with five balls to spare.
Malahide 3 vs YMCA 3 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Cork Harlequins 1 vs YMCA (July 1)
Mullingar 2 vs North Kildare 4 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from North Kildare 4 vs Terenure 3 (July 2)
Balbriggan 3 vs Tyrrelstown 2 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Adamstown 3 vs Tyrrelstown 2 (June 18)
Adamstown 6 vs Naas 2 - Two matches remaining for Adamstown in Group A of the Russell Court Trophy. Two wins will give them 18 points which should be enough for a semi final spot. Naas still have three matches to go, and three wins would also take them to 18 points. The situation in the group will be a lot clearer after this weekend. The sides met three times in 2022, with an enormous disparity in the result. Naas won two of the matches (by 9 wickets and 267 runs) whilst Adamstown won the other one by 132 runs. The big victory for Naas was in Corkagh Park 2 in a Division 16 game. Raees Ur Rahman scored 156 (his third century in Leinster cricket, and his highest score. It is also the highest score recorded for any Naas team in their 85 match history). There were also 50s for Mohammed Kashif Sharief (64) and Nirmal Kandwal (86*) as Naas made 387/2, the club's highest total (and only the second highest in Division 16 after Carlow 1's 440/6 against Bagenalstown 3 in 2015). Adamstown were then bowled out for 120, with 50 for Justin Abraham and 5-17 for Muddasir Zeb, the third five wicket haul of his career, but first for Naas.
Civil Service 3 vs Wexford Wanderers 1 - The second game in a double header for Wexford Wanderers in the YMCA Salver. If Wexford lost to North Kildare earlier, this game is a dead match. But a Wexford win earlier, and both teams have a chance of progressing. Civil Service would need a massive win to get their net run rate in a position to overtake Wexford's. Wexford would merely need another win. Civil Service came up with a massive shock when they won the reverse YMCA Salver fixture in Wexford on May 27th. Service are 30 places below Wexford in the league and shouldn't have had a chance. 114/5 didn't look to be enough for Service (Aakash Kutty) top scoring with 30, but 3-11 from Prashil Wanjari restricted Wexford to 111/6 and a shock three run defeat.
Ashbourne 2 vs North Kildare 5 - No preview as waiting on scorecard from Adamstown 5 vs North County 5 (Junior Cup Group B- June 17)
Castleknock 1 vs Pembroke 3 - A Castleknock win today in Group B of the YMCA Salver would send them though to the semi finals. If Castleknock lost today, and then lost to Terenure on July 23, Pembroke and Castleknock would be tied on 16 points, requiring net run rate to separate them. There have only been two matches between the teams in Porterstown Park, with Pembroke winning both (in 2019 and 2018). the teams met in the reverse YMCA Salver fixture on April 29, with Castleknock winning by 6 wickets. Daniel Murray made 51 for Pembroke, his first 50 for Pembroke 3 in what is now a ten match career, but Pembroke only got to 113/7. Castleknock got home with 12 balls to spare, Muhammad Haris top scoring with 31*