Despite the efforts of Storm Hannah, the second round of the Leinster Senior League Cup managed to complete five out of six of its scheduled fixtures. Interestingly in a day when the weather conditions could be said to be more favourable to the bowling sides, one fewer matches and all foreshortened, there were more runs scored than the previous weekend. And it was the bowlers who suffered with the total runs per wicket going up from 20 to 32 and the scoring rate from 0.58 to 1.07.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the main match of the day between Merrion and Clontarf in Castle Avenue. Thanks to great work by the ground staff the match started close to the scheduled time and we saw pretty much a full days play. Merrion batted first and the innings progressed at a steady but reasonably sedate pace. The first wicket fell in the 12th over with the score on 38 and the second in the 16th with 55 on the board. There was really little to prepare us for what was to come. The cold statistics will show that the backbone of the innings was a 140 run partnership between John Anderson  and Michael Lewis . But the turning point came in the 36th and 37th overs when 48 runs were plundered. This included 6 sixes in seven balls and five in a row in a single over as Michael Lewis took a likening to the normally economical Sameer Dutt. Clontarf fought back, took three quick wickets, but this only brought Tyrone Kane and David Langford Smith together who took the score past 300, adding 90 runs in seven overs to end the innings after 47 overs on 322/7. The best of the Clontarf bowling, Joe Morrissey [3/56]
Clontarf would have had to bat out of their skins to exceed this total and with Tyrone Kane starting off with five runs and a wicket off his first five overs they were always on the back foot. But major partnerships between Bill Coghlan  and Eoghan Delany  and between Delany and brother David [56 in 29 balls] kept Clontarf in the hunt. But once these partnerships were broken wickets fell steadily and Clontarf ended up 70 runs short. Wickets were spread but critically Kane [2/31] and Sean Stanton [1/27] delivered 16 overs between them with economy rates of less than 4.
The other near full length match [42 overs] was in the Park between Phoenix and YMCA. The home team batted first and despite losing openers early Simi Singh [124 in 82 balls] and James Shannon  soon established batting dominance and provided the platform for Phoenix to post a very good total of 281/8. YMCA also lost their openers early but were brought back into the match with a 100 run third wicket partnership between Harry Tector  and Rory Anders . But they were always chasing the run rate and when the partnership was broken in the 24th over wickets fell quickly. In the end YMCA fell 66 runs short, with Poonish Mehta [3/55] and Singh [3/35] the most successful bowlers.
The other three games were late starts. The Hills took full advantage of 25 overs to post an impressive 221/1 with an unbroken 185 run partnership between Daya Singh [103 in 60 balls] and Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin [81 in 73]. When Railway went into bat Singh again led the way with his five overs coming at less than 4 runs per over. With only Prabhanshu Kamal  and Hashir Sultan  making telling contributions, Railway were well short on 142/9 in their allotted overs.
Malahide again showed that they have a strong all-round batting line up this year with the top order contributing three half-centuries [Alan Reynolds 55, Matthew Ford 56 and Damien Mortimer 56] in their 213/5 in 22 overs. Lorcan Tucker [55 in 34] and Waqar Azmat [37 in 25] for Dublin University kept the bowling side honest throughout but it was just too big a total for the students to chase and they fell 19 runs short. Pick of the Malahide bowlers was Matt Ford with 2/24 off 4 overs.
The final game saw Leinster take on Rush in what was in effect a T20. It was Rush’s first outing and a little rustiness in the batting might have been expected. But this certainly did not effect Stephen Doheny who made 70 in 35 balls including 6 sixes. The key contribution in the field came from Gareth Delany who took 5/25 and brought about a run out. Leinster did not have it all their own way and it took until the 20th over for them to overhaul the Rush total for the loss of two wickets. But they always looked in charge with all four top order bats contributing.
We move on to the Third Round today - with critical matches for some clubs if they want to stay in contention for honours.