Merrion’s Irish international duo of Leah Paul and Rachel Delaney were to the fore in their dominant 32 run win over The Hills in Skerries this evening.
Opening the batting, skipper Paul dominated a stand of 59 with Rebecca Stokell (16) before the latter was caught and bowled by Jennifer Hanna, this brought Delaney to the crease.
On 42, Paul leading-edged Hanna to cover where Jane Maguire took the simplest of catches to dismiss the Merrion skipper. Celeste Raack came and went for just 6, whilst Delaney was still slightly slowly into her stride.
That all changed when Isabel Light came to the crease, although she scored just 9 she added a sense of urgency and ensured she was getting her number three on strike as regularly as possible, this allowed Delaney to accelerate in the closing overs. As she scored the majority of the 50 runs taken from the last 6 overs bowled to finish up 45 not out from 37 deliveries, seeing her side to 146/5 in their 20 overs.
Jennifer Hanna’s 3/17 from 4 overs was by far the pick of The Hills attack, briefly causing a scare until Light and Delaney’s partnership put Merrion back on top.
The chase began well for The Hills, as Clíodhna O’Reardon and Jane Maguire took 28 from the first 4 overs. As the pair capitalised on anything loose from McNulty and Raack.
At this point the Merrion skipper turned to Delaney to bowl the 5th over, and immediately the bowling changed worked, as she dismissed O’Reardon bowled for 11 from the last ball of the over. The trick was repeated 6 balls later, as having replaced Raack from the School End, Paul herself dismissed Jane Maguire for 14, leaving The Hills 35/2 and with a rebuilding job to do.
Whilst Delaney and Paul spun out quick overs for well below the required run rate, Tess Maritz dominated a stand of 34 with Katie Boylan, making 28 before she fell with just three balls remaining in Paul’s spell. Merrion’s captain finishing with figures of 2/16 from her 4 overs, while Delaney’s 1/26 at the other end helped to heap pressure on The Hills batters.
Katie Boylan continued on in the face of yet more economical bowling, this time Julianne Morrissey from the School End as she twirled out 4 overs for just 15 runs, The Hills number 4 remaining unbeaten until the end eventually finishing up on 25. Sadhbh Breslin dismissed Natasha Morton for the only other wicket to fall in the innings which eventually finished with the home side on 114/4, seeing Merrion 32 run victors.
Meanwhile in Malahide, a third wicket stand of 142 between star pairing Sophie MacMahon and Laura Delany saw Leinster to a huge score of 181/5 from their 20 overs. The Ireland skipper dismissed for the first time in club cricket since 2019 for 66 from just 38 balls including 10 fours, whilst MacMahon struck 11 boundaries in her 59-ball 88.
Maria O’Halloran was the pick of the Malahide bowlers with 3/32, dismissing both MacMahon and Delany, as well as accounting for Ruby Shirt first ball.
Malahide’s reply started well as it tends to do, with Caoimhe McCann (33) and Amy Hunter (30) seeing the score to 74/0 before both fell in the space of five balls. Hunter caught by MacMahon off Maria Kerrison, before McCann was run out at the bowlers end by Sophia Nulty. Once this pair fell, Malahide’s chased petered out and saw them make 117/3 in their 20 overs.
In Clontarf, Phoenix batted first and three strong partnerships saw them post a very good score of 166/2 in their 20 overs. First Georgina Dempsey and Nevedha Saravanarajan put on 59 for the opening stand, before the latter was dismissed for 24.
This brought the immovable Lara Maritz to the crease, and herself and Dempsey shared a stand of 61, before the opener was LBW to Aoife Brennan for 63 from 51 balls. After this Maritz and Ella Pasley added an unbeaten 46 to the total, finishing on 40* and 17* respectively.
This would always be a tough chase for ‘Tarf, and losing Christina Coulter-Reilly first ball to Maritz didn’t make life any easier, however a partnership of 72 between Brennan and Isobel Joyce saw them to the halfway stage before the latter fell LBW to Sarah White.
Brennan then moved beyond 50, but at this point a tight spell of bowling from Alison Black put the game to bed, as she dismissed the Clontarf opener for 55, followed by Anna Marshall and Cara Murray for 11 each to halt the home side’s chase and see them finish on 138/6 from their 20 overs, a 28 run loss in the closest game of the night.
Merrion – 146/5, 20 overs (R Delaney 45*, L Paul 42; J Hanna 3/17)
The Hills – 114/4, 20 overs (T Maritz 28, K Boylan 25*; L Paul 2/16)
by 32 runs
Leinster – 181/5, 20 overs (S MacMahon 88, L Delany 66; M O’Halloran 3/32)
Malahide – 117/3, 20 overs (C McCann 33, A Hunter 30; M Kerrison 1/19)
by 64 runs
At Castle Avenue
Phoenix – 166/2, 20 overs (G Dempsey 61, L Maritz 40*)
Clontarf – 138/6, 20 overs (A Brennan 55, I Joyce 30; A Black 3/20)
by 28 runs