This evening sees the beginning of the second half of the season in Sprint Coatings Women’s Division One, and after Tuesday’s helping of the Senior Cup saw all 8 teams in action already this week, tonight’s games see a return for several of the international stars who were forced to miss out on the first round action.
MERRION VS MALAHIDE
Malahide are sure to be delighted to welcome Amy Hunter back into their side ahead of this evening’s clash with Merrion in Anglesea Road, the featured game tonight however will not see Anna Kerrison in the side for Malahide which means they will need to make do without her left-arm spin bowling in the middle overs as well as Arlene Kelly’s seam bowling which usually offers plenty of flexibility. Skipper Caoimhe McCann will be looking to continue her good form at the top of the order. Merrion meanwhile welcome back Rebecca Stokell and Rachel Delaney to their side for this evening’s game which will boost their top order significantly, Stokell in particular has been remarkably consistent in the club game so far this season, skipper Celeste Raack was in good form on Tuesday with the bat making a half-century and will look to continue to lead the way, in the absence of Niamh MacNulty it’s highly likely that Síbha Bhoja will share the new ball responsibilities with Julianne Morrissey for this evening’s fixture.
KEY BATTLE: Celeste Raack vs Amy Hunter
YMCA VS PHOENIX
These two sides meet again, this time in Claremont Road, after Tuesday’s cup encounter saw YMCA come out on top and progress to the semi-final stage. Gaby Lewis and Georgina Dempsey return for the home side having missed Tuesday’s fixture, however they are without Sarah Forbes, Siúin Woods, Kate McEvoy and Alice Tector, weakening the side by potentially a full 12 overs worth of bowling and also meaning Sophie Strickland will continue behind the stumps. Phoenix welcome Zara Craig into their side for the first time this season which should provide a boost to them with both bat and ball, elsewhere Alison Black, skipper Nevedha Saravanarajan and Ali Keenan are three players who have led the way for their side so far this season, with YMCA missing numerous middle order players today, an early attack from Phoenix can be expected in an effort to knock over their top three batters, were that to happen there’d be a significant prospect of an upset.
KEY BATTLE: Gaby Lewis vs Zara Craig
PEMBROKE VS CLONTARF
Pembroke had their lower order to thank for seeing them over the line in Tuesday’s cup fixture against The Hills, and with largely a similar team out again this evening, they will be hoping they can produce a slightly more top-heavy performance in this game against a Clontarf side full of confidence after their victory on Tuesday evening. Mary Waldron skippers the side again and alongside Clare Shillington at the top of the order will be the pair trusted with getting the side off to a flying start. Between Anna Beale, Mhairi Nicoll and Louise McCarthy they have 12 overs of guaranteed tight bowling, which will allow for their younger players such as Kimli McDonald and Jessica Robinson to bowl with some pressure off and show their skills at 1st team level. Clontarf meanwhile have been slightly stop-start this season, but thanks to the good bowling form of their skipper Emma Butler and the all-round abilities of Bhavi Devchand and Christina Coulter-Reilly, they have begun to string together some good performances without necessarily always being on the right side of the result, they were on Tuesday though and will carry good confidence into this evening’s fixture as a result.
KEY BATTLE: Louise McCarthy vs Bhavi Devchand
LEINSTER VS THE HILLS
Leinster welcome back Ava Canning for this fixture with The Hills, she replaces Jenny Sparrow in the side as stand-in skipper with Sparrow unavailable for this evening’s game. Rebecca Rolfe also returns to the side and will likely reform the formidable opening partnership which she has shared with Ellen Ridgeway so far this season. Joanna Loughran will be looking to continue her good form in the middle order having batted well on Tuesday evening. With the ball, Canning will be supported by Loughran, Sophia Nulty and the returning Sue O’Connor in this fixture. The Hills remain without their usual skipper Jane Maguire, meaning Aisling Byrne once again takes the reins, however Aimee Maguire also misses out on this game having bowled so brilliantly in Tuesday night’s fixture, Amy Benson’s return will help to account for that, with Naomi Matthews also providing another good spinning option. Miranda Andrews was in the runs on Tuesday evening and it’s good to see her in the side once again, however they will have to do without the services of Katie Boylan who’s brilliant effort near the end on Tuesday very nearly saw them cause the upset of the round.
KEY BATTLE: Joanna Loughran vs Naomi Matthews