The first full day of the new season took place in bright sunshine and certainly the best weather anyone can remember for this time of the year. All six games in the new IBI Corporate Finance Senior League Cup were completed and the day threw up its fair share of surprises.
But first to the numbers. The new eScoring app CricClubs had a successful debut and provides some interesting statistics. The highlights - 6 matches played, 1759 runs scored, 88 wickets taken, 22 sixes, 1 century and 6 half-centuries, 3020 balls bowled [and 225 wides / 20 no balls], two 4 wicket hauls, 7 run outs and 12 ducks. At 19.99 runs per wicket that is less than the average runs per wicket in recent years which stands at just under 25. It will be interesting to see if wides and no balls at just over 1 every two overs will improve through the season.
The results of Round 1 of the LC are easily told. There were wins in Section A for Phoenix [v DU], The Hills [v YMCA] and Malahide [v North County]. In Section B there were wins for Merrion [v Terenure], Pembroke [v Leinster] and Balbriggan [v Clontarf].
Without doubt the biggest surprise of the day was Balbriggan defeating Clontarf by 32 runs. On another occasion Balbriggan’s 228/7 might not have seemed a particularly daunting total, but on the first day of the season it was always going to be a challenge. However, with Clontarf on 150/2 with 12 overs to go the visitors seemed well in control. But the combination of Farooq Nasr [4/38] and Ehtesham Ahmed [3/37] engineered a collapse that saw Clontarf fall well short in the end. Earlier in the day Dean Carlisle had made 79 to provide the foundation for the Balbriggan innings. The victory was the first for Balbriggan in a senior match against Clontarf in four attempts.
The accolades for the most exciting match of the day must go to YMCA and The Hills. YMCA started disastrously and were 69/6 after 16 overs. That the game went beyond tea was down to the efforts of Tim Tector who made 53 before being run out. By my reckoning that is his maiden half-century in senior [D1/D2] cricket. With some late support from James Parkinson YMCA were able to post a score of 156 [though they left 10 overs unused] that was at least defendable. As it turned out none of the top five batsmen for The Hills made it to 20 and at 88 for 7 it looked like YMCA might be able to force a win that looked very unlikely earlier in the day. But they didn’t account for the efforts of Daya Singh who saw the visitors home with 68*, ably supported by Cian Nulty and Mark Dwyer. Victory in the end came in the last over and by a margin of two wickets. Rory Anders did well in his first game for YMCA taking 3/19 and Joe Carroll likewise for The Hills in taking 3/43.
This time last year in the first round of the Premier League Pembroke took on Leinster in Rathmines and bowled them out for 52, winning easily by eight wickets. This year Pembroke returned the favour, bowling Leinster out in Sydney Parade for 88, winning by seven wickets. A real team performance from Pembroke with five bowlers taking a brace of wickets each.
Put in to bat in College Park, the students struggled to build an innings and were eventually all out for 139 in the 48th over. Ben White took three wickets [3/39] for Phoenix. The win for Phoenix was never really in doubt with Nicolaas Pretorius making 46 at the top of the innings and good support from Simi Singh  and James Shannon . In the end Phoenix won by five wickets.
In what proved to be a one sided affair in Anglesea Road, Merrion made 336/9 v Terenure and were comfortable winners by 242 runs. Early in the day Terenure had succeeded in pegging Merrion back to 131/4 but a century from Michael Lewis [114 in 76 balls including 5 sixes] took the game away from the visitors. With Jack Webster  leading the way Terenure had reached 85/4 before the introduction of spin saw them collapse to 94 all out, Tom Stanton taking 3/5.
The final match saw a strong looking Malahide batting line-up deliver with Damien Mortimer , Matt Ford  and Peter Chase  all in the runs. Their total of 235/7 was going to be challenging so early in the season. And so it proved as North County lost early wickets and were soon chasing the game. Eddie Richardson  led a fight back but Malahide always looked to be in control. Wickets for Kelvin Donnelly [3/42] and two each for Peter Chase [2/25], James Newland [2/38] and Matt Ford [2/35]. Malahide winners by 42 runs.
So an excellent first day of cricket in the new IBI Corporate Finance Senior League Cup with an upset, a tight match and plenty of interest across the board in the bright sunshine.