With weather affecting the outcomes of many matches in the Irish Senior and National Cups, as well as the Premier League on Saturday, it is a somewhat battered and bruised Cricket Leinster that emerges to face the new week.
The first thing to acknowledge is that for the first time in many years Leinster teams took a hammering against Northern opposition in the ISC. Malahide were perhaps the most unfortunate to lose by only two DLS runs against tournament favourites Waringstown, but Merrion [9 runs] and Clontarf [15 runs] also lost to CIYMS and Carrickfergus respectively. In the games that were played through to a conclusion Rush were well beaten by Instonians.
The Union’s hopes for the next round rest with Leinster who won a low scoring match defending 121 [thanks to Bilal Azhar who took 5/28] defeating Strabane. Phoenix comfortably accounted for a second North West team, Bready, by eight wickets.
Finally, in the one blue on blue clash, The Hills lost their first match of the season, going down to a Pembroke batting onslaught [Lorcan Tucker 126, Theo Lawson 75 and Andrew Balbirnie 55] which netted 328 runs. Despite a half century from Bhavesh Lakhotia  The Hills never really got going and ended up 165 runs short.
Looking at the results as a whole it was a good day for the Northern Union who came out on top in all the inter-union matches. This is something that has not occurred for many years [see Chart]. Those looking for reasons [or even excuses] might point to the number of key players missing due to forthcoming IP commitments but it might be more honest to acknowledge the growing strength of many of the top sides in the NCU.
Leinster teams fared better in the National Cup with Balbriggan, Terenure and Railway Union all progressing [Balbriggan was at the expense of North Kildare] to the last eight.
The position regrading the Premier and Championship leagues following the rain affected Round 2 is that The Hills are now the clear leaders in the former [being the only side to play and win] in the former and with Terenure beating first round leaders North County and Clontarf winning in Cork, we now have five teams on one win each.
In an article last week the regulations governing the allocation of places in the Premier League is set out. The results from the Senior League Cup this year and from the Premier and Championship Leagues last year set the parameters for what clubs can achieve in the remainder of this year.
The maximum and minimum points that can be achieved by each team are set out in the table below.
Given the results so far and the points already banked so to speak, three clubs have already qualified for the Premier League for next year and three cannot get enough points to secure a place.
On a final [historical] note. Promotion and relegation have been a feature of the senior league since 1993. Until this year only one club had never suffered the fate of being relegated to Division 2 [now the Championship]. That record is no more as North County failed to make it into the Premiership, albeit, some may argue, by an unusual method.
What this means over the 27 years of promotion and relegation for individual clubs is set out in the table below. Overall, Clontarf have the best record, with the only other club competing at in Division 1 [now known as the Premier League] for 20 years or more being YMCA.