5 June 2022
I didn’t go to cricket because it was raining. This is a bit like runs from overthrows, it only gives the number of runs in the book, it doesn’t say how they were scored. Miranda Andrews told me that she once scored 7 runs off one shot, she ran 3, and there were 4 overthrows, but in the scorebook, it went down as M. Andrews, 7 runs. Brownie points were accumulated for staying at home – the fact that it was raining is irrelevant.
6 June 2022
I didn’t go to breakfast. I went shopping so the accumulation of Brownie points continued apace. Michael Dwyer and Martin Russell went to breakfast and were joined by a former great who will remain nameless. He was in touch with Michael later to say that he was suffering from what is euphemistically called “stomach trouble. “ Dodged a bullet there. Went to Malahide – was told that there was no parking in the ground – John and Anna very kindly told me that I could use their parking space – parked in the wrong space – had to walk back – by the end of the day, I had done 26,000 steps. I met Barbara McDonnell, Alan Hughes, Brian Gilmore, John, Anna, and Sheila Morgan in addition to all the very loyal followers of The Hills CC.
The ground at Malahide looked tremendous with preparations well under way for the coming international games. The Hills played without Jonathan Tall (injured while fielding for MCC in Romania), and Murray Commins (back spasms), while Malahide lacked the services of Fintan McAllister (guest at a wedding) and Matt Ford (injured). Having won the toss, The Hills opted to bat first; Dylan Blignaut scored a brilliant 101 runs, and The Hills ended on 253 for 9. Malahide’s final score was 143 all out, and The Hills had opened its league campaign with a victory margin of 110 runs to put 25 points on the board.
10 June 2022
I had a working breakfast (oxymoron?) with Kathleen Gavin (Chair of The Hills CC), Jim Hawkins (Video Photographer) and Martin Russell (Past President of The Hills CC) and we discussed the preparations for the screening of The Hills’ commemorative video. I wanted to call it “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, but I was overruled on two counts – the title had been used before and it might be perceived by some people as an exaggeration. Later that evening, we met at The Vineyard for the World Premiere of “The Hills: 50 Years, a Celebration". We had a great night; the video was well-received; The Hills’ Catering Department continued to excel, and Jim Hawkins said that while he had no interest in cricket, he would join The Hills for the food.
11 June 2022 Sports Hub League Cup Final
My instructions for the day were fairly straightforward; host a lunch for the Patrons, do a stint on commentary, and preside over the Awards Ceremony at the end of the game. Credit where credit is due. Having complained about the lack of a PA system or any other means of keeping spectators informed at the IP games in Comber, it was good to see Martin Block operating the new Cricket Leinster PA system all geared up and ready to keep the spectators fully informed. When we arrived at our usual vantage point, we saw that Pembroke CC had very thoughtfully installed two seats in memory of two deceased members, Con O’Rourke, and Rev. Robert Lawson. Beside us, the McGeehan family had erected a canopy which at one stage threatened to topple over, but a disaster was averted by Jim McGeehan, a man of steel, who ensured that the stays were fastened more securely than they had been previously.
Back to the cricket. Clontarf batted first, and the early stages of the game were dominated by an injured Poonish Mehta who bowled 10 overs for 11 runs. Aaron McGeehan who scored 41 runs provided a very good example of the Spirit of Cricket when he “feathered” a ball down the legside and walked despite having initially been given not-out. The other contributors to the Clontarf score were Ruan Cronje (65), Andrew Poynter (39) and Robert Forrest whose quickfire 48* gave Clontarf the competitive total of 249 runs.
In reply, the second wicket partnership of 87 runs between Diarmaid Tucker (51) and JJ Garth (44) gave Pembroke a very solid start, and the fourth wicket partnership of 70 runs between Theo Lawson (42) and Poonish Mehta (45) maintained the momentum. Any fears of a Pembroke collapse were allayed by Robin Kelly’s quickfire 33* runs off 20 balls, and this gave Pembroke its first Senior Cup victory since 1999. On that occasion, Pembroke beat The Hills at the Cabra Oval, and graphic details of that game are available from Michael Dwyer, The Hills’ legendary wicketkeeper.
The Patrons’ Lunch went very well. We had a lovely meal, and it was great to meet up with some of the people whose financial support has enabled Cricket Leinster to undertake a range of very worthwhile initiatives. Congratulations to everyone at Pembroke CC and Cricket Leinster involved in organising and hosting the game.
My musical education and experiences continue to expand. As I was driving out to The Vineyard, I passed a van which was advertising Bodhrán Workshops for Schools, and I was reminded of Seamus Ennis’s retort that the best way to play a bodhrán was with a penknife. I looked up the meaning of the word, bodhrán, when I got home, and the two definitions provided by Google were “deaf thing” or “deafener”. (Apologies to all bodhrán players, no offence intended). During the League Cup Final, Bill Dwyer sang me a verse of Todd Lundgren’s , “Can we still be friends?”, and then at The Vineyard, I had a “Big Tom” moment. For the benefit of those who haven’t been following these tortuous blogs, one of our players had asked us recently who was Big Tom? I met Pacelli and Dympna Donegan who mentioned casually that they were going to see “The Killers” on Tuesday evening. I thought initially they had said “The Killer”, and that would have been the great Jerry Lee Lewis, but he will be 87 next birthday. Again, in the interests of broadening my horizons, I discovered that The Killers were an American Rock band formed in Las Vegas in 2001; the lead singer is Brandon Flowers, and it was anticipated that the last song in the set at Malahide Castle would be “Mr Brightside”.
I had another “Big Tom” moment the following week when Barbara Thornton told me that she was going to hear Picture This at Malahide Castle. I had never heard of them either, but I engaged in further research and found that the members of the band were from Athy and that they played a mixture of “indie pop”, “alternative rock” and “pop rock”.
The Hills v Phoenix
With Saturday being a closed day for Premier League cricket, the second series of games in the IBI Corporate Finance League were played on Sunday. The Hills welcomed Phoenix to The Vineyard, and having won the toss, chose to bat first. The highlight of The Hills’ innings was a brilliant knock of 134 runs by Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin, and the home team ended on a total of 291 for 7 wickets. Phoenix’s replay had a disastrous start with the first wicket falling to Dylan Blignaut when there was only 1 run on the board, and 6 wickets had fallen before the 25 overs mark. At that stage, the lower-order Phoenix batsmen decided that attack was the best form of defence, and the fight back caused some anxiety among the home supporters. An eighty-one-run partnership between Theo Dempsey (19) and Conor Shiel (58) brough the Phoenix score up to 214, and a number of rain delays added to the general tension. After the final stoppage for rain, The Hills’ bowing attack of Matthew Weldon, Tomás Rooney-Murphy and Levon Shields showed commendable composure, and the last two Phoenix wickets were taken for 6 runs to leave The Hills with a victory margin of 67 runs.
I was asked recently if I did anything else except eat breakfast and look at cricket so in the interests of balance, it is only right to report that the Cricket Leinster Archive Project is progressing satisfactorily. An Agreement between Dublin City Library and Cricket Leinster is due to be signed very shortly, and the process of transferring the records and papers which the late Michael Sharp kept so meticulously will commence during the next ten days. Cataloguing will be done at Inch, North County, and Cricket Leinster is very grateful to North County Cricket Club for providing storage and office facilities.
15 June 2022
On Wednesday, I attended the funeral Mass for the late Frances Harper, wife of the recently deceased Ivan, and our condolences go to the immediate Harper family, relatives and friends who have now suffered two bereavements within seven months.
16 June 2022
The AGM of Cricket Leinster was held at Pembroke CC on Thursday. Well done to all involved in the preparation of papers and congratulations on the success of the meeting. I had the privilege of nominating John Heavey to serve a second term as Chairperson of Cricket Leinster, and it was very gratifying to see that the nomination of a very fine cricket man was passed by acclamation.
The placename, the Man-O-War continues to intrigue, and on this occasion, it was John Heavey who was unfortunate enough to ask me about its origin. I opted to give him the abbreviated version because John has enough on his plate without having to listen to lengthy discourses. The official Irish language translation (An Long Cogaidh: The Fighting Ship) which is seen on signposts is probably wrong, and it is thought that Man-O-War is either a corruption of An Meán Bhóthar (Middle Road) or An Meán Bharr (Middle Height).
17 June 2022
I went to the Third ODI today at Clontarf between Ireland Women and South Africa Women. From a spectator’s perspective, it appeared to be one game too many for the Ireland Women. The bowling and fielding lacked the zip of previous games, and a difficult start to the batting meant that the team was always on the back foot. Nevertheless, the series has provided invaluable developmental opportunities for the players, and the win in the first T20 game will live long in the memory.
I have also been asked if the things that I mention really happened or are the blogs just the product of an over-active imagination? I have another story to add to the list today because as I was leaving Castle Avenue, I saw a bus with a Laois registration and the company name of Sliabh Bloom. Being of an inquisitive nature, I asked the driver what part of Laois he was from, and he said that he was from Mountmellick. I told him that I was originally from Portlaoise, and he asked me if I knew Kevin Farrell? Kevin Farrell and I were in the same class in school, and I was best man for Kevin at his wedding. Mark, the bus driver was one of Kevin and Tina Farrell’s sons, and this epiphany was witnessed by David O’Connor and Martin Russell.
18 June 2022
In the interests of historical accuracy, it is necessary to report that Michael Dwyer opted for the “hearty” breakfast this morning rather than his more accustomed “healthy” breakfast. After breakfast, I did an interview with Fergus Carroll for NEAR FM, and I gave Fergus the benefit (?) of my views on a wide range of cricketing topics. With breakfast and the interview completed, it was time to head for The Vineyard where the visit of Pembroke, the newly crowned League Cup champions was eagerly awaited. Pembroke won the toss; chose to bat first and lost 3 wickets for 26 runs but a stand of 126 runs between Theo Lawson and Poonish Mehta threatened to bat The Hills out of the game completely. A few quick wickets fell, but Paul Lawson (34) and Mehta (144*) brought the Pembroke score up to the very daunting total of 282 runs for the loss of 6 wickets. The Hills battled manfully but finished on 260 runs to give Pembroke a victory margin of 22 runs. For the second successive week, Poonish Mehta had given a match-winning performance with bat and ball despite being unable to bowl off his full run-up.
Thanks very much to the people who have told me that they are enjoying these meanderings, and I promise that the forthcoming episodes will be more concise although I have never managed to live up to the adage that “brevity is the soul of wit”.