19 June - after the publication of the last epistle, Ger Siggins was in touch to say that he had received an alternative suggestion for the origin of the placename for the Man-O-War. He had been told by a person at The Nevitt (Man O-War CC’s former ground) that the name was derived from An Meán Iarthair (the mid-West), and that sets up a philosophical conundrum- west of where? I think that topic is now exhausted unless someone has some startling revelation to add to our corpus of knowledge.
I abstained from breakfast on Sunday morning, partially because the dietary police are on my case about eating too many cooked breakfasts, but I was also saving myself for the beautiful scones and cream that were being prepared for the visit of Cork County CC.
Prior to indulging myself on scones, jam, and cream, I drew tickets for the winners to attend one of the T20 games between Ireland and India with the proceeds of the Draw going to the Cricket Leinster Disability Programme. To ensure transparency, the conduct of the Draw was overseen by Philip Smith, General Manager of Cricket Leinster, Martin Russell, Past President of The Hills CC and Bobby Swarbrigg, President-Elect of The Hills CC.
The Cork County Cricket Club’s players and officers were very welcome visitors for the second-round Irish Senior Cup clash. The Hills won the toss, batted first, and lost a wicket with only 8 runs on the board, but Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (68) and Athar Farooqi (27) overcame that set-back and combined for a commendable partnership of 74 runs which ended when Farooqi was victim of an unusual dismissal – hit his own wicket. Mark Donegan batted brilliantly for his maiden senior century; at the close of The Hills’ innings, he was 127*, and The Hills’ first innings total was 293 runs for 6 wickets.
At a very pleasant ceremony during the interval between innings, Mortimer Kelleher, President of Cork County CC, thanked The Hills Cricket Club for the warmth of its welcome, congratulated The Hills’ Catering Committee on the excellence of the “teas”, especially the scones which were made by a lady from Douglas, and he presented The Hills with a framed photograph of the great Sir Garfield Sobers. Bobby Swarbrigg, President-Elect of The Hills CC, thanked Mortimer Kelleher for his kind words, and he reciprocated by presenting him with a Hills 50th Anniversary Tie and a book. David Griffin, President of Cricket Ireland, was present at the game, and he also received a tie to mark his visit to The Vineyard.
Cork County made a steady start to its innings, and the first wicket did not fall until the score was 31 runs, but another wicket fell after only 1 more run had been added with the result that Cork County was on the back foot from that point onwards. Athar Farooqi was the bowling star on the day, with 5 wickets for 16 runs, while Tomás Rooney-Murphy, Matthew Weldon, Ashad Farooqi and Bhavesh Lakhotia took one wicket each. Cork County’s final score was 88 runs, and that gave The Hills a victory margin of 205 runs.
My musical education continues to be enhanced, and this was thanks to John Derham, one of the players on The Hills Second XI who told me that he was going to Malahide to hear Gerry Cinnamon. I deemed it incumbent on me to find out something about Gerry Cinnamon, and my good friend, Google, came to the rescue again.
Gerry’s birth name is Gerard Crosbie; he was born on 1 October 1984, and his genres are Indie Rock, Indie Folk, Folk Rock, and Anti-Folk. The last genre intrigued me, and I wondered if this was a movement akin to the anti-bodhrán faction to which I had referred in Log 4. I discovered that Anti-Folk is a genre that has its roots in the 1960s folk music scene, with its aim being to “mock the perceived seriousness of the time’s mainstream music scene.” I’m as wise as ever after reading that definition, but my sources told me on Tuesday that the concert was “great”.
21st June - I received an invitation from Brían O’Rourke, Cricket Leinster Development Officer for Fingal, to attend the final of the Leprechaun Cup between St Patrick’s SNS, Skerries and Rush NS. I saw a very good standard of cricket which reflected very well on the work being done in the schools and the local clubs.
After a hard-fought game, St Patrick’s SNS emerged victorious; Dick Forrest, Secretary of the Leprechauns Cricket Club, complimented both teams and presented the cup to the captain of St Patrick’s SNS.
I was on the horns of a dilemma as I drove home because The Hills and Pembroke were playing a T20 game in The Vineyardthat evening, and planning permission had become somewhat restricted due to an observation which our grandson had made the previous week. As I was going out, he commented that“Granda was going out again” (emphasis on the again!), and Tuesdays are one of the days that his parents bring him over to see us. However, I was delighted to see their car at our house which meant that the visit was taking place early in the afternoon, and to paraphrase the old advertisement for Bergerpaint, things were “looking good” for a return trip to The Vineyard.
The necessary permission was granted, and I was greeted with ironic applause as I drove into The Vineyard because a second apparition in one day was unexpected. For the Pembroke players, it was their second odyssey to Fingal within four days, and for The Hills, there was an immediate opportunity to redress the balance to some extent after Saturday’s defeat. Pembroke won the toss and elected to bat but lost a wicket in the first over. After that, wickets fell regularly, and the only substantial partnership (52 runs) was between Danny Hogan (39) and Sanil Gupta (31*). Pembroke’s final total was 140 runs for 7 wickets, and the bowling stars for The Hills were Dylan Blignaut (3 for 27) and Athar Farooqi (2 for 19). A noteworthy feature of the first innings was Michael Dwyer’s return to umpiring duties at square leg due to the non-arrival of the officially appointed umpire.
In the second innings, The Hills lost a wicket in the first over, and Mark Donegan did not repeat the heroics of Sunday, but Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (41*) and Dylan Blignaut (84*) were men on a mission, and the target was reached in the seventeenth over.
The Hills CC is an equal opportunities club, and this was demonstrated during the interval when Miranda Andrews and Nick Farrell were in charge of rolling the wicket, under the supervision of Johnny Archer. This observation regarding equal opportunities produced the inevitable response in our house, “when are you going to start cooking?”
25th June - as I was driving to Claremont Road, I concluded that the person in charge of traffic management in Dublin is probably a Snakes and Ladders champion because he /she managed to stymie every attempt that a motorist might make to avoid a traffic jam. We had traffic for the games in Croke Park, the city was closed for the Pride Parade, it was decided to have a one-way traffic system after the East Link and the Gilford Road was closed to traffic. Eventually, I arrived at YMCA’s ground, and hastened to meet Michael Dwyer so that we could partake of breakfast. Michael was back to the healthy breakfast option and as a concession to healthy eating, I had poached rather than fried eggs.
YMCA has always been a hospitable cricket club, and visitors to the ground are assured of a warm welcome from Heatley and Anita Tector, Alan Lewis, Arthur Vincent, and Aideen Rice among others. I had a number of conversations with Graham Ford, the former Ireland Cricket Coach, who has settled in very well at Claremont Road, and is enjoying his new role.
Games between The Hills and YMCA are usually close-run affairs, but this game constituted a major departure from tradition. The first Hills’ wicket fell when the score was 14 runs, and the second wicket fell after 20 runs had been added. A partnership of 79 runs between Athar Farooqi (40) and Dylan Blignaut (42) gave The Hills hope of posting a competitive score, but their wickets fell at 113 and 114 runs respectively. Mark Donegan (31) and Levon Shields (12) added a further 42 runs, but the big partnership which the situation demanded never materialised. There were two run outs and The Hills’ final score was 227 runs for the loss of 8 wickets.
Had The Hills enough runs? It is rarely wise to pontificate on what constitutes a good score in the first innings, but among The Hills’ cognoscenti, it was being suggested that the team was about 50 runs short of a good total. The wicket of Mitchell Thompson was taken by Dylan Blignaut, thanks to a smart catch by Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin when YMCA had only scored 28 runs, and that was the last success which The Hills had during a very chastening afternoon. Jack and Tim Tector batted brilliantly, punished any loose bowling, and ran very well between the wickets. Jack scored 107* and Tim scored 105*, and YMCA reached the target in the 43rd over.
The performance of the Tectors was a bonanza for statisticians as they wondered if brothers had ever scored centuries in the same game in Ireland or for Ireland? There was plenty of time to engage in research and also earn Brownie points because the inclement weather on Sunday made staying at home a necessity. Heatley Tector, Ger Siggins, and Barry Chambers were very helpful in the quest for answers with Heatley quick to point out that Jack (88) and Harry (137) had come very close to this feat in a game against Rush on 3 August 2019.
However, the closest was in the Irish Senior Cup in 1995, when North Down beat Downpatrick by 10 wickets, and Charlie Mc Crum scored 125* and Paul, his brother, scored98*. Although not in a limited overs competition, Niall O’Brien (135) and Kevin (171*) scored centuries in a victory over Kenya; incidentally, André Botha scored a century (109) in the same game, and Andy White (92) was only deprived of a century by the declaration.
29th June - the Cricket Leinster Archive Project commenced in earnest on this day. Thanks very much to Joey Mooney for providing the transport and assisting with moving the files from the Sharp household to the van. Thanks to Mary and Cliodhna Sharp for facilitating the transfer of the records which Michael and Mary Sharp had organised so diligently and meticulously over the past forty years. The process of preparing the files for transfer to the Dublin City Library in Pearse Street will now commence. Thanks to John Andrews and to Joey Mooney for ensuring that the files are stored safely at North County CC, Inch.
1st July - early on Friday morning, I participated in a Zoommeeting with a number of cricket afficionados, and I was asked how the sales of the book were progressing. I was able to report that there had been a royalties lodgement that morning to my bank account which I thought was the dreaded “Nelson” - €111, but on closer inspection, it turned out to be €1.11 so my wife may have to opt for Marino rather than Mauritius for the holiday break.
The plan for the rest of the day was straightforward – go to Kenure Park for the T20 game between Typhoons and Scorchers, and then drive down the road to The Vineyard for the game between The Hills and Rush, but to quote Robert Burns, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us naught but grief and pain”. I saw some cricket but nothing like the amount that I had hoped to see. The Typhoons batted first, and a number of batters got starts, but the stand-out performer was Laura Delany who scored 54 runs off 35 balls. There were some interruptions for rain, and the last one ended the game after 16.5 overs.
When I arrived at The Vineyard, things were looking promising for a full game, but my friends who are avid followers of weather forecasts and the weather radar, informed me that there would be torrential rain from 7.00 p.m. onwards. Rush batted first, and we had the opportunity to marvel at the wonderful batting of Llewelyn Johnson who scored 93 runs off 44 balls.
At that stage, the anticipated downpour occurred, and the game was abandoned. Arthur Vincent’s title of the leading “Rainy President” may be under threat if this pattern of monsoon weather continues, but every cloud has a silver lining, I was home earlier than anticipated, bearing two Happy Meals so all was sweetness and light in preparation for a weekend of cricket.
2nd July - on Saturday morning, Michael Dwyer and I decided that the day must be started with breakfast, and he suggested that I should be more adventurous in my choice of food, so I opted for Eggs Benedict. It is unwise ever to say never so I will content myself with reporting that I will be reverting to my usual breakfast on the next outing.
After breakfast, I drove to Balbriggan for the game between the high-flying home club and The Hills. Balbriggan won the toss and elected to bat first, and The Hills chose to open the bowling with pace at one end, and spin at the other end. This combination proved to be very effective with The Hills taking 4 wickets for 41 runs by the seventeenth over. Another wicket was taken in the twentieth over, and Jonathan Tall had taken 3 wickets for 25 runs in his ten-overs spell. Dylan Blignaut and Tomás Rooney-Murphy were the other wicket-takers during this period, and it appeared that the visitors were in the box seat. Balbriggan’s fight back was led by Gregory Ford (40), Ryan Hadley (20), Campbell Davies-Webb (10), and Andrew Darroch (10), and the home side’s total was 159 all out in 44.4 overs. Jonathan Tall was the stand-out bowler for The Hills, and the figures for the other bowlers were Tomás Rooney-Murphy (3 for 33), Dylan Blignaut (2 for 32), Levon Shields (2 for 28).
Balbriggan has always been a very hospitable club, and it would be remiss of me not to mention the tea, sausage sandwiches, scones, Swiss rolls, and biscuits which we received during the innings break.
Back to the cricket and The Hills had a nightmare start with the fall of a wicket in the 2nd over when there were only 5 runs on the board. Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin and Athar Farooqi set about re-building the innings and combined for a partnership of 39 runs which ended when Farooqi was run out.
Dylan Blignaut and Cormac (37) put together another partnership of 39 runs when Cormac was unlucky to be bowled in an over which had already yielded 11 runs. Dylan Blignaut (19) was out to a brilliant catch on the boundary by Chris de Freitas off the bowling of Dylan Lues, and that was possibly the pivotal moment of the game.
From that point onwards, Balbriggan managed to impose a stranglehold on the game through a combination of tight, accurate bowling and good fielding. Tomás Rooney-Murphy (19) and Bhavesh Lakhotia (16) led a spirited resurgence, but the last 4 wickets fell for 2 runs, and Balbriggan had won by 23 runs to maintain its unbeaten record in the league. The bowling honours for Balbriggan were taken by Ryan Hadley (3 for 22), Andrew Darroch (2 for 12), Dylan Lues (2 for 23), Farooq Nasr (1 for 31) and Malcolm McGregor (1 for 24).
Balbriggan has assembled a very competitive team and will be difficult to beat either home or away. On this occasion, The Hills bowled and fielded well, but the batsmen will be disappointed not to have chased down 159 runs.
The blog would be incomplete if I did not refer to the return of the Hipaclaptics to The Vineyard on Saturday, 2 July. In keeping with my desire to be well-informed, I asked what kind of music did they play? Like the Eagles? No. Like Black Sabbath? No. I was told that the music was somewhere in-between so I checked the Hipaclaptics’ Facebook page to discover that the group featured the music of Adam Ant, Blur, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, U2, Rolling Stones, Simple Minds, Sex Pistols, Boomtown Rats, AC/DC, the Stranglers and many more!
It promised to be a long night if they got through that repertoire so I gave it a miss, but I will obtain a full report for the next blog.