There has been a slight gap since the last entry (in Issue 4) due to some holidays and a unfortunate sinus infection (too much fresh air!). This is why I have always referred these notes as ‘thoughts’ rather than a log, simply what I saw, not a catalogue of cricket events across Leinster.
Saturday 26th August - Two finals took place this in Terenure CC, with firstly the Minor 2 Cup, between the 5th XI of the host club and their counterparts from The Hills.
Terenure won the toss and skipper David Johnston decided to bowl first, some tremendous batting from The Hills saw Kit Kurbah retire on 37, before Peter Stead made 38 and Max Brophy then had an unbeaten 28 to round off proceedings. Danny Whelan the pick of the bowlers for the home side with 2/23 from his four over spell. The Hills finished their 20 overs on 145/5.
The home side got off to an excellent start, with James Prendergast making 36 at the top of the order before he was dismissed by Max Stead. Jake Dillon and Khizer Afridi added 48 for the third wicket. A pair of wickets for Max Brophy rounded off a tight finish to the innings, restricting Terenure to just 112/4 and a 33 run victory for The Hills.
Well done to The Hills 5th team who won the Minor 2 Cup
The second game of the day however was where the drama really unfolded, as Ongar 2 took on Sandyford 4 in the final of the Adamstown Cup, the game was a testament to the growth of the two clubs, with both teams new entries for the 2023 season. Sandyford were in fact the holders of the cup, after their 3rd XI had come out on top in the 2022 edition.
Sandyford won the toss and decided to bat first. However they were off to an unsteady start, as a pair of stumpings for Ongar gloveman and captain Durga Prasad Ravula reduced the side to 29/2. Viswanathan Umamaheswaran led the recovery, and his contribution saw the side to 85/6 with four overs remaining.
The innings threatened to peter out, however a rapid fire 27 from Nitish Batra managed to drag the scoring rate back above a run a ball, before they eventually finished on 134 from their 20 overs, a score which looked like it would be competitive, even if it were a few runs short of what they would have liked.
Ongar's chase started slowly, Piradeesh Menon taking an early wicket and keeping plenty of pressure on, with the chasing side never really getting out of second gear in their opening 8 overs. The score was 34/1, when a significant rain shower saw the game stopped for just under half an hour.
When the sides re-emerged Ongar needed 99 from 12 overs for victory, two quick wickets saw them restricted to 74/4 at the end of 13 overs. Momentum ebbed and flowed, with five overs to go the required rate was down to 8.6 per over, however two excellent overs for the fielding side saw that grow to 11.3 with three overs to go.
15 runs came from the penultimate over, meaning there were 10 needed from the last. The final over opened up with a two, before two wickets and a dot put Sandyford in the box seat yet again. A single off the fifth ball meant a simple equation, six were needed to force a Super Over, anything less would mean Sandyford win.
Nobody reckoned on the third possibility, a wide ball meant six was now needed from the last ball, and a massive blow over long-on sent the entirety of Ongar CC into raptures, with a three wicket victory secured off the final ball.
Ongar CC celebrating a historic Cup win in their first season
Saturday 2nd September – I travelled back to Terenure for the rescheduled Russell Court and Whelan Cup Finals, both featuring the home club and both sponsored by Ed Sports.
First up was the Russell Court trophy Final between Terenure & Carlow - having won the toss, Carlow elected to bowl first and the visitors got off to an excellent start. Mohammad Younas and Akhtiar Dawoodzai bowling their opening spells and taking two wickets each. Reducing the home side to 5/4.
A brief fight back between Abhishek Semalty, 24, and Benjamin Dillon, 19, pulled the score back to 50/5, before Shadeem Khan took 3/7 to bowl Terenure out for just 62 inside 18 overs. Carlow were able to bat fearlessly in the chase, and rapid fire 19s from Mohammed Ismail, and Haibat Dawoodzai pushed the side towards victory, whilst Fawad Ahmad made an unbeaten 17.
No one could begrudge Carlow’s first ever win in this competition (Terenure had won in the two previous years).
I was delighted to pose with the winning team from Carlow – congrats to all
The second game of the day in Terenure saw a fantastic run chase for the home side, as their 3rd XI took home the spoils in the Ed Sports Whelan Cup.
Having won the toss, skipper Anand Haritwal elected to bowl first, off the back of seeing a successful run chase in the first game of the day.
An excellent start for North County saw Safdar Ali blast 60 of the first 75 runs, before an incredible spell of bowling from Khizar Jan spun the game on it. A spectacular catch from Darren Snell at backward point dismissed Ali, as Jan’s 4/8 from 4 overs put Terenure right on top. Two wickets from Darren Snell put North County right behind the rate they were looking for, before a good partnership between skipper Zia Mohyuddin and Abunhav Dutta managed to get the score up to 158/7 in 20 overs.
Terenure’s reply got off to a bad start, with a wicket from the first ball, however a 50 partnership between Ryan Smith and Manav Saravaiya got the innings back on track, before another half-century partnership between Saravaiya and Anand Haritwal brought the side within 50 of their target.
Saravaiya was dismissed for a well-made 68, and a slight wobble saw Terenure 118/4, however with opener Jake Devane bowled out with figures of 2/25 from 4 overs, the bowling side needed to once again turn to their change bowlers.
Haritwal was dismissed for a brilliant 40 with one to win, having tried to scamper a single to win the game. However Terenure scrambled a leg-bye off the final ball of the 19th over to secure the win.
Maurice Whelan, son of the Cup’s donor, presented the trophy to the captain of the winning Terenure team.
Maurice Whelan was on-hand to present the trophy to the winning Terenure team
6th September – I attended Pembroke 3 versus Merrion 2 in Sydney Parade where Pembroke scored 82-7 and Merrion chased it for the loss of just one wicket.
Although not a league final, both teams were near to making it to the top eventually – making it well worth a visit to the ‘parade’. The unusual matching of these team levels was caused by the fact Merrion had dropped a division in 2022.
On a beautiful hot summer’s evening, Pembroke won the toss and batted freely availing of the true wickets and fast out-field. All 7 batters played well against an attack strong Merrion attack which did not use their ‘below the line’ seamers. It only needed 3 Merrion batters to chase the target and this they did with class favouring along-the-ground drives and lovely cut shots to reach their target.
Pembroke must take consolation from the fact that they played well – in particular their two youngest players who batted and fielded exceptionally well.
9th September - Pilkington Plate Final (Women’s 40-Over Match)
Merrion 238 all out in 37.1 overs (Rebecca Stokell 107, Celeste Raack 35, Freya Sargent 3-49, Alice Walsh 2-34)
Clontarf 191 all out in 39.1 overs (Alice Walsh 56, Robyn Searle 26, Celeste Raack 4-35, Rachel Delany 2-21)
Merrion won by 47 runs.
The 40-over formula was one which the remarkable Clarissa Pilkington pioneered to increase Women’s club games of 20 overs and to prepare them for International cricket (usually at least 40 overs). There are some leagues of 50 overs but maybe the jump from 20 to 50 is too much for younger cricketers (as the age of the younger senior cricketers continues to fall).
A spectacular century from Rebecca Stokell was the difference in this match as scoreboard pressure was too much for Clontarf against an excellent all round Merrion attack.
Merrion decided to bat first but Clontarf struck in the first over with Sinead Thompson having Leah Paul caught behind by Robyn Searle. When Rachel Delany fell quickly to leave them at 5-2 the Merrion skipper – and not out batter – Celeste Raack might have been worried. But that brought Stokell to the middle and over the next 78 balls she hit 17 fours in a partnership of 87. The departure of Raack (35 off 63 balls) brought Polly Inglis to the middle.
A fine display of running and stroke making between Inglis and Stokell put on 72 in only 8 overs and took the game away from Clontarf. There were late wickets for Freya Sargent and a couple of run outs as Merrion chased runs saw the home side all out for 238 with 2 overs unused.
Both captains (Raack and Butler) contributed significantly to their side with bat and ball as well as leading their teams skilfully in the match.
It was a pleasure to present the Pilkington Plate to Celeste Raack
The final winning margin did not totally reflect the competitiveness of the final which was on balance the best Senior Final of the year (male or female). If Clarissa had been asked to comment she would have used another of her famous one liners - ‘jolly good’. One nice coincidence was that Julianne Morrissey of Merrion (1 for 28 including one of the openers - she never takes less in a Cup Final) was up against her teenage niece, Genevieve Morrissey who was playing for Clontarf who scored 15 valuable runs when huge pressure was on her side.
Congratulating Julianne Morrissey on the Merrion win
This match had everything and so it might as it was the last women’s game I attended for the season.
16th September – the Premier League play-off, between the second team in the Championship (Phoenix) and the seventh team in the Premier League (Railway Union) was scheduled to take place in the Park (and was the last planned Men’s game which I was scheduled to attend for the season).
Unfortunately persistent rain in the preceding days and on the day itself proved to be the spoil-sport. Despite the gallant attempts by Phoenix CC and their splendid groundsman (Collie Byrne), the game was ‘called’ at 3.00pm with no prospect of play.
The difficult result was that one team was deemed to have won without further activity and this was Phoenix. Railway Union (despite their valiant charge particularly towards the end of the season) had the most difficult experience in sport – being beaten without having lost! That said, no one can begrudge Phoenix cricketers their promotion having fought their way to the top of the Championship this season (nor can one blame the OCC who after a long wet season wanted to bring things to a conclusion before Halloween!).
Many thanks to Phoenix for hosting all the non-cricket elements so well, supplying endless coffee, curry and the usual well-stocked bar. All the hopeful spectators and players were grateful to President Alan Maginnis, his wife Michelle and Christine, Clubhouse & Bar Manager.
Congrats to Phoenix will be in the Premier League for 2024
CONCLUSION ON THOUGHTS FOR THE YEAR
Without being too subtle about it all, the two cut-off date above (9th & 16th September) signal the end of my “thoughts“ which were defined as the comments on my meandering through the cricket grounds of Leinster over the summer of 2023.
Should anything occur in the meantime, I may contact you all before 19th January 2024 (the night of the CL Annual Awards). But this will only be grave news such as the General Manager taking to shooting during the winter or Mick Cotter deciding to purchase a dinner suit to wow the patrons of the Terenure bar. (I am not taking any betting that Kevin Gallagher will resort to ballet lessons in the off-season!).
Despite the weather (and I didn’t notice it that much), it has been a really enjoyable experience. Thank you everyone in cricket (including spectators) for it all.
Pat Banahan, CL President (2023)