Botha century ensures County beat Merrion
Batting first Merrion got off to a steady start and had reached 41 when Denver de Cruz found his radar and in less than 2 overs removed 'Ronnie' Barker, John Anderson and Kade Beasley. Pradeep Lavang hung around without ever looking convincing and when Reinhardt Strydom removed him and Peter Blakeney in consecutive deliveries Merrion were 80 for 5 and in trouble. But throughout all this, Dom Joyce had batted calmly at the other end and he found the perfect foil in Damien Poder. Together they added 88 in little more than an hour until Poder (42) found the safe hands of De Cruz on the mid wicket boundary. Shortly after Joyce was well caught by Conor Armstrong at ankle height on the long on boundary for an excellent 96. The innings closed on 218 for 8 after Tiktesh Patel dumped John Mooney's final delivery into the car park. De Cruz (3 for 31) and Strydom (2 for 16) were the most successful bowlers.
It looked like a tight match was in prospect but Merrion's plans came off the rails in the third over when Matt Petrie pulled up with a side strain and took no further part in the game. County openers Conor Armstrong and Strydom tucked into whatever bowling was put to them - Jeff Short, Richard Keaveney, Pradeep and Poder were all put to the sword as the scoreboard ticked along at 7+ per over. Strydom was out lbw to Poder for 31 but this only brought André Botha to the wicket and he continued the attack. Pradeep got through Armstrong's defences for 40 and John Mooney and Ciaran Garry came and went. But Botha went from strength to strength. A delicately nudge 4 off his hips followed by a straight 6 over long on saw him to 101* and County home by 6 wickets with 14 overs to spare.