Munster cricket round-up
Cork County drew first blood in the battle for Division One as they overcame the challenge of Limerick Raiders at the Mardyke on Monday, despite the visitors coming agonisingly close to causing an early upset.
A classy batting display from County all-rounder Siddarth Joshi, who recently returned to the side after a spell in India, proved to be the difference between the two sides. He top scored for the hosts with 45 out of their total of 162 all out after 42 overs.
Having bowled so well, The Raiders will still be scratching their heads and wondering how they let this opportunity slip after they were bowled out for 152 with three overs remaining, just 10 runs short of their target.
Meanwhile, Bruce Koch’s Cork County charges will be relieved that they held on to claim the points, but tougher challenges lie ahead for the city side as they prepare to embark on a mammoth season encompassing both Munster Division One and a foray into Leinster Division 2. That challenge will be even harder over the coming weeks with news that batsman, Robert Duggan, sustained a broken toe in the win over The Raiders.
Elsewhere, the Munster Minor Cup kicked off with the encounter between newcomers Nenagh and UCC being pick of the first round matches.
Batting first, UCC could only manage to post 100 off 27 overs before they were bowled out in what was a bizarre innings which included an impressive 61 from opening batsman Ashley with the other ten batsmen only managing 17 runs between them – including five ducks. Extras was the second top scorer on 22.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Tipperary side, with some tight bowling from the students ensuring the home team couldn’t gain momentum early on. However, the Nenagh middle-order got to grips with the bowling attack and put them in a position to claim their first ever win in Munster competition in their debut outing; Sree top scored with 32 as his side crossed the line in the 32nd over for the loss of eight wickets.
There was a big win for Galway over Cork County IV at Lydican, with Pradeep Varma (147) and Kealan Brennan (70) doing the damage for the home side with a 210 run partnership for the first wicket as the home side put a massive 347 for 2 on the board.
Facing into the toughest of tasks, the Cork outfit failed to get going in their innings and folded to just 74 all out in 24 overs.
In Division Three Cork Harlequins III made their intentions for the season clear as they had little difficulty overcoming a weakend UCC side at Farmers Cross.
Having dismissed the students for 180 in the first innings, ‘Quins reached their target for the loss of four wickets with Dave Peet and Hamza Salahuddin, both in ominous form, scoring 69 and 53 respectively.
Last year’s runners-up, Cork County III were on the wrong end of the scoreline on Saturday asLismore claimed their first win of the 2011 season. John Bryan (49) and Shane Rotte (44*) were the heroes for the Waterford outfit who ran out winners by 15 runs.
Cork County IV were forced to abandon their clash with Co Clare on Sunday after rain stopped play. But not before Clare batsman, Conor Mullen, could give all present a master class in batting as he bludgeoned his way to 124 before the heavens opened.