Damp start to the season in Leinster
Emmet Riordan (Irish Times)
A DAMP and grey start to the Leinster cricket season meant bowlers were to the fore in the opening weekend exchanges with the six teams batting first in the top two divisions averaging just over 110.
Merrion got their campaign off to a winning start, claiming a valuable six-wicket victory away to North County in Balrothery in a match reduced to 30 overs per side.
Despite the conditions, the home side managed to post a reasonable score of 132 off their allotment, losing their final wicket off the last ball of the innings.
With one eye on the weather, Merrion’s top order raced away in reply, scoring 59 off the first 12 overs, with Dom Joyce making 39 and skipper John Anderson 40 as Merrion got home with five balls to spare.
Leinster made a strong statement of their intentions on their return to Division One as they hammered Clontarf by 10 wickets at Castle Avenue.
Australian Tim Law made a stunning debut for the Rathmines side, taking six wickets for 34 as ’Tarf were skittled for just 59 after being put into bat. Leinster’s openers chased down the target in the 17th over, with Craig Mallon finishing unbeaten on 26 as they claimed the full 25 points.
They certainly fared better than the other promoted side, as Terenure suffered an eight-wicket defeat to The Hills in Milverton.
Ireland international Max Sorensen continued his good form from the recent World Twenty20 qualifiers, taking four wickets for 12 runs as Terenure were bowled out for 91.
Opening bowler Ken Brennan removed both Hills openers with just 15 on the board, but an unbeaten 79-run stand between Mike Baumgart and Naseer Shoukat helped the home side reach their target in the 21st over.
The clash between YMCA and Railway Union was postponed due to an unplayable pitch at Claremont Road.
Phoenix and Pembroke both won their opening games after the drop to Division Two and followed it up yesterday with victories in the two Bob Kerr Irish Senior preliminary round games.
Barry McCarthy put in a fine all-round performance with 78 runs and three wickets as Pembroke beat Leinster seconds by 95 runs in Rathmines on Saturday, while skipper Theo Lawson’s knock of 88 at Sydney Parade yesterday helped his side post 227. It proved well beyond Malahide’s reach, as they were bowled for 62, with Allan Eastwood taking five wickets for 23.
Phoenix were even more impressive, recording a 10-wicket victory over Old Belvedere at home in the league and a nine-wicket win over Rush away in the cup.