The Ger Siggins Column
Inside Edge: 9 May
It was a frustrating weekend for George Dockrell. After a headline-grabbing start to the season with Somerset, he ran into a couple of in-form aggressive Surrey batsmen in a televised match on Friday night. And then, home in Dublin for a rare visit, he spent Monday afternoon paddling around the outfield in Pembroke.
“It was disappointing”, he told Inside Edge. “I was looking forward to playing for Trinity. The college has been very good to me and I had hoped to play a bit more.”
A first year science student, Dockrell’s Somerset commitments have meant he had been unable to link up with the college team.
“This was the first weekend a Somerset game didn’t coincide with a Trinity game so it was great to come over, but the weather has ruined that.”
It was actually Dockrell’s first weekend in Dublin since January, and he took the chance to catch up with friends and family and visit his old Leinster club.
“I was in Kenya, South Africa and Dubai for six weeks with Ireland, home for one night then off to Somerset.”
Even though England has been blighted by a soggy start to the summer, Dockrell’s club has been lucky to complete four four-day games and snapped up 13 wickets. He enjoys the life of the young county professional.
“I live in a cottage in the corner of the county ground with three other young pros”, he explained. “Its just living the cricket at the moment,” he says, “it can be quite intense, and there’s not many days off, but it’s a great way to better your game. Living just one minute from the gym means you can train or work on your game at the drop of a hat”.
Somerset’s star batsman is Marcus Trescothick, and Dockrell enjoys the challenge of bowling to him.
“It’s just amazing to play with a guy like him. At training I give myself a challenge of trying to bowl him dot balls.”
Surrounded by coaches now, Dockrell’s bowling has leapt forward.
“We have a full-time spin bowling coach here, and we’ve also brought in [former Pakistan star] Saqlain Mushtaq for sessions. You listen to everybody and then work out what to do with your game.”
With several of his Irish team-mates around the county circuit he meets them regularly, but has found Twitter a good way of keeping up.
“Most of the guys are on Twitter and there’s always a lot of banter there. Most of the abuse seems to go in my direction though!”
Tweet of week: proud dad John Mooney (@johnboy636) asks “Check out these.vests I got for my baby at @apsportsie” as he shows off his daughter’s new kit. She’ll be in the County starring lists soon enough!
Yet another young Irish player made his county debut this week. Derry-born Graeme McCarter impressed many Sky Sports viewers by clean-bowling in-form Middlesex and England bat Joe Denly in a return of 3-41. McCarter, 19, has been at Gloucestershire since 2008 and made his Ireland debut last summer against Namibia. Now having broken into the county team, he will hope to stay there and catch Phil Simmons’ eye.
While most focus will be on the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup this weekend, for others the RSA National Cup will be a highlight of the season.
This fascinating new competition revives the old Irish Junior Cup and has thrown up fixtures such as County Kerry v Longford and County Clare v Ballaghadereen. Tie of the round is at Balbriggan where Ciftonville are the visitors while Downpatrick, one of the previous winners of the senior cup in this event (Malahide is the other), hosts Drummond.
The Irish women’s side had a winning start to their county championship campaign in England. A largely development side has been promoted in each of the last two seasons but many of the big guns were on show on Monday in Cambridge, with Cecilia Joyce making an unbeaten 50 and Louise McCarthy and uncapped Clodagh Conway among the wickets.
Top local performer: Shahid Iqbal (Rush) who made 102 and then took 6-15 as Rush demolished Leinster in the Senior 2 encounter
This column first appeared in the Irish Daily Star.