Last Saturday saw the six first round ties in the Royal Sun Alliance Leinster Senior Cup played out in unbroken sunshine. Two ties were all Division 2 affairs, three involved only Division 1 teams, and one saw Malahide of Division 2 travel north up to Balrothery to take on last year's finalists, North County.
John Mooney won the toss for County and asked Malahide to set a score. The Village People obliged with an 82 run opening partnership between Marc Ellison and Neil Boyne. After Boyne fell for 37, Jimmy Govan and Nick Turner quickly followed. Ellison was run out for 55, and on the same total, 135, Ryan Gallagher became Shane Getkate's second victim. Callum Riches (33) and Andy Pyne (38) put on 77, then late hitting from Alan Reynolds, Peter Saville and Peter Chase took the 60 over total to 284-8. County's meanest bowler was former Malahide player Adam Coughlan, with 1/27 off his 12.
Then Chase castled Mooney third ball, Saville had Conor Armstrong caught behind for a duck, and County were 3-2. Ciaran Garry was third out for 21 out of 56, after which Coughlan and Getkate put on 72 against their former teammates. When Coughlan was caught behind off Boyne for 46, that was the beginning of the end. Although Getkate batted on to make 82, nobody stayed with him, and County were all out for 214 in 51 overs, Gallagher taking 4/36. I know it was only half a County side, but it was still an excellent win for the visitors.
Cork County travelled to Cabra with skipper and opening bat Ross Durity acting only as scorer, and without Keith Banks. Ross's deputy won the toss and batted (Cabra pitches never improve through a game), but he was one of three batsmen dismissed early on to leave the score on 20-3. Ward and Darren Fogarty (21) added 61, and then Ward and Mike Reed (29) put on another 74. Ward was dismissed for 70 with the score still on 155, but the total reached 236 in the final over when Saddique was last out for 48. For Belvo, Shahrukh Ahmed took 3/32, Farmann Ullah Yousafzai 2/41, and Nethula nipped in with 2/17 off 5.
Old Belvedere's response was to lose early wickets to reach 36-3, but Nethula stood firm with 31, and after he was out Abou Baker made 34 to take the score to 168-7. The eighth wicket partnership saw Belvo home in the 56th over, Farmaan making 37* and wicketkeeper Tayyab 27*. County didn't help their cause by conceding 57 extras, 23 more than Belvo.
The other Division 2 clash was in Sydney Parade, where Rush were the visitors. Theo Lawson won the toss and backed himself and his mates to score too many for the Russians. Robin Kelly made 27 out of an opening partnership of 56, Andrew Balbirnie missed out (saving himself for Bath, obviously), and Jonathan Beukes joined Lawson for a partnership of 86. Beukes made 34, Lawson 78, before Barry McCarthy teamed up with Robin Russell to put on 119 in jig time. McCarthy was caught off the persevering Shahid Iqbal for 62 (not one of his 22 wides, but perhaps Bazza was reaching for it), and Russell was unbeaten on 70 out of 333-5. If you take out the bowling figures of Amir Iqbal (12-2-32-2) and Lionel Jansen (12-1-47-1) you're left with 36-0-248-2!
After Allan Eastwood bowled Sean Monks for a duck, Patrick Sheridan and Lionel Jansen added 79. But they were each dismissed on that score, Sheridan for 19 and Jansen for 59, and thereafter only Shahid made double figures as Rush were bowled out for 110 in 30.3 overs. Principal plucker of low-hanging fruit was Paul Lawson with a Magnificent 7/12.
The three Division 1 clashes produced emphatic wins ultimately, but two of the ties were in the balance for a while. The one that wasn't was at Milverton, where The Hills backed their bowlers to keep the Terenure batsmen struggling. Sorensen bowled Roxy Morgan early doors, but Mikey Hogan and Andre Botha patiently took the score to 25, when Boatsy, 13, was bowled by Mark Dwyer. Kenny McDonald immediately ran himself out, Mark had Dan van Man lbw, and Sorensen, Mossie Murphy and Jonno Andrews whipped through the last six to bowl them out for 67 (Sorensen 3/17). The Wilberries needed less than ten overs to get home for the loss of two wickets, Darryl Calder making 33.
At Park Avenue, Railway Union asked Leinster to bat first, and the Rathmines men, missing three regulars at a wedding, must have been happy enough to reach 80-1 at lunch, with Pete Johnston and Stephen Moreton well set. But after lunch Moreton fell for 44 out of 113, and that was that. Johnston soldiered on to 62, but nobody else reached twenty. Kevin O'Brien took 3/41, Greg Lambert 3/38 and Patrick Collins 3/43. After Collins made 27 of the first 48, Wor Kev came in and smacked it around. He lost Tom Fisher for 39, but with Kenny Carroll (36*) chased down Leinster's 190 in 27.2 overs, finishing on 80*.
I was at the other end of Sandymount where I watched Merrion subside to 80-6 following a very high class spell of bowking from Trent Johnston (3/13 off 6). Skipper John Anderson and battling Kade Beasley put on 132 together, and after Anderson was out for 88, Beasley for 54, the total reached 240 all out in the final over (Garth 3/43, Jehangir 3/45). Would this be enough to discomfit YMCA? Not a hope. Rainy Strydom walloped a nineteen ball 45 out of 50, Lee Cole, 30, carried on the fun, before Simmi Singh (33) and TJ (68) saw their team to the edge of victory, which eventually came in the 43rd over.