Sun 16th Jul 2017
Clontarf and Merrion lead the way
Morne Bauer in Action: 5/41 for Cork yesterday in losing cause.
Russell Court D1 & D2 Leagues
If this was election night then based on a combination of exit polls and early returns there would probably be a rush by the main news channels to see who would be first to call the result. The outcome from the latest round of of matches in the Russell Court D1 and D2 leagues has been that the positions at the top and bottom of the league tables have been reinforced. Not only did Clontarf defeat their nearest rivals Phoenix, but North County, the third placed team going into the day, also suffered a big defeat. With a gap of 45 points between the two top teams and a further 17 points between second and third, Clontarf are in a dominant position. In a situation akin to the Scottish Premier League we are simply waiting for the inevitable. The mathematicians may have to wait a few more weeks but any change in the predicted outcome would require not only an implosion in Clontarf but one of their nearest rivals reeling off five or six wins in a row. Neither eventuality looks at all likely.
The position at the bottom of the table is looking similarly settled. Cork County gave up an excellent chance to drag Leinster into a relegation battle and that loss means that they are 40 points adrift from their nearest rival Pembroke. Not an impossible gap to close by any means - but certainly the odds are lengthening as each week passes.
The position at the top of RCD2 is even more clear cut. Another full point win by Merrion means that they have now overtaken Dublin University [who of course have completed their programme]. Losses by Malahide and North Kildare has widened the points margin in their favour to nearly 100 points [with five rounds to play]. Not even the mathematicians will retain any interest in this contest much longer. Rush are now bottom of the table followed by Balbriggan [who have a game in hand] but this may not mean much given the dominance of Division 3 by the 2nd XIs of the larger clubs and their general reluctance to accept promotion.
The last three seasons have seen knife edged contests at the top and bottom of the tables right up to the final weekend. The leagues do not seem to be panning out that way this year. We will have to look for our adrenaline fix somewhere else.
A certain waning of interest in the points battle should not let us lose sight of some excellent individual performances. There were no less than six centuries - Simi Singh  with the day’s highest score, Max Sorensen [108*] with the days fastest [in 57 balls] and twice in one innings for Merrion [Dom Joyce 101 and Jamie Brown 104] and for Railway [Alec Stiles 108 and Kevin O’Brien 125*]. Best bowling of the day - Morne Bauer [5/41] for Cork County v Leinster, Malik Hussain [4/24] for Terenure against Malahide, Albert van der Merve [4/21] for The Hills v Pembroke and Conor Kelly [4/42] for Clontarf against Phoenix.
One final, slightly disturbing, feature of the day was the number of very one-sided encounters. There were no really close contests and only a couple that retained real interest [at least for the neutral] beyond the halfway mark.
IBI Corporate Finance LSC
Today four of the teams, all of whom had big wins yesterday, come together in the semi-finals of the IBI Corporate Finance Leinster Senior Cup. Merrion take on Clontarf at Anglesea Road - matching up two in-form sides leading their respective leagues. Before yesterday the second match between Railway and The Hills at Park Avenue might have been thought a one-sided affair. But with Railway batting beginning to fire - anything is possible.
Merrion and Clontarf make one change for todays game with Michael Lewis coming in for Rory Allwright [Merrion] and Andrew Vincent for Andrew Poynter [Clontarf]. Railway also make one change - Abdullah Hafeez for Paddy Guest. The Hills field the same side.
Clontarf: Joe Morrissey [C], Sameer Dutt, Declan Gallagher, Ropu Islam, Waqar Azmat, Bill Coghlan, Andrew Vincent, Conor Kelly, Robert Forrest, John Mooney, Brad Barnes [W]
Merrion: Dom Joyce [C], John Anderson, Jamie Brown, Vikas Dhiman, Bhavesh Lakohatia, Max Neville, Tom Stanton, Sean Stanton, Michael Lewis, Patrick Tice [W], Tyrone Kane.
Railway Union: Kenny Carroll [C}, Rachit Gaur, Alex Stiles, Kevin O'Brien, Ranil Dhammika, Dhram Singh, Robin Russell, Mo Tariq, Saad Ullah, Ciaran Divney, Abdullah Hafeez
The Hills: Max Sorensen [C], Mark Donegan[W],, Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin, Albert Van der Merwe, Sean Terry, Hamid Shah, Ryan Cartwright, Naseer Shoukat, Tomás Rooney Murphy, Luke Clinton, Yaqoob Ali