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Mon 20th Mar 2017

By Paul Reynolds

Division 16 preview - Leinster’s pedigree should show

Division 16 stats

Leading all time run scorer (2011-2016) - Terry Bruton (Ashbourne) - 613 runs @ 55.73
Most runs in a Division 16 season - Sunil Kant Trikha (Carlow) - 528 runs (2015)
Highest score - Sunil Kant Trikha (Carlow) - 156 - Carlow 1 vs Bagenalstown 3 - Carlow RFC - 7 June 2015
Leading all time wicket taker (2011-2016) - Stephen Hadley (Bagenalstown) - 36 wkts @ 15.19
Most wickets in a Division 16 season - Aj Malhan (North Kildare) - 33 wkts (2015)
Best bowling - Mark Rutledge (Merrion) - 6-9 - Adamstown 5 vs Merrion 8 - Corkagh Park - 10 Sept 2016
Highest team score - 440-6 - Carlow 1 vs Bagenalstown 3 - Carlow RFC - 7 June 2015
Lowest team score - 34 all out - Ashbourne 2 v Bagenalstown 3- Ashbourne- 16 July 2016

Most Matches in Division 16 (2011-2016) - Robbie O'Neill (Bagenalstown) - 20 (2015-16) and Tushar Verma (Adamstown) - 20 (2015-2016)


And so it starts, our countdown to the start of the 2017 season. All the action kicks of on April 9th, but before then we will have our preview of all sixteen Open Competitions leagues.

It promises to be a brilliant year for cricket in Ireland, with continued success for the national women's and men's teams, the newly adorned first class competition for Leinster Lightning and plenty of new developments across the club game. And it is that club game that provides thousands of players across the island with their weekly cricketing fix. Without the players, the sport wouldn't exist for everyone else to enjoy. 

So without further ado, here is our Division 16 preview for the 2017 season!

There has been a good deal of reorgaisation across the Open Competitions this season. The new Development League has meant that several clubs have entered in team in that instead. There are three less teams entered across the board - a combination of new teams being entered, and teams moving across to the new league. For those in Division 16, it means that a finish in roughly the same position as in 2016 will see an actual improvement across the leagues - for example botto place in 2016 was 127th in the league - this year it is 124th.

Ashbourne 2 finished bottom of Division 16 last year, and it looks as if it may be similar in 2017. Their first year was promising, and the prediction for the year is based more on the strengths of others than weaknesses in Ashbourne. Their win over Balbriggan 4 last year shows what is possible, but losses against Bagenalstown and Adamstown could be a signal for a tough year. To move up the table, they'll need to be beating those two teams, as well as one of the teams that came down from higher divisions. A tough ask.

Clondalkin 2 are one of the new teams in the league this season, and for two reasons we are predicting they will come near the bottom in their first season. For starters, it is phenomenally difficult for teams to do well in their first year. On top of that,  we have no current idea of how they will perform. Saying that, Clondalkin are one of the best organised clubs around, and if anyone is going to over achieve, it is them. A top two finish looks out of the question, mid table is eminently possible, but we'll predict sixth, based on the fact that nothing will separate positions three to seven, and they are unlikley to come bottom.

Bagenalstown 3's 2016 season was promising without setting the world on fire. There were wins against Balbriggan and Ashbourne, which needs to be set against four consecutive losses against Adamstown 5 over the last two seasons. Balbriggan look to be stronger, Clondalkin will be no push over, and Leinster and Civil Service look strong for this level. So there will need to be a massive improvement for Bagenalstown to improve their position. Fifth place would be their highest league finish in their three years of competition, and we think they may just do it.

Balbriggan 4 entered the league in 2016. Their first season was very much about introducing new players and youth players to the game, and the season was a massive success in that respect. In the results ledger is was less successful, which didn't matter at the time, but takes on more importance in 2017. The club looks to have plenty of new members, and that strength filters down to the lower teams. Anything higher than bottom will be an improvement, and despite not looking strong enough to contend at the very top of the league, mid table should be possible. Fourth.

Civil Service have been a difficult club to keep a tab on in recent years. Lots of players have been joining (as well as leaving), but there has been a slow slide in league position for most of their teams. Civil Service 4 have come between 110th and 119th every season for the past five years - and for them to do the same this year, they will have to win the league. That looks just out of their reach, even when taking their 2015 Division 15 title into account. The tussle for the top should be between Service, Leinster and Adamstown, and as it stands Service will come out third in that tussle. March 20 is a little early to be making accurate calls on such tight outcomes, so we could be wrong!

Adamstown 5 have improved every year since their league debut in 2015, and this year looks to be the one where they make a title challenge. They are unbeaten against all three of the sides they have previously played (Civil Service, Ashbourne and Bagenalstown), and there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to beat the others in the league. They don't (yet) look like a dominant team, but will win more than they lose. We think there will be a promotion spot, but no title.

And that leaves Leinster 6. They didn't put in the most persuasive campaign in 2016, coming rock bottom of Division 12. And despite not much happening down Rathmines way to indicate a hude improvement for the new season, the sixth string should be good enough to find a drop of four divisions far too easy. There isn't much to back that up; only historical data (in 2012 they were playing in the equivalent of Division 9), but history will have to guide us on this one. Leinster 6 to win their first league title since Division 10 in 2012.

The first matches are on April 22, when Adamstown 5 entertain Ashbourne 2, and Balbriggan 4 travel to Clondalkin 2


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