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Sat 5th Jan 2019

By Paul Reynolds

Division 2 review 2018 - Malahide dominate with the perfect season

Division 2 stats

Leading all time run scorer (2011-2018) - Lynal Jansen (Rush) - 3121 runs @ 48.02
Most runs in a Division 2 season - 911 - Lynal Jansen (Rush) (2013) and Matt Ford (Malahide) (2018)
Highest score - Robin Kelly (Pembroke) - 219 - Pembroke 1 vs Rush 1 - Kenure - 5 Jun 2012
Leading all time wicket taker (2011-2018) - Lynal Jansen (Rush) - 111 wkts @ 19.61
Most wickets in a Division 2 season - Stephanus Grobler (Cork County) - 32 wkts (2016)
Best bowling - Malcolm Byrne - 7-16 - The Hills 2 vs Old Belvedere - The Vineyard - 22 May 2011
Highest team score - 432-7 - Malahide 1 vs Terenure 1 - Terenure - 9 Jun 2018
Lowest team score - 49 all out - North Kildare 1 vs Dublin University 1 - The Maws - 1 May 2016

Most Matches in Division 2 (2011-2018) - Shahid Iqbal (Rush) - 93 (2011-2018)

Cricket Leinster's new website will be launching in the spring, but until then all player stats for the last eight seasons can be found at https://www2.cricketstatz.com/ss/web.aspx?mode=104&club=4530&team=.

Team of the Year (listed in the order, five batsmen/one wicketkeeper/five bowlers) 

Batsmen: Stephen Doheny (Rush) (Div 2, 2016; Div 6, 2013), Nathan Rooney (Balbriggan) (Div 3, 2016), Timcen Maruma (Balbriggan), Shahid Iqbal (Rush) (Div 2, 2011, 2015), Anish Desai (Malahide)

Wicketkeeper: Fintan McAllister (Malahide) (Div 1, 2015; Div 2, 2017)

Bowlers: Ranil Dhammika (Railway Union) (Div 2, 2017), Matt Ford (Malahide), Emad Uddin (Balbriggan), Dhram Singh (Railway Union) (Div 2, 2017), Peter Chase (Malahide)


Review

Runs per wicket for all teams - 25.09 Runs per over for all teams - 4.92

Malahide 1 - Champions - (Pos in league - 9 (2017 - 11)) - Batting Rating 187 - Bowling Rating 143 - RpO for 6.19 - RpO against 3.74 - Youth %age (by appearances) 5.8%

A dominant season for Malahide 1, who won all eleven league games convincingly. Their two "closest" matches were a 51 run win at home to Railway Union and a 4 wicket win at home to Balbriggan. Such was their superiority that Neil Boyne wasn't required to bat once all season in the nine matches he played, mostly at number nine in the order. Whereas some teams in our reviews have won their league down to grit and determination to eke out close matches, Malahide 1 just blew everyone away. It was the team's 19th league title of all time, broken down into one Senior 3 league in 1944, six Senior 2 leagues between 1945 and 1952, five of the old 45 over short league (1976 to 1998), two Division 2 titles (2014 and 2018) and five "Senior" league titles in 1964, 1971, 1976, 1977 and 1980. Nine players contributed in a major way to the league, with four of them going on to the Team of the Year. Pride of place has to go to Matt Ford, who dominated the league. Oddly he is selected on this team on his bowling (we pick the five best bowlers first, before completing the team with batsman). The fact that he scored 911 runs at an incredible 130.14 - on top of 16 wickets at 11.38 is scarcely believable. The 911 runs ties the record for most runs in a Division 2 season set by Lynal Jansen of Rush in 2013, although Jansen took 13 innings to Ford's 2011. He hit five hundreds, and the whole sequence of scores is perhaps worth documenting - 126* (vs Railway Union), 131 (vs Dublin University), 48, 41, 74, 80, 114 (vs Railway Union), 112* (vs Cork County), 65*, 13* and 107 (vs Balbriggan). Overseas player, New Zealander Anish Desai also made our Team of the Year, despite only starting his season in mid July. He scored 287 runs at 47.83 - not much in comparison to Ford, but still an impressive return with restricted opportunities! There won't be too many arguing with Fintan McAllister's selection as the wicket keeper on our Team of the Year. He was the leading keeper with 20 dismissals, but would have also made the team as a batsman with 373 runs at 62.17. It was the third time in the last four years he has been named on either the Division 1 or Division 2 TotY. The fourth Malahide player on our list started the season by dismissing Virat Kohli for a second ball duck, but now gets the much bigger accolade of being named on a Cricket Leinster Team of the Year for the first time. The lot of a modern professional fast bowler is a bit different to what it was. Dougie Goodwin played 337 times for Malahide, taking 935 wickets in the process as well as playing 43 times for Ireland between 1965 and 1975. It is unlikely that Chase will ever get to play as much for Malahide - he has 73 "Senior" appearances for Malahide taking 81 wickets - but yet has already played 37 times for Ireland. So priorities change, but Chase was allowed to play seven league games for Malahide in 2018, and his class shone through, with 13 wickets at 16.54. The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that reviews rarely comment on the youth percentage for 1st teams - whether that is in Division 12 or Division 2. That is for the very simple reason, that irrespective of the size of a club. priorities change when a team is your flagship team - when it represents your club. So none of the nine players who stand out for mention are youth players, but as it doesn't matter for all the other 41 clubs in the league, it doesn't matter for Malahide (as long as the structures are there with youth players playing on lower teams). And to re-iterate, youth players are important, as without them the only way to improve your club is by attracting new players rather than "growing" your own. Five others had excellent seasons, but were dwarfed by the achievements of their colleagues. Greg Ford scored 334 runs at 37.11 and Arjun Muntha scored 250 runs at 27.78 whilst with the ball James Newland took 20 wickets at 19.45, Neil Boyne took 16 at 17.38 and Keith Reynolds took 12 at 20.17. 2019 promises to be very interesting indeed for Malahide.

Rush 1 - Runners up - (Pos in league - 10 (2017 - 14)) - Batting Rating 123 - Bowling Rating 103 - RpO for 5.93 - RpO against 4.65 - Youth %age (by appearances) 24.5%

A big step in the right direction for Rush 1, who finished in 10th place - their best finish in the last eight years (since being 11th in 2013). They haven't finished in a better league position since their last season in the top flight - 2008. In the end they came up short in the play off game against Leinster - but subsequent league re-organisation meant that that didn't make too much difference either. Two league games were lost to Malahide (obviously!) and the other lost match was against Railway Union - making a pretty decent season all round. Two players made our Team of the Year, at opposing ends of the age spectrum but both equally important to the club. Stephen Doheny already has 2534 Senior runs, an amazing figure for someone who turned 20 during the 2018 season, and this was his 3rd Team of the Year (and second in Division 2). His return for the league season was 682 runs at 68.2, including hundreds against Balbriggan and Terenure. At the other end of the experience scale was Shahid Iqbal who shows no signs of winding his career down and why would he?! Surprisingly, he hasn't made the Division 2 TotY since 2015, but was a pillar of the Rush middle order this year, with 246 runs at 49.2, as well as 11 wickets at 30.18. Rush had one of the most settled teams in the entire league only using 14 players all season in the league, with Jeremy Bray and Nathan McGuire being the only two to play less than five games. Rush's other current interprovincial player was the only other batsman to pass 200 runs, Neil Rock with 301 runs at 30.10. Five bowlers got to 10 wickets - Allan Eastwood (16 at 24.13), Daniel Coffey (13 at 24.31), Iqbal, Subramanya Ramnathpur (10 at 19.5) and Alex Neary (10 at 27.4). With a new overseas player and Jarryd Barnes already on their way to Rush for 2019, it is looking promising for Rush.

Railway Union 1 - 3rd - (Pos in league - 11 (2017 - 13)) - Batting Rating 84 - Bowling Rating 123 - RpO for 4.40 - RpO against 4.26 - Youth %age (by appearances) 9.1%

From the outside, 2018 seemed like a quiet year for Railway Union 1. For the first time in many years, there wasn't a tangle with either end of the table. Of course that isn't how it felt from inside Railway, and for good reason - until September 8 they had a great chance to make the play off. The play-off for the play-off was against Rush in Kenure, and Railway had their chances throughout the game. An adequate batting performance had its moments - 126-3 and 180-6, but only Kenny Carroll's 69 stood out. Again when Rush were 112-5, Railway had a chance, but Shahid Iqbal and Subramanya Ramnathpur added 73 for the 6th wicket to end Railway's chances. Overseas player Ranil Dhammika showed his class once more, making the Team of the Year for the second year in a row with 20 wickets at 10.60. He was the first bowler to take 20 wickets in a league season for Railway since Rachit Gaur took 23 in 2015. Railway Union stalwart Dhram Singh also doubled up on last year's TotY, with 15 wickets at 14.93. Singh is currently second on the list of wickets taken for Railway Union since 2011 with 181 at 23.18 - Nick Jagoe is top with 200 and Hadley Southall third with 174. But strength in depth was Railway's main problem (or perhaps quality in depth). Saad Ullah was the only other bowler of note, taking 10 wickets at 21.46. The batting struggled when compared to the bowling, with the obvious exception of Kenny Carroll who continues his path to greatness. 2018's contribution to his exceptional career was 381 runs at 47.63. Alex Stiles was the only other player to pass 200 runs though (297 at 29.7), and Railway Union will need to find a quality middle order if they are going to win silverware in 2019.

Balbriggan 1 - 4th - (Pos in league - 12 (2017 - 12)) - Batting Rating 123 - Bowling Rating 102 - RpO for 5.63 - RpO against 4.97 - Youth %age (by appearances) 2.5%

Remarkably, Balbriggan 1 finished 12th in the league for the 5th year on the trot. That could be seen as brilliant consistency, or a frustrating lack of progression - something only they will know! The highlight of the season was probably at home to Railway Union in May, when a great all round performance from overseas player Timcen Maruma saw a Balbriggan 5 wicket win. He took 5-22 to precipitate Railway's collapse from 127-3 to 152 all out, before top scoring with 47 to see the team home. Maruma was well worth his place on the Team of the Year, with 448 runs at 56 and 14 wickets at 20.14. There were a number of breakthrough seasons for Balbriggan players, and in some ways it is amazing they didn't move up at least one place in the league. That's a fact born out by our rating that has Balbriggan as the second best team on the pitch over the season. Connor Fletcher proved that 2017 wasn't a one off, with 353 runs at 35.5, and Nathan Rooney showed that at only 21, he still has a bright future ahead. A look at Rooney's batting over the last couple of seasons is instructive. Of players who have scored over 600 runs in the last two seasons, Rooney has the 13th highest average. And the 12 above him are either overseas players (Matt Ford, Trent McGrath, Malcolm Nofal and Jamie Brown) or have already played for Leinster Lightning (John Anderson, Simmi Singh, Dom Joyce, Stephen Doheny, George Dockrell, Eddie Richardson, Fintan McAllister and Bill Coghlan). Going further, the top 26 on that list are all either overseas players or those that have played Interprovincial cricket - apart from Rooney and Alex Stiles. Is Rooney next? Farooq Nasr more than doubled his Division 2 run tally, increasing his 133 at 13.3 (in 2017) to 288 at 28.8 (as well as taking 12 wickets at 33.58). The bowling wasn't quite as strong, and is fascinating for the bowler who has made our Team of the Year. The other four bowlers in the team are a pro, an Ireland bowler, one of the outstanding all rounders in Leinster cricket in 2018, and one of the most consistent bowlers in Leinster over the last few seasons - and Emad Uddin. Uddin made his debut for the club against Terenure in May, taking 3-21, and thereafter played for the 1sts and 2nds all season. His best return was against Cork County with 4-21, and he ended up with 12 wickets at 14.17. Kashif Ali was another to massively improve his 2017 returns, improving 6 Division 2 wickets in 2017 to 17 wickets at 23.76 in 2018. That just leaves Duane Harper (12 wickets at 23.75) and Ehtesham Ahmed (10 wickets at 37.90)

Cork County 1 - 5th - (Pos in league - 13 (2017 - 8)) - Batting Rating 80 - Bowling Rating 84 - RpO for 4.55 - RpO against 5.21 - Youth %age (by appearances) 10.1%

Whilst on the surface, it was a disappointing season for Cork County (their worst finishing position since winning promotion from Division 3 in 2013), it is not really for this review to evaluate the performance. Perhaps their aims and strategies match exactly those of the club and cricket in Munster. With Laois' ground in Togher not being available for rained off replays, Cork County only got to play nine games all season, missing out on matches against Rush and Terenure. Highlights included a win against Dublin University in College Park (stattos may be able to work out the last time Cork County won in College Park, but it isn't in recent times) and a 14 run win away to Balbriggan thanks to 5041 from Diarmuid Carey and 55 from Jeremy Benton. Those two were amongst the leading trio for the team over the season, overseas player Benton scoring 225 runs at 25, and 18 year old Carey taking 13 wickets at 22.54. Ross Durity was the leading run scorer for Cork County in Leinster league cricket for the first time since 2011, with 250 runs at 31.25.

Dublin University 1 - 6th (Pos in league - 14 (2017 - 10)) - Batting Rating 63 - Bowling Rating 91 - RpO for 3.34 - RpO against 5.63 - Youth %age (by appearances) 0%

As is often the way with Dublin University 1, they lost the four main members of their 2017 squad who contributed most to that season (William von Behr, George Dockrell, Josh Dashcombe and Michael Hogan) - and not surprisingly that had a big impact on performance. Only Terenure were beaten, as Lorcan Tucker (59) and Matthew Strong (53 - a maiden "Senior" 50) took Trinity to 245-6, before 4-44 from Dean Brogan (again, his best ever "Senior" figures) saw Terenure in early trouble at 65-4 before ending 54 runs short on 191. Leading run scorer was overseas player Jamie Brown with 137 runs at 22.83, whilst leading wicket taker was debutant Srikanth Venkata Subramanian with 10 wickets at 221.

Terenure 1 - 7th (Pos in league - 15 (2017 - 15)) - Batting Rating 62 - Bowling Rating 65 - RpO for 3.69 - RpO against 6.79 - Youth %age (by appearances) 20.4%

Another tough year for Terenure who continue to bump along at the bottom of the league. A winless season is never easy for anyone, the one ray of hope being that the youth percentage of 20.4% (second only to Rush in Division 2) will mean new players will keep developing over the coming seasons. Overseas player Brandon Graber led the way with both bat (236 runs at 26.22) and ball (10 wickets at 30.90), with worthy mentions for 17 year old Patrick Ryan (10 wickets at 27.7 (and a very good argument for leading the bowling!) and 16 year old Seamus Lynch 207 at 20.7. A final point to end with, which is by no means taking aim at Terenure. With teams in Division 3 no longer wanting to be promoted, clubs at the bottom of Division 2 have become stuck, with the nearest 1st teams down in Division 4 and 5. But this column's theory is that there is little between these teams, there is little between the bottom of Division 2 and the top of Division 5. Proof is obviously difficult to come by, but the only concrete evidence we have, and the only competition where Leinster Division 2 and Division 5 clubs play together is the National Cup. How about the fact that Laois (in 2016) and Knockharley (in 2017) have both beaten Ballyspallen of the North West, but in 2018, Ballyspallen beat Railway Union? Or that in 2017 Knockharley beat Newbuildings, but in 2016 Newbuildings beat Terenure? Let's not get carried away - don't forget that Rush beat Dundrum of Division 4 by 495 runs a couple of seasons ago. But there is no real gap between the bottom of Division 2 and first teams in Division 4 and 5.

The full Division 2 batting averages can be found here, whilst the bowling averages are here

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