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Sat 22nd Dec 2018

By Paul Reynolds

Division 6 review 2018 - Wexford Wanderers pip Mullingar in dramatic finale

Division 6 stats

Leading all time run scorer (2011-2018) - Eoin Sheehan (Rush) - 1393 runs @ 20.49
Most runs in a Division 6 season - Khizer Khan (Railway Union) - 479 runs (2013)
Highest score - Imran Mohammed (Railway Union) - 160 - Railway Union 4 vs Longford 1 - Newtownforbes - 22 April 2014
Leading all time wicket taker (2011-2018) - Anthony Burke (Sandyford ) - 79 wkts @ 14.92
Most wickets in a Division 6 season - Aaron Joseph (Phoenix) - 31 wkts (2014)
Best bowling - Susheel Kumar - 7-13 - Railway Union 4 vs Castleknock 1 - Castleknock College - 14 Jun 2014
Highest team score - 345-8 - Railway Union 4 vs Sandyford 1 - Park Avenue - 14 Jun 2015
Lowest team score - 26 all out - Merrion 5 vs Malahide 3 - Anglesea Road - 18 Aug 2018

Most Matches in Division 6 (2011-2018) - Eoin Sheehan (Rush) - 68 (2011-2017)

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: Patrick Lynch (Leinster), Chirag Poddar (Merrion), Desmond Horstmann (Malahide) (Div 5, 2012), Mohnish Kriplani (Railway Union), Haq Nawaz (Wexford Wanderers) (Div 7, 2017)

Wicketkeeper: Ibrar Ullah Jan (Wexford Wanderers)

Bowlers: Nithin Padmaprabhu (Wexford Wanderers) (Div 7, 2017), Cavon Hall (Mullingar) (Div 6, 2017; Div 10, 2017), Woody O'Neill (Mullingar) (Div 4, 2013; Div 5, 2015; Div 6, 2017), Irfan Qasim (Mullingar) (Div 6, 2017), Saeedullah Azizi (Leinster) (Div 9, 2018; Div 16, 2017)


Review

Runs per wicket for all teams - 20.97 Runs per over for all teams - 4.90

Wexford Wanderers 1 - Champions - (Pos in league - 42 (2017 - 51)) - Batting Rating 123 - Bowling Rating 121 - RpO for 5.59 - RpO against 4.40 - Youth %age (by appearances) 3.2%

Time for a bit of honesty. The recently completed review of Division 7 wasn't a whole lot of fun, with that division not doing a whole lot to get the neutral's juices flowing. Division 6 was a completely different ball game though. It had absolutely everything, all the way down to a winner takes all play off for the league title on the last weekend of the season. Wexford Wanderers 1 came out worthy winners, lifting their second league title, and first since Division 8 in 2010. Division 6 had the mixture of three aspiring 1st teams, and five lower teams who are trying to reassert themselves, and most teams had a healthy dose of youth to give hope for the future. After several years of "stagnation" (or perhaps "stability" would be better) but in 2017 and 2018, Wexford Wanderers have pushed on, re-adding a second team in 2018, and this Division 6 title was nine places higher than their previous best (in 2017 and 2013). Ten players are going to be given a mention in this review for getting to 200 runs or league wickets, an unparalleled number, and an indication of the strength in depth in the team. Only one of those players (Sami Noor) was in his first season with the club, the rest rising to the occasion of 2017's promotion. Three of the ten players ended up on our Team of the Year. The star was Nithin Padmaprabhu who was fantastically solid with bat (304 runs and 25.33 with a highest score of 50. In his eight innings after July 8, he was only dismissed for less than 20 twice), but stellar with the ball. He took 29 wickets at 8.83, smashing the previous record of most wickets taken by a Wexford Wanderers in a league season (jointly held on 21 wickets by Steven Wood (2013 for Wexford Wanderers 2 and Padmaprabhu himself last year). Arron Joseph's 2014 record of 31 wickets remains the Division 6 highest. Ibrar Ullah Jan took the accolade of the wicketkeeper with most dismissals in the season with 17, but more importantly, he scored 455 runs at 35, the highest ever for Wexford in a league season (and the second highest in Division 6 this season). Haq Nawaz only played seven matches, but scored 250 runs at 41.67 to sneak into the team as well. Plenty of others did well - with the bat, Umar Sufian Tarar (319 at 29), Khalid Shirzada (226 at 22.6) and Eugene Brennan (206 runs at 34.33). With the ball it was Sami Noor (12 at 14.42), Alan Murphy (11 at 27.82), Sharjeel Shaikh (11 at 21) and Malang Jan Mohmand (10 at 20.70). The team lost two of their first five, but after that, put together an unbeaten run of nine matches, culminating in the last match at the season. Originally scheduled for September 8th, the match in Wexford was rained off, and with the game pencilled in for September 23rd, Wexford RFC was still unplayable. Not playing the game would have left Wexford as champions but, in one of the most magnanimous gestures of the year, they asked Mullingar if the match could be played in St Finian's College instead. The match itself is looked at in detail below, but Mullingar added the following comment to the scorecard - "Mullingar would also like to thank Wexford for playing today in (this) winner takes the title clash. They didn't have to. It became clear earlier in the week that their ground wouldn't be playable today. Under league regulations, they could have taken the share of the points and won the league. However, they wanted to win the league on the pitch and contacted us to say they'd play in Mullingar if the pitch was playable. You don't see that sort of sportsmanship too often and we wonder (whether) we would have been so sporting in their shoes. Wexford Wanderers, champions on and off the pitch this year".

Mullingar 1 - Runners up - (Pos in league - 43 (2017 - 44)) - Batting Rating 135 - Bowling Rating 144 - RpO for 5.78 - RpO against 4.08 - Youth %age (by appearances) 0%

A brilliant season on the pitch, littered with a few defeats (to Malahide, Bagenalstown and Wexford Wanderers), meant that come the end of the season, Mullingar entered a must win game away to Wexford. As detailed above, the match was moved to Mullingar's St Finian's College ground. The team had been very, very settled all season, with eleven players playing at least eleven of the fourteen league matches, but crucially the second match against Wexford was the one match that their talisman Cavon Hall had missed all season. Hall led batting and bowling for the team, with 404 runs at 40.40 and 25 wickets at 10.76 (taking his third Team of the Year award) but Mullingar appeared to be managing without him when Wexford were reduced to 123-8 (Tomas Mount the pick of the bowlers with 3-16). But the last two wickets added a crucial 42 runs, setting Mullingar 166 to win the match and the league. Wickets fell quickly though to leave Mullingar at 40-6, effectively ending their hopes. Mark Condell (44) and Saad Sheikh (33) added 78 for the 7th wicket, but with the run rate climbing, Mullingar were eventually bowled out for 131. There were some colossal wins over the season, beating Railway Union by 176 runs and 201 runs, Merrion by 194 runs and 10 wickets, and Terenure by 10 wickets, but in the end the two defeats to Wexford cost them dearly. In addition to Hall, Mullingar picked up two more places on the Team of the Year. Irfan Qasim regained his place after also being named in 2017 - his contribution this year being 24 wickets at 12.71. Woody O'Neill picked up his fourth award (and similarly regaining his 2017 Division 6 place) with 25 wickets at 12.64 on top of 232 runs at 21.09. All three players broke the previous record for most wickets in a season for Mullingar 1, which was held by O'Neill, with 23 wickets in 2013, making Hall the new record holder. This triumvirate were supported by the Mount brothers, as Tomas took 14 wickets at 15.50 and PJ took 16 at 16.63. The batting may have been ever so slightly weaker than the bowling, but was still the strongest in the league. Ali Yasir came second in the run scoring with 358 runs at 34.80, and Daragh Ryan scored 310 at 27.36. An excellent season, and hopefully a step back up the league ladder for Mullingar 1.

Leinster 3 - 3rd - (Pos in league - 44 (2017 - 41)) - Batting Rating 129 - Bowling Rating 110 - RpO for 4.74 - RpO against 5.12 - Youth %age (by appearances) 24.0%

With apologies to Leinster 3, this review has to touch on how selections in our Team of the Year are made, as well as another look at starrings, and players being selected on muitiple teams in clubs across the province. But it's only fair to start and finish with Leinster. On the surface, a successful season. Ten wins, four losses and a third place before two strong teams. They stay as the 6th best 3rd team in the province, a bit lower than their peak of fourth in 2013 but not too different than most other years since 2011. But dig a little deeper, and they had their worst ever season, and really should have been promoted this season. Back to the Team of the Year selection. The key when picking the 855 players to have been given the honour (so far) is getting the balance between players who have only played a few games (and haven't really contributed towards a team) and setting the criteria so high, that the best players aren't included. After much deliberation, the criteria was originally set at 5 games being played. Occasionally that means that others miss out, and in Leinster's case it was a Leinster stalwart that missed out over a Leinster youth player, so there are arguments both ways. The stalwart was Chris Oosthuizen, who scored 457 runs at 41.55, including 105 at home to Mullingar. This was the first century scored in the league against Mullingar 1 since 2015, which oddly was also for Leinster 3 in Observatory Lane - Ross MacMahon being the batsman on that occasion. But despite being the highest number of runs scored for Leinster 3 in a league season (breaking John Moffatt's 2014 record of 438, and being the second highest total ever in Division 6, it wasn't enough to make the Team of the Year. That place was effectively taken by 17 year old Patrick Lynch, who scored 52, 109, 0, 20 and 37* to finish with 218 runs at 54.50. Leinster had a second Team of the Year player, and again, it is not without a small bit of controversy. The award goes to another youth player, Saeedullah Azizi who also only played five Division 6 games, but also picked up the award for Division 9 this year. Azizi is one of the great bowling talents around, and picked up 10 wickets at 13.50. It is perhaps worth looking at how a season develops for a player, and how he can end up winning two awards. After solitary appearances on Leinster 5ths and 7ths in early May (which patently shouldn't have happened, but which didn't result in any wickets), Azizi settled down into a season of doubling up on Leinster 3rds and 4ths. This is in fact encouraged by the cricketing community - youth players gaining experience by playing as much cricket as possible. Azizi had some success for Leinster 4, but struggled on Leinster 3, on August 10th having bowled twice in the league having taken 1-35 in 8 overs. However on August 11th, he took 5-33 against Bagenalstown, and then finished the season strongly with 1-40 and 3-27, finishing with 10 wickets at 13.5. After that five wicket performance on the 3rds, there were seven more matches for the 4ths, with Azizi taking 9 wickets for 83 runs. In a 38 player squad, there were lots of others (five in fact) who took ten wickets or more. Anas Khan took 17 wickets at 16.59, SivaKumar Abbaiahgari 13 at 14, Nitin Rajwar 13 at 17.85, Michael Scully 13 at 21 and Somasekhar Rapolu 12 at 17.58. Only one other batsman passed 200 runs - Peter Masterson with 215 at 30.71.

Railway Union 3 - 4th - (Pos in league - 45 (2017 - 45)) - Batting Rating 95 - Bowling Rating 98 - RpO for 4.63 - RpO against 4.77 - Youth %age (by appearances) 11.1%

A so, so season for Railway Union 3. The same league position as in 2017, and only one lower than in 2016, so the team are holding their own. They have been pretty much the 7th best 3rd team in the province for the past eight years, and remain in that position today. So all, in all, there isn't too much to see here! Ten youth players played for the team at some point and although their youth percentage isn't as high as any of the other non-first teams in the division, there are players coming through. They only lost to the teams above them - Wexford, Mullingar and Leinster apart from the first match of the season when they lost to Malahide. Four players put together good seasons, two who have been playing for Railway for many years, two who are new to the club. Ger O'Brien needs no introduction, and was once again the backbone of the team, with 331 runs at 25.46. Muhammad Raza is another who has been with Railway through thick and thin, and although it wasn't one of his best seasons with the bat, 14 wickets at 21.36 supported the two bowlers who debuted for the club this year. Mohnish Kriplani played mainly on Railway Union 3 (although he did make his Senior debut against Cork County in September), and his impressive return was 430 runs at 43 and 13 wickets at 21.85, making our Team of the Year. Swapn Joshi also made his first appearances in Leinster, and took 20 wickets at 16.55.

Malahide 3 - 5th - (Pos in league - 46 (2017 - 46)) - Batting Rating 92 - Bowling Rating 96 - RpO for 4.61 - RpO against 5.27 - Youth %age (by appearances) 20.7%

Malahide 3 can look back on their season in much the same way as Railway Union 3. The same reasoning applies - same position as 2017, the rot stopped etc. In some ways, Malahide can be more optimistic. More youth players were introduced to the Malahide third string than their counterparts in Railway. The one negative (perhaps unfairly) is that only four seasons ago, Malahide were the 4th best third team around, but have had further to fall than Railway. More than any other team, Malahide went from the out of this world to the truly awful (and back again). Wins against Mullingar and Railway Union were off set by losses to Merrion and Terenure. Several experienced players gave the team some inner resolve. Desmond Horstmann made his first Team of the Year since Division 5 in 2012, with 237 runs at 47.40. Hamish Manks was leading run scorer with 384 runs ar 32, and Conor Gibbons took 22 wickets at 15.73. Gibbons was the leading wicket taker in all Leinster Cricket (2011-the present) at the end of the 2017 season, but has just been pipped by Usama Raees of Laois. If the other bowlers, Inderjit Singh took 11 wickets at 18.73, Vikas Purbiya 12 at 25.83, and 17 year old Camron Calder took 12 at 17.92

Bagenalstown 1 - 6th (Pos in league - 47 (2017 - 50)) - Batting Rating 81 - Bowling Rating 115 - RpO for 4.76 - RpO against 4.34 - Youth %age (by appearances) 10.5%

Amidst all the positivity coming from Bagenalstown, it was too easy from this angle to be a bit disappointed at the league table. 6th place is ok, but should Bagenalstown 1 have finished higher? And then I came to my senses, looked at things a bit deeper, and realised what a fantastic season Bagenalstown had. They have broken into the top 50 for the first time, and have moved up to the 26th best 1st team, overtaking Sandyford. After losing their first five matches, the future wasn't looking particularly bright, but wins over Merrion, Mullingar and Terenure cemented their place. No players on the Team of the Year, but a good few players did their bit in enduring that 47th place, none more so than Bernard O'Mara, who scored 431 runs at 33.15, the second highest in a league season for the team (after Nadun Srimal Jasinghe's 582 in 2014). Jasinghe himself didn't have the most productive season with the bat (266 at 24.18) but was the leading wicket taker with 18 at 18.22. Aside from these two, other players had good seasons without being of the standard to challenge at the top of the league. Marcel Bruns scored a century against Merrion, but overall only got 245 runs at 22.27 and similarly Azaz Ahmed took 6-29 against Merrion, but only had 16 wickets at 21.53 overall. Pardeep Hooda took 15 wickets at 14.40 in a really good second season for the club. A good foundation to challenge in Division 6 in 2019.

Terenure 2- 7th (Pos in league - 48 (2017 - 48)) - Batting Rating 81 - Bowling Rating 69 - RpO for 5.26 - RpO against 4.63 - Youth %age (by appearances) 33.1%

For the third season in a row, Terenure 2 finished 48th in the league. That's a stat that has a bit behind it, and rather than being a tale of holding their own against a tide of rising clubs, they have had a few seasons of being kept up when a season in a lower division would have been advantageous. There is nothing worse than losing game after game, year after year. There is a very big "but" to that though. There is some excellent development work going on in Terenure, and Terenure 2 is where is it happening best. Seven youth players played on the team during the year, but they formed the core fo the team and a youth percentage of 33.1% one of the highest we have come across in the league. 16 year old Seamus Lynch was leading run scorer with 279 runs at 39.86 and 17 year old Patrick Ryan took 10 wickets at 38.90. Top of the bowling charts was Philip Rout who took an excellent 21 wickets at 15.81, just behind his own 2016 record for the team (23 wickets). Support was thin on the ground, and the only other player of note was Sidharth Nair with 232 runs at 19.33. Wins were thin on the ground, but the highlights were definitely an 8 wicket win over Bagenalstown (thanks to Diarmuid Lynch's 5-44 and Patrick Ryan's 3-24) and a 125 run win over Malahide (thanks to Donal Vaughan's 105*)

Merrion 5 - 8th (Pos in league - 49 (2017 - 47)) - Batting Rating 79 - Bowling Rating 65 - RpO for 3.88 - RpO against 6.78 - Youth %age (by appearances) 31.6%

Eight seasons of ups and downs have resulted in Merrion 5 finishing the 2018 season in exactly the same place as they finished in 2011 - 49th. Although it was a tough season (and losing your first nine fixtures is as tough as it gets), Division 6 was pretty much as higher as the Merrion 5 adventure has been, and a drop down to Division 7 will be a much better place to be. They are still four divisions higher than the next 5th team, so there is no need to panic. An impressive 31% of all appearances were by youth players, but they were mainly playing a supporting role, with the runs and wickets got by those of a generation (or two) older. Peter Forkin was the one exception, the highly rated 16 year old taking 12 wickets at 22.17. The leading wicket taker was Jim Walsh with 18 at 17.61 followed by Mark Little with 11 at 20.09. The bat was pretty much the same story, with Rob Stanton top scoring with 308 runs at 30.80. Chirag Poddar managed to sneak under the radar, making our Team of the Year with 269 runs at 53.80 in July and August - although it looks as if his future will be on higher teams than Merrion 5.

The full Division 6 batting averages can be found here, whilst the bowling averages are here

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