A very successful weekend saw all three of our men's teams who were in action record victories. On Saturday, our 1st team overcame local rivals The Hills, while our 3rd team emerged victorious against Tyrrelstown. Our 2nd team made it a clean sweep on Sunday with a win over Merrion at Inch.
First up on Saturday, in a match rescheduled to avoid bad weather on Saturday evening, the 3rds took on Tyrrelstown 1 in the YMCA Salver at Ringcommons. Tyrrelstown made an excellent start to their innings and found themselves 70/1 off the first ten overs. A good comeback with the ball from North County, saw a cluster of wickets fall, and the scoring rate fell significantly. They finished their innings on 127/8, a competitive total, but it could have been far greater had they built on the excellent platform they had set. County made a cautious start to their innings and after 12 overs had scored just 62 runs for the loss of three wickets. However, Mudassar Zahid and captain Irfan Arshad began an assault on the Tyrrelstown bowling attack, scoring 38 runs off the next three overs. Zahid was dismissed in the next over for 48, but the damage had already been done. Sandeep Sood and Manan Rafique came and went, but maintained the required rate. Skipper Arshad was out for 46 just before his side won with eight balls to spare. After a disappointing defeat last weekend, the 3rd team now have their season up and running!
On Saturday afternoon, the 1st team welcomed The Hills to Inch in the second round of Senior League Cup fixtures. The visitors won the toss and elected to bowl first. Niall McGovern and John Mooney opened the batting and got off to a good start, reaching 19 without loss after three overs. Despite the former departing in the next over for 11, Mooney, along with new man Salman Aziz, continued to build on the solid foundation. Mooney's dismissal in the tenth over brought captain Eddie Richardson to the crease. He added real impetus to the innings, and 52 runs were added for the third wicket in just six overs, before Aziz was out caught for 33 off the bowling of Andy Kavanagh. In the final five overs, wickets fell at regular intervals, including that of the County skipper for 43 off 31 balls. He was dismissed by Tomas Rooney Murphy, who finished off the innings in superb fashion to claim 5 wickets for 22 runs off his 4 overs. County finished on 139/8 off 20 overs, leaving The Hills a target of 140 to win the match.
The Hills recovered from the early loss of Athar Farooqi, bowled by Richardson for 14, to set up an excellent platform. Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin and Mark Donegan progressed nicely and shared a partnership of 55, guiding their side to 75/1 in the 11th over. However, Donegan was dismissed for 22, caught and bowled by Manmeet Singh, and Levon Shields followed soon after for just one. From then on the game ebbed and flowed, with Bhavesh Lakhotia (13 off 9) and The Hills' skipper Tomas Rooney Murphy (17 off 13) providing support for McLoughlin-Gavin. But the opener was caught on the final ball of the penultimate over, leaving the visitors needing nine runs to win off the final six balls. County skipper Eddie Richardson took the responsibility of bowling the final over, and the first three balls of the over went for just two runs. A rocket throw from the boundary by John Mooney ran out Rooney Murphy on the fourth ball, and in the end The Hills fell short by 3 runs. Our 1st team have now won both of their opening fixtures.
Sunday saw our 2nd team host Merrion 2 in the Tillain Cup. Merrion, who defeated Balbriggan 2 in their opening fixture, won the toss and chose to bat. The hosts made a good start picking up two wickets in the opening four overs of the innings. Rohit Pahuja was run out by Keegan Laing for a duck and Ankit Gugale dismissed Vikas Dhiman for just one. Captain Beant Bhathal and John O'Hara set about rebuilding the innings, and shared a partnership of 63 before Bhathal was caught by Ben McBride off the bowling of Anto Mooney. O'Hara followed soon after for 19, stumped by Luke Whelan off the bowling of Mooney. County did well to restrict Merrion in the closing overs, with Pritish Onmalwar and Manmeet Singh picking up a wicket each and Mooney claiming his third, as Merrion were restricted to 121/7 off their allocation.
Despite the early loss of Safdar Ali for 13 off as many balls, County made a good start to the chase and looked well on course on 63/1 at the halfway mark, thanks to a strong partnership between John Devane and Manmeet Singh. However, both were dismissed within six balls of each other as Merrion regained some momentum. Luke Whelan joined skipper Ryan Tobin at the crease, and they put on 37 for the 4th wicket, before again both were removed in quick succession. That left the home side needing 13 runs off the final 10 balls, and in need of a strong innings to see them home. That finish was provided by Ben McBride. He hit his first ball to the boundary and scored 11 runs off just four balls to guide County to victory with two balls remaining.