Once again, this weekend saw all four of our men's teams play, with our 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams engaged in important fixtures as we approach the business end of the season.
Saturday afternoon saw unbeaten Malahide travel to Inch to take on our 1st team in the Senior League Cup. Malahide won the toss and elected to field first, with Michael Frost and David O'Halloran opening the bowling. Openers John Mooney and Dhram Singh got the innings off to a superb start, finding the boundary on five occasions inside the first five overs to reach 39-0. However, both men fell in successive overs, with Mooney caught by Alistair Frost for 19 and Singh adjudged lbw for 22. Salman Aziz was run out off the last ball of the eight over for three, leaving County 56-3. Eddie Richardson and Jonathan Andrews then came together and set about rebuilding the innings. The pair rotated the strike well and hit regular boundaries. Andrews was in imperious form and struck two big sixes in his innings of 41 off just 32 balls, while Richardson also looked in fine touch with his unbeaten 44 coming from 35 deliveries. Their partnership of 72 came to an end in the 18th over when Adam Coughlan removed Andrews. This dismissal brought Sean Sludds to the crease and he finished the innings off strongly, hitting two fours and a six off the last ball of the innings to help County to 160-4 off 20 overs. Despite the early wicket of Matthew Ford, caught off the bowling of Eddie Richardson, Malahide's innings got off to an excellent start. They were 44-1 after five overs and well on track with the required run rate. 17 runs were added in the next two overs and even though Arjun Muntha was run out by Niall McGovern, the visitors were still in a good position at 61-2 off eight overs. However, the visitors lost wickets regularly, with Mikey Sludds removing both Greg Ford and Alistair Frost, and Manmeet Singh picking up the wicket of Adam Coughlan, and found themselves 86-5 in the 13th over. However, Malahide skipper Fintan McAllister then came in and, with an array of enterprising strokes, looked to guide his side to victory. But in the 18th over, McAllister suffered an unfortunate knee injury while playing a shot off Dhram Singh. The players left the field and the Malahide captain was attended to, with an ambulance arriving shortly after. The match was ended early, with County winning by 9 runs on Duckworth Lewis, but this of course was not the main concern of everyone at the ground. On Sunday, we received news that Fintan has left hospital and everyone at NCCC wishes him a speedy recovery.
Our 3rd team travelled to Knockharley on Saturday afternoon, looking to make it three wins from four in the YMCA Salver. North County bowled first and got off to the perfect start with Asad Ali claiming a wicket in the first over. Ali's remarkable opening spell of
1-1 off 3 overs set the tone with the ball and the pressure he and Zia Mohyuddin built up with the new ball was followed up by Daniel Mooney and Mudassar Zahid, with both men among the wickets. Knockharley were restricted to 29-2 off 10 overs and 52-4 off 15 overs. Some lower order runs and a flurry of late wickets meant the hosts finished on 83-9 off their 20 overs. The North County top order found it just as difficult to score in the second innings, reaching 16-2 off 8 overs, with Stephen Mooney and Paras Goel out early on. However, once the opening bowlers were replaced, Rob O'Byrne and Mudassar began to increase the run rate. They made scores of 17 and 25 respectively before they were both dismissed by Muhammad Saqi, with the score at 54-4 after 12 overs. Captain Irfan Arshad came in and played an enterprising innings of 19 not out, which included three boundaries, to see his side home in the penultimate over.
On Sunday, Longford 1 were the visitors to Inch to take on our 2nd team in the Tillain Cup. Longford batted first and saw their opener Fadi Khan removed by Adbul Ghaffar in the third over. Muhammad Sheraz Tariq followed three overs later for just 4, leaving the score at 21-2 in the sixth over. Adnan Sarfraz joined Mehar Imran at the crease and they shared a partnership of 73 runs in just over nine overs, before the former was removed by captain Ryan Tobin for 27. Imran continued to score quickly in Sarfraz's absence and added 70 runs off 55 balls until he was dismissed by Ghaffar. Five wickets fell in the closing overs, but 28 runs were added from the last 12 balls of the innings as Longford finished on 145-8. The County reply never really got going, with both Safdar Ali and Sean Rooney out in the powerplay. Ben McBride and Ciaran Sheridan followed in the next couple of overs. County then slipped from 76-4 to 78-8, with Fadi Khan taking four wickets, including that of opener John Devane who top scored with 31. Ankit Gugale provided a late cameo with 19 off 16 deliveries, but his knock was not enough as the innings was ended in the final over, with County bowled out for 113 to lose by 32 runs.
Sunday afternoon also saw our 4th team make a trip to Swords for the second time this season in the Whelan Cup. The hosts batted first after winning the toss and got off to a very quick start. Openers Jimson Joseph and Ramesh Anand put the County bowling to the sword and put on 78 runs for the first wicket, before Anand was dismissed by Srijan Yerramsetti. Joesph continued to score quickly and shared partnerships with Jintu Mathew and Chaitanya Krishna Sarangapani before he was out for 68 with the score at 167-4. Paddy Mann picked up two wickets in the closing overs, but Swords finished with an imposing score of 181-6. The chase got off to a poor start with Kashif Butt dismissed for just four. But Stephen Mooney joined captain Foram Mehta at the crease and the pair shared a partnership of 70 runs to keep County in the game. However, both batsmen went in quick succession, Mooney for 38 and Mehta for 19, leaving the score 81-3. Wickets began to fall regularly as the visitors tried to keep up the the increasing run rate and this allowed Swords to gain a firm grip on the game. County finished on 109-7 from their 20 overs, losing by 72 runs.
There is plenty more cricket this week, with another busy period of matches for our juvenile teams, and a summary of these fixtures can be found here.
The league standings for all four of our men's team can be found on the Cricket Leinster website by clicking here.