The Open and Womens Competitions started on the Easter weekend with mixed fortunes for the men [Open] and women. Perhaps least said about the former as the club struggled to get out proper strength teams and ended up with losses for the 3rd, 4th [twice] and 5th XIs. The 2nd XI had their game abandoned to rain on Sunday. There will need to be a big effort to get teams out over the next couple of weeks to get the season off to a better start.
But to the good news. Playing a double weekend of Pilkington Cup games [40 overs] Merrion [the current cup holders] came out on top in their games against close rivals Leinster and Pembroke.
Batting first on both occasions, the strength of the 1st XI batting was evident. In Rathmines on Saturday, an excellent team performance saw the first six batters exceed 20, led by Hannah deBurgh White  and a quick fire 33* from Isobel Joyce. The total of 239/5 [helped by a half century of extras] was always going to be a formidable one, especially on the first day of the season.
A similar strong all-round performance in the field saw six bowlers take wickets, with the highlights being 3/21 from captain Celeste Raack. In the end Leinster were bowled out for 145.
On the Monday, Merrion were again away, this time down in Sydney Parade. In was a rain interrupted game [33 Overs], Merrion again broke the 200 mark in the field and benefitted from 19 DLS runs. This was built around the first century partnership  of the season from Rachel Delaney  and Cecelia Joyce  which laid the foundation for the innings.
When it came time to bowl there were not so many wickets to go around and Pembroke responded strongly with half centuries from Mary Waldron  and Orla Pendergast . But the Merrion bowlers stuck to their task and never let Pembroke get ahead. Pembroke finished on 188/4 with Julianne Morrissey taking 3/33.
Two excellent results for the women. The players and coaches will no doubt be looking closely at the number of extras. In both games Merrion recorded fewer extras than the opposition, the first objective. There was also a big improvement between the two games as the 40 extras [one per over] in the first, fell to just 13 [33 overs] in the second. Keeping below .5 per extras per over is another useful benchmark. And finally the number of wides and no balls fell from 20 to 12 in the second game. A definite improvement but more to work on certainly.