1926 - 1999

The Middle Years

Merrion was promoted to the Senior League in 1926 and have played every year since. The total number of league and cup matches to the end of 1999 is 1222. The total results for all matches played is:

Played Won Tied Lost Draw/NR
Teams League 920 273 3 364 284
Cup [1935] 111 48 63
L Cup [1974] 191 64 2 119 6
Total 1222 385 5 546 290

In the early days the number of teams competing in the senior league was quite small. Up until the beginning of the 1950s the maximum number of teams in any one year was eight and in 1929 was as low as four. The Leinster Senior Cup was run for the first time in 1935 and in 1974 a third competition was added, the Wiggins Teape League [now the Lewis Traub League] on a League/Cup basis.

The performances of the Merrion 1st XI can be easily broken into distinct periods. In the early period [1926 – 39] the team maintained a mid table position. They were second in the league in 1931 and 1934 and were the defeated cup finalists in 1936. The early period was dominated by players like Cecil Little, Jack O’Donnell and Rollie Shortt with Chris Mara and Simon Curley playing an increasingly  important role from the mid 1930s on. In all 168 matches were played with 61 matches won against 62 lost.

Undoubtably Merrion’s golden period was from 1940 to 1963. A number of Irish internationals played for Merrion during this period, including Simon Curley, Paddy Waldron, Paul Warren and Rodney Berstein. Vinnie Holloway, Brendan Curley, the Burke and Hayden brothers and Chris Mara were also regular performers. Merrion won the league and cup double in 1940 (first team to achieve this feat; no games lost) and the league in 1945, 1952 and 1958. The Leinster Cup was won again in 1960. Merrion also lost five cup finals and were runners up in the league three times. With the Senior League increasing to nine teams in 1953 and to ten teams in 1957 the number of matches played also increased with 362 matches played with Merrion winning 145 and losing 113.

When the team built mainly around S Curley was finally broken up in the early 1960s, through retirement and emigration, Merrion went through an extended period of poor to moderate performance until the mid 1990s. From 1964 to 1977 Merrion lost in the first round of the cup each year. Merrion were last in the league no fewer than seven times. A short period of reasonable performance from 1976 to 1981 proved a false dawn and in the 1980s Merrion suffered the worst times in its history culminating in demotion from the senior league in 1994. Fortunately, on a vote of the other teams in the Leinster league, Merrion was reinstated and competed again in the Senior league in 1995.

In the ten years from 1991 to 2000 junior cricket in Merrion showed steady improvement. In 1990 Merrion ran five senior teams. In 1994 a 6th XI was added and again in 1996 another team was entered in the league. This was the first time that any club had entered seven teams in LCU league competition.  In 2000 an 8th Cup team made its first appearance.

The most successful team of the decade was the 5th XI. In 1997 had the best performance in a single year with an impressive 97.5% on 12 wins out of 12 games played.  Over the ten years it got promoted twice, winning two leagues and a cup, and only once achieved less than 50% in a league. The most successful cup team was the 2nd XI with victories in 1992, 1995 and 2000.

The contrast between the first and the second half of the decade in the performances of the youth teams was very marked. In the first five years the only achievements were two ‘runners up’ positions. While the second half the boys alone could boast one ‘all Ireland’ cup, eight times winners of league or cup and six runners up positions. Merrion also led the way in extending competitive girls  cricket across all under-age groups. Within a short time Merrion came to dominate girls cricket in Leinster repeatedly winning the U15 and U13 leagues.

Finally, womens cricket was revived at the start of the 90s and by 2000 Merrion had fought its way back to senior levels as well as supporting a second junior side. In 2003 all the hard work culminated in the first victory in the league since the early 1980s, as well as runners up in the ’40 Overs’ league.

The total number of 1st XI players currently stands at 360. Simon Curley holds the record for highest number of appearances, closely followed by Robbie Stanton. In all five players have played more than 300 matches with the list being completed by Brendan Curley, Chris Mara, and Eddie Lewis. Chris Mara holds the record for the most consecutive matches played for Merrion [147] between 1935 and 1945 followed by Eddie Lewis [100] from 1976 – 1980 and W Lindsey [84] between 1939 and 1945.

There were a number of special individual performances worth noting. The fastest recorded century was that of Cecil Little in 1928 against Civil Service – in 55 minutes with 96 in boundaries including 12 ‘4s’ off consecutive balls. The highest score and the highest aggregate for the season were both achieved in 1999 – Gus Joyce 191* against Rush and Brad Spanner 1014. The most wickets in a season [70] was achieved by Patrick O’Herlihy in 1995 and the best individual bowling figures were Chris Mara’s 9/52 against Phoenix in 1940