The mid-season table for the Premier League puts Merrion in 4th place, one of six teams within 25 points of each other all vying for the top spot in the table. The intense competition between teams means that just about anyone has a reasonable chance at the title. The converse, of course, is that relegation is an ever present danger. See Table.
Merrion performances in the first round of matches contained their usual measure of disappointments and exultation. Batting collapses of memorable proportions were a common feature. Bursts of wickets from the bowlers ensured competitiveness but rarely led to dominance in the field.
Looking at the six completed matches, Merrion’s three wins included two successful chases. In the three losses, Merrion failed to defend totals twice, one of these of 276 against Balbriggan. Over the six matches it is probably fair to say that Merrion were only completely outplayed by the opposition once. That was against Clontarf when the top order failed and Merrion found themselves at one point on 69/6. A recovery of sorts ensued with the last four wickets compiling 80 runs. This, however, was the exception. Middle order and tail-end collapses were the most memorable feature of the first half of the season.
What is striking from the statistics is how rarely the batting came together. In the two best starts of the season where the top order got 160 and 147, the last five bats contributed an aggregate of 4 and 5 runs. This included the game against YMCA where Merrion collapsed from 181/2 to 225 all out chasing 252.
Perhaps the only first game of the season where Merrion batting fully performed was in making 276 batting first against Balbriggan. It was still not enough to win the game. In the game against Railway the middle order constructed a successful chase after the loss of early wickets. But the strong impression, as suggested by the figures, was that Merrion this year have tended to lose wickets in bunches.
Looking at the overall totals, Merrion only made it past 200 twice. The two successful run chases were around 150 / 160 runs. Total runs scored to date is 1127, compared to 2559 for 13 games the previous season. The single score of over 200, compares with five in 2022.
Turning to the bowling the first thing to note is the balance between spin and medium pace. Of the 48 wickets taken by Merrion, a quarter fell to the spin bowlers. The balance last season was almost exactly 50/50
The opening attack this year has brought about one top order collapse when Leinster fell to 5/50. Overall it has been consistent in that there was no unbroken opening stand of 50 plus. Two / three wickets for 50 was the norm.
If no opposing batting top order ever fully got on top of Merrion’s bowling, there was less success in containing runs. Even as wickets fell runs were being accumulated at a pace of over 4 per over [excluding extras]. 0f the 35 sets of individual bowling figures so far this season only six came in at less than 3 runs per over. 21 sets of figures saw 4.5 runs per over or higher. In just short of 600 overs completed last season in the league – the scoring rate by the opposition was just under 4 [3.96] runs per over.
Twenty players turned out for the 1st XI in the Premier League in 2022 compared with 17 this year so far.
The batting and bowling averages for the Premier League after the first round of matches are set out below.
Swapnil Modgill heads the batting table with 226 runs at an average of 37.67. At this point only two players have made more than 200 runs and two more 100.
On the bowling front, 11 players have turned the arm over, and ten have added something to the wickets column. Five players have taken five or more wickets but only one, Hugh Kennedy, has reached into double figures. Only one player has an economy rate below 4 and that is Daniel Forkin with 16 overs at 3.65.
Finally, Sam Harbinson is the only player to feature at the top of both the batting and bowling tables.