Merrion got the Open season off to an excellent start with four wins out of five over the weekend. The unlucky team, the 5ths, had to cope with difficult conditions on their travels. There is a danger, perhaps understandable given the environment, that the relevant authorities forgot that having the ground in a suitable condition to play a cricket match is important, as well as having it safe.
But to get back to the cricket. The 1st XI had a comfortable win over North Kildare on a difficult wicket. Indeed the 81 runs by John Anderson would have been well worth a century on any other day. The innings total of 167/4 was in the circumstances a massive total and as it proved well beyond North Kildare. Hugh Kennedy did most of the damage in the field taking four wickets as the host team ended up on 81/7.
The 2nd XI on Sunday also had a comfortable win at Anglesea Road. Balbriggan 2s have made a step up to the Tillain Cup and their batting was put under pressure from the start with Vishal Singh taking a couple of early wickets. The Forkin brothers maintained the pressure picking up wickets between them. I am not going to comment on how many as it will only fuel sibling rivalry. But the outstanding performance was from Conor Austin who wrapped up the innings [77 ao] taking four quick wickets. Solid contributions for captain BB and Vikas Dhiman ensured that Merrion got home safely with plenty of overs to spare with an eight wicket win.
The 3rd XI had the closest of matches. Batting first North Kildare 2s made 146/7 at home – based on the previous days game this had to be counted a very competitive total. The 3rds got off to a bright start making 27 in three overs but thereafter wickets fell at regular intervals, the scores went for 40/3 to 73/4 and then 82/5 off 13. It was not looking good. Fortunately captain Sai was still at the crease and with a mixture of power hitting and judicious defence he managed to bring the team home with a single ball to spare. Bringing the crowds back to cricket.
The second home game [Saturday] saw the 4th XI earn a hard fought win over near rivals Pembroke 4s. Batting first Merrion made a modest 113 all out and this thanks to a half century by Hari Ramasetty and good support from Tom Nolan. It shouldn’t have been enough but some tight bowling from a youthful attack – Sean Sandy, Ted O’Kelly. Oisin Bhoja and Sean Hussey – prevented Pembroke getting to three figures.
The 5th XI lost by six wickets – perhaps unsurprising less known about that game.
So a very good start to the season overall. Outstanding individual performance by John Anderson and Hari Ramasetty with the bat and Hugh Kennedy and Conor Austin with the ball. But the player of the weekend is surely Sainath Reddy [Sai] for his 59* to bring the 3rd home to victory in North Kildare.