Three out of four titles ain’t bad. For the second year in a row Merrion Women’s 1st XI have won three of the four available titles. This weekend they added the Pilkington [40 Overs] Plate to the Leinster Senior Cup and Irish T20 Cup. They were just pipped for the Senior League title by the narrowest of margins [a percentage of a single point]. Winning all four titles in a single year thus remains a goal for the future.
The Pilkington final was played at Anglesea Road in beautiful weather before a large crowd. Captain Celeste Raack won the toss and opted to bat. Things did not start well with both Leah Paul and Rachel Delaney dismissed before the score had reached double figures.
Raack and Rebecca Stokell steadied the innings with a brisk 87 run partnership. When Raack was eventually out for measured 35 Stokell and Polly Inglis brought the score up to 164. Inglis was eventually out for 25 but Stokell went on to complete a memorable century [107 in 78 balls].
The middle order, allowed a little more time in the 40 Over game, had valuable runs with Isabel Light holding the tail together with an important 27* in 22 balls. The final score of 238 all out [37.1 overs] was competitive.
The Clontarf batting strength lies mainly in their openers, Christina Coulter Reilly and Robyn Searle. In the absence of Niamh McNulty, injured during the week, Síbha Bhoja and Julianne Morrissey opened the bowling, and it was the latter who made the critical break through inducing a false stroke form Coulter-Reilly with the score on 40. A few over later Rachel Delaney had Searle LBW and the momentum shifted strongly in Merrion’s favour.
Clontarf continued to battle [there was a half century from Alice Walsh] and Merrion’s bowling reserves began to look a little depleted, not helped by a couple of on-field injuries. But Merrion dug deep and from wickets from Raack [4/35] ensured a reasonably comfortable win in the end, Clontarf bowled out for 191 in the 40th over. Thought the fielding was excellent, from both teams, and Inglis achieved four stumpings for Merrion.
Overall an excellent victory and some revenge for the loss in the final last year to the same opposition.