Well what a weekend that was. Australia nearly triumphed in the Eurovision, the sun burst through and there was some amazing cricket played.
On Saturday the Firsts welcomed North County to Sydney Parade in their second Division 1 game. Having fallen to The Hills in round 1, it was imperative that the team kick started their league campaign. Scheduling meant that the four teams that had won their first game were playing the four teams that lost.
Batting first, Theo and Daniel played themselves in and put on around 90 before a flurry of wickets saw them 120 odd for 4. They managed to post 196 and a close finish was on the cards. However Paul Lawson put paid to that idea knocking over the North County top order and regular wickets meant that Pembroke triumphed by 90 odd runs and took all 25 points on offer. Jack Balbirnie bowled slower and slower as the batsmen demonstrated their difficulties in remaining at the crease at the end of the innings. Other results means that Pembroke are now fourth in Division 1 with the top two teams undefeated and the bottom two teams winless. It is shaping up to be a tight league with everyone still in the hunt for the title, but also everyone fearing relegation. The game was won well inside the regulation 100 overs, but the crowd remained basking in the sun and awaiting Eurovision.
Sunday saw the first of the season’s double headers with Stephen Willis leading the Fourths into battle against Wexford Wanderers and Conor Prendergast leading the Sixes into their opening fixture after two previous games were deferred. These games were scheduled to last 170 overs combined. It didn’t quite work out that way.
On the junior mat Pembroke batted first and quickly. Despite the return of Ed “The Luge” Dwyer to the playing fields after a three year sabbatical, the Sixes found themselves victims due to the removal of a number of players from the higher teams on the starring lists during the week, and were very much under-strength. It was an impossibly tough game for Conor to make his captaincy debut, not made any easier by the Balbriggan opening bowler taking a very cheap ‘fivefer’ including a hat-trick from the Leinster Under 15 bowler, that included Ed, Nigel Poff and the skipper himself. Youth on the side was represented by Thomas Musgrave, Noah Smith and Donnacha Tucker, whilst Becca Gallagher was the only Lady on the team. Ed did top score with two fours and Max McNamara got to watch the hat-trick from the other end and in total the team struggled to 36 all out. Balbriggan then knocked off the runs in 3.2 overs to take victory in an hour and a half. Quote of the day came from Max who said, “If you have me opening the batting and the bowling, you know you’re in trouble”.
On the main square, Stephen Willis’ Fourth XI fielded first versus Wexford and Ben Crowley was the chief destroyer as he knocked over the top order taking four quick wickets, before returning to claim his fifth wicket in his second spell. Wexford managed to reach a total of 81, which was never going to be enough.
Shovan and the Skipper opened the innings and saw off the opening bowlers before Stephen fell and Joe Prendergast strode to the middle. These two took Pembroke to the brink of victory before Shovan contrived to get himself dismissed run out in a fashion that only Shovan can. Joe and one of the Wexford bowlers got themselves into a couple of heated discussions that saw the umpires, P. Searson and V. Gee get involved under the watchful eye of their assessor, Kevin Gallagher and will probably see Joe and Stephen attending a mid-week meeting with the authorities. Joe then hit the winning runs and secured a fine win for Stephen.
The Sixes game was over before drinks and the Fourths game was finished before tea leaving a good crowd to enjoy just the sunshine and the occasional reports from Old Trafford about suspicious items. It was suggested that it could be a trophy at Old Trafford, which would have been very suspicious.
The Seconds travelled to Observatory Lane to play Leinster in Division 3. Leinster batted first and compiled 219/5 from their full allocation of overs. Pembroke fell to 180 all out and therefore lost by 40 runs.
Last week the Women’s Second team had travelled to Malahide to open their season and to see Sharon Gray make her final, for now anyway, appearance before she moved to the UK. She made a fine 28 and young Hannah Little took 1/18, but the team failed to win and will now miss Sharon. Sharon will also be missed elsewhere in the Club, having given so much of her time to us. She not only played, but also scored for the First XI, looked after the technological scoring for Mark Leonard and scored many Women’s games. Sharon is the sort of member every Club needs and we have been fortunate she chose Pembroke. We wish her all the very best going forward and Sharon is always welcome back in Sydney Parade.
Thursday saw the Women’s First team record a win versus Leinster in a game that went down to the last ball. In a similar fashion to the Men’s First team, the Women needed to win their second game having comprehensively fallen to YMCA in the first game of the season. No scorecard has been posted on the cricketleinster website at this time.
The pace of games really picks up now with 20 games to be played before the end of May. This week sees the Women’s teams playing Tuesday (Seconds v Phoenix), Wednesday (Thirds v Greystones) and Thursday (Firsts v North Kildare). Thursday also sees the Men’s First XI heading out to North County for the first Alan Murray T20 group game and then on Saturday they are due to host Balbriggan in the 60 over Leinster Senior Cup First Round. The Sixes will be hoping to head out to Knockharley for their Division 14 game on Saturday, whilst the Fifths will be hosting Lucan in Division 11 on Sunday.
The weather forecast is patchy at best for this week with a return to the scattered showers and cloudy weather more usual at this time of year.