The Limerick Cricket Club second XI which played Cork County on Saturday
WITH a gloomy cloud starting to cast over Limerick’s season of recent times, the club needed to bounce back in order to stake their claim for each of the league titles.
Whilst all hopes of retaining the senior league were all but diminished against Cork County 1s last weekend, Limerick’s remaining four teams were still in the hunt in their respective decisions.
Limerick’s 2nd XI took to the field against Cork County 2s on Saturday knowing nothing less than full points would suffice. Skipper Ajay Hari won the toss and elected to bat, a popular decision taken by the junior captain so far this year.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Limerick’s top order a County managed to get a foothold in the early exchanges to exert some pressure on the home side’s middle order. Tim Smithies held up one end as he characteristically eased himself into his innings, looking comfortable before departing just four runs shy of another half-century.
Lucky for Limerick, the returning Shani Alam showed his class as he took advantage of some loose bowling after drinks to bring Limerick back into the game. Despite losing the odd wicket, Shani did well to retain as much of the strike as possible.
He would make his maiden half century before aggressively taking Limerick over the (par-score) 200 mark to give the bowlers something to defend. Shani made his century with just a few balls to spare as Limerick ended their 45 overs on 222-7, Shani picking up what would be his third century for the club in just his second season.
The outfield had dried out by the time the Limerick team were back on the field after the break. Despite a shaky start with a swinging new ball, Limerick put the foot down and started to make serious inroads into the away side’s top order.
John Daly was first to strike when he found the outside edge which carried to Venkatesh behind the sticks, a fortunate turn of events for Daly who had one put down at second slip just a few balls before.
The second wicket didn’t take long to follow with Daly again the perpetrator, he claimed the other opener with an uppish drive caught by skipper Hari at cover. It started to become a day to remember for the Shannonsiders as wickets continued to tumble with no reply from the away side.
After 15 overs, County were 32-6 and in deep trouble, however, Limerick showed no signs of complacency and wanted to get the job done in ruthless fashion. As the drinks neared after the twentieth over, skipper Ajay Hari brought himself on after Asif Shahab and Shani Alam left a path of destruction behind them with incredible figures of 1-18 and 3-21 respectively with the score at 42-7.
The celebrations weren’t going ahead until the arguable highlight of the day occurred, captain Ajay Hari taking an individual hat trick to finish off the County tail in the space of three deliveries, one of which was a superb catch taking by Zubair Rehman with an outstretched arm at backward point.
RESULT | MCU Division One
Limerick Cricket Club defeated Cork County by 180 runs yesterday.
Limerick 2: 222-7 off 40 overs.
Shani Alam 102*
Tim Smithies 46
Cork County 2: 42 all out from 19.4 overs.
Ajay Hari 3-0
John Daly 3-12
Shani Alam 3-18
Elsewhere, Limerick’s 5th XI got back to winning ways in Division Three. Kyle Tierney lost the toss and was put into bowl in Saturday afternoon in Lismore and the home side dismissed in just 30 overs for 131 runs.
Thanushan Rajendrarajah needed no invitation to be aggressive in the opening exchanges, his quickfire 46 proving crucial to his side’s efforts. Limerick were comfortable winners in the end, defeating Lismore by four wickets and chasing down their target in just 18.1 overs.
Limerick 3rd XI finished off a perfect weekend when they completed an incredible fightback against County Kerry in Tralee yesterday afternoon.
After only putting 125 on the board with the bat, Limerick had a very low target to defend. In extraordinary fashion, Limerick took early wickets and didn’t let any partnerships develop. Ramoji Alla was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-8 off five overs as Kerry started to crumble and mustered 70 before being dismissed all out, still short of the target by an amazing 55 runs.
It was a bowling performance to remember from both the third and second XI, which included some fantastic instances of fielding to top off a brilliant weekend for the club, securing three very important wins form their three games.
Finally in youth, LCC u15s secured a series 3-1 win over Galway during the week when they welcomed the tribesmen to Adare for the return fixture. The Galway openers started steadily, but proceeded to lose wickets leaving them on 18-3.
The game ebbed and flowed, with Limerick showing some very positive signs of attack with the ball. Skandan Lakshmanan was the pick of the LCC bowlers, finishing with figures of 3-12. He was well backed up by skipper Alan McCutcheon with 2-6 and Eshan Tanveer with 1-5.
With the bat, despite losing some early wickets, Stephen Matthews steadied the ship with an exemplary 27 not out with a lot of control and discipline in his batting.
He carried his bat and pushed the home side to victory as Limerick would eventually win the match by five wickets and claiming the north munster series. Limerick’s u15s will now face their south Munster counterparts in due course.
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