One of our great supporters and former player Ray Moran celebrates his eightieth birthday at the club on Saturday. Well done Ray and Nancy.
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The Hills v Clontarf, 4 September 2021
The Hills 132 for 4 Clontarf 131 for 10
The Hills win by 6 wickets
In recent years, Clontarf CC has had the Indian sign over The Hills, but with three wins in a row, it was a confident Hills’ First X1 which welcomed Clontarf to The Vineyard on Saturday last. Depending on other results, it was possible that the winners of this game would be playing against Merrion in the final of the BUAKIT Premier League on Saturday, 11th of September.
Clontarf won the toss and opted to bat first. Dylan Blignaut and Tomás Rooney-Murphy, bowled with great accuracy, and the first Clontarf wicket (P. J Moor) fell in the 6th over when the score was only 22 runs. Worse was to follow for Clontarf when the ever-reliable Eoghan Delany was out for a 2-ball duck, caught by Mark Donegan off the bowling of Dylan Blignaut. Clontarf wickets continued to fall regularly, and with the score at 38 runs for 4, it appeared that The Hills would be chasing a low score, but Fionn Hand (38) and David Delany (39) had other ideas and shared a partnership of 72 runs. In the 32nd over with the score on 110, Hand was out, stumped by Mark Donegan, off the bowling of Jonathan Tall. Robert Forrest’s wicket was taken in the same over, caught and bowled by Tall, and The Hills had taken back control of the game. Clontarf’s last four wickets only added 21 runs to the score, and its final score was 131 runs.
This was a fine bowling and fielding performance by The Hills. Jonathan Tall took 4 wickets for 15 runs, with an economy rate of 1.5. The other wicket takers were Dylan Blignaut (2 for 26), Tomás Rooney-Murphy (2 for 25), and Sameer Dutt (2 for 33). Some wonderful catches were taken, but pride of place must go to Mark Donegan, The Hills’ wicketkeeper, who took 3 catches and effected 2 stumpings. It says something for the wicket-keeping talent in Ireland, that Mark Donegan who in addition to being a very able wicketkeeper is also a fine batsman, is not a member of the elite Irish squads.
With a score of 131 to chase, it was only necessary for The Hills to bat sensibly, but this is easier said than done. When Murray Commins, the in-form batsman of recent games was out for a duck, and he was followed by Bhavesh Lakhotia (2) thoughts of a facile victory for the Hills, evaporated. Mark Donegan (15) and Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (35) steadied matters to a certain extent, but Mark was out when the score was 41, and Cormac departed at 55 runs. The Hills’ innings now resembled that of Clontarf with 4 wickets down for not many runs, and the bowling side in the ascendancy. Initially, Dylan Blignaut and Andrew Kavanagh weathered the storm, and gradually attacking shots began to be played. Dylan’s final score was 59*, and Andrew scored a hard-fought 17*. The target score was achieved in the 38th over, and The Hills had won four games in a row to end the season on a high note.
The Hills’ First X1 may not be bringing any silverware to The Vineyard this season, but its record of 4 wins out of 6 in the T20 competition and 5 wins out of 7 in the BUAKIT Premier League is testimony to a wonderful level of consistency. Tomás Rooney-Murphy, the captain, has led by example and engendered a fine spirit in the team. At different times throughout the season, different players have stepped up to the plate with the bat, and in characteristic Fingal fashion, the bowling and fielding performances have been at a high level in most of the games. With young cricketers developing nicely on the First X1 and successes at youth level, the future at The Vineyard is very bright. Until next season, and with every good wish for a safe and healthy close season, it’s onwards and upwards.
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The numbers drawn in the Lotto last evening were:
5, 8, 20 & 30
There was no winner of The Jackpot.
Lucky Dip winners were Alan Courell & Aisling Byrne, €25.00 each.
The Jackpot for next week is €2,050.00.
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The Hills v YMCA, 31 August 2021
142 for 8 139 for 9, The Hills won by 2 wickets
The Hills’ players had no time to rest on their laurels after Monday’s win at Rathmines, and they welcomed YMCA to The Vineyard on Tuesday evening. A combination of work pressures and injury meant that The Hills made four changes from the team which beat Leinster with Sameer Dutt, Athar Farooqi, Will Archer and Mark Donegan replacing Cian Nulty, Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin, Lorcan Woodhouse and Bhavesh Lakhotia.
YMCA won the toss and opted to bat first. It is a convention in 20 overs cricket that it is essential to score heavily during the 6 Power Play overs, and Rory Anders implemented this requirement to its fullest extent. In a fearsome attack on The Hills’ opening bowlers, he managed to lose 1 ball, score 2 sixes, 5 fours, have a strike rate of 194.12% and by the time his wicket was taken by Sameer Dutt, he had added 33 runs to the YMCA score. At the end of the Power Play, YMCA had scored 54 runs for the loss of 1 wicket. From the 5th over onwards, the spin twins, Sameer Dutt and Jonathan Tall managed to put a brake on the scoring rate, and YMCA wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Vipul Kashyap (24), Roy Maltby (19) and Michael O’Reilly (14) made valuable contributions to the YMCA score, and at the end of the first innings, YMCA had accumulated 139 runs for the loss of 9 wickets.
After the initial onslaught, The Hills’ bowlers retrieved lost ground, with Tomas Rooney-Murphy taking 3 wickets for 27 runs, Jonathan Tall, 2 wickets for 13 runs, Andrew Kavanagh 1 for 19, Sameer Dutt 1 for 29 and Dylan Blignaut 1 for 29. There was an appreciable improvement in the fielding, and some wonderful catches were taken, especially the catch by Tomás Rooney-Murphy to dismiss Ian Anders.
The Hills’ reply had the worst possible start, with a wicket falling to a run out on the third ball of the first over. Tomás Rooney-Murphy sacrificed his wicket when there was a mix-up between himself and Murray Commins regarding a quick single. This brought Mark Donegan to the crease, and he played some beautiful shots, but when the score was on 16, he was deceived by a quicker ball from Cillian McDonnell. There was then a stand of 36 runs between Murray Commins and Dylan Blignaut (9), but Dylan’s wicket fell to a catch behind the wicket by JJ Cassidy off the bowling of Rory Anders. Cassidy was in the act again shortly after when he effected a brilliant legside stumping to dismiss Andrew Kavanagh when only three runs had been added. There was then a stand of 51 runs between Murray Commins and Will Archer (17), but the required rate was rising all the time, and there was an element of panic setting in. Murray Commins (55) who had batted brilliantly for the third successive day was out when the score was 106; he was followed immediately by Athar Farooqi who was dismissed first ball, and Will Archer was clean bowled by Rory Anders 2 runs later. There was now a contrast in moods with the YMCA supporters euphoric, and the mood of The Hills’ supporters replicating the gathering gloom of the evening. At the start of the 17th over, 32 runs were required off 4 overs with 4 wickets in hand. The next partnership between Sameer Dutt and Sam Smyth added 5 runs when Sam having batted with great maturity was out to a catch on the boundary. With 2 overs remaining, 25 runs were required, and it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that the home team was going to come up short, but Killian Everard and Sameer did not entertain such negative thoughts. In the 19th over, Sameer hit 2 fours, 1 six and this over yielded a total of 17 runs to leave The Hills needing 8 runs to win. Killian took a single off the first ball, Sameer hit a four off the next ball, and then he hit a single. With 2 runs required off 3 balls, there was tremendous pressure on Killian, and the next ball was a dot. With great aplomb, he played a beautiful cover drive which sped to the boundary, and The Hills had won a tremendous game amid scenes of great euphoria.
Since he came to The Hills, Sameer Dutt has had very little opportunity to bat, but on Tuesday evening, he gave a brilliant display of intelligent batting and controlled striking. Murray Commins’ rich vein of form continued, and the young players made vital contributions to this win. It’s a tribute to the spirit which the captaincy of Tomás Rooney-Murphy has engendered in the team that no game is lost until the last ball has been bowled. Until next Saturday’s visit of Clontarf to The Vineyard, it’s onwards and upwards.
The members of The Hills CC have long been renowned for their thoughtfulness, and during the innings break, a cake and club tie were presented to Ray Moran to mark his forthcoming 80th birthday.
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Leinster CC v The Hills, 30 August 2021
The flurry of re-fixed games continued unabated as The Hills visited Leinster CC for a 20 overs per side game. Due to pressures of work, The Hills had three changes from the team which had beaten Pembroke on Saturday. Lorcan Woodhouse came into the team, Andrew Kavanagh took the wicket-keeping slot, and there was a first-team debut for Sam Smyth. Saturday’s victory had lifted the relegation pressures on The Hills, but this was not the situation for a Leinster team which up to that point had failed to win any game in the BUAKIT Premier League.
Leinster won the toss and opted to bat first. It was evident that the fear of relegation had produced a highly motivated team, and by the end of the 6th over, Leinster had accumulated 56 runs for the loss of a single wicket. The introduction of Jonathan Tall, the left arm spinner, induced a slowing of the run-rate initially, and then he took the prized wicket of Joey Carroll, last Saturday’s centurion, and former Hills’ player. At the other end, the first ball which Sam Smyth bowled in Premier League cricket dismantled the stumps of Bilal Azhar (38) who had been batting brilliantly. According to one of The Hills’ statisticians, this is the first occasion that a debutant has taken a wicket with the first ball that he bowled in Senior cricket. A variety of Leinster cricketers got starts, but none of them went on to make a significant contribution to the score, and Leinster’s final total was 156 runs 8 wickets.
Regarding the bowling performance, it was wonderful to see Sam Smyth take a wicket with his first ball and to witness the celebrations which ensued. Jonathan Tall’s 4 overs for 22 runs and 1 wicket were pivotal in slowing down the Leinster scoring rate, but at an overall level, The Hills’ bowling lacked the accuracy of recent performances, and 17 wides were conceded. Although Andrew Kavanagh did not concede a single bye, the general standard of The Hills’ fielding was several notches below the normal standards of this team.
A target of 157 runs to win was very challenging, and there was the ever-present fear of deteriorating light. The Hills’ opening pair, Cormac McLoughlin (21) and Bhavesh Lakhotia, had accumulated 36 runs when Bhavesh had to retire injured due to a hamstring strain. It was unfortunate that some of the Leinster fielders were less than sympathetic to his plight as he left the field and made some uncalled for comments. Bhavesh’s injury brought the in-form Murray Commins to the crease, and he proceeded to bat brilliantly. With Dylan Blignaut as his partner, this pair added 42 runs to the score until Dylan was run-out due to confusion in the first instance regarding an LBW appeal. 20 more runs were added when Andrew Kavanagh became the second run-out victim of the evening. With the pressure mounting and the light deteriorating, Murray Commins (51*) and Cian Nulty (18) displayed superb game management skills by ensuring that The Hills remained ahead on the DLS score. The 16th over was the pivotal one which effectively decided the result as 23 runs were scored (3 sixes, 2 singles, and 3 no balls) off Saqib Bahadur. Cian Nulty’s wicket fell when the score was 138 runs. This left Tomás Rooney-Murphy and Murray Commins to negotiate whatever overs were going to be allowed. After the third ball of the 18th over, the umpires decided that it was no longer possible to continue, and this decision produced lengthy and heated discussions while the light deteriorated even further.
Some of the Leinster supporters were under the mistaken impression that when a 50 overs game is reduced to 20 overs, there cannot be a further reduction and that the game should be declared null and void with the teams sharing the points. The umpires and a Cricket Leinster official were able to inform all and sundry that the regulations had been changed, and results were possible using the DLS system once a minimum of 10 overs had been bowled in the second innings.
In the end, this was a magnificent batting performance by The Hills CC. Murray Commins batted superbly; there were valuable innings from Dylan Blignaut (24), Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (21), Cian Nulty (18), and Bhavesh Lakhotia (16*), and a challenging target was achieved under adverse conditions. The games continue to come fast and furious. The Hills will entertain YMCA at The Vineyard on Tuesday and the last game of the league will be played against Clontarf at The Vineyard on Saturday. Until then, it is onwards and upwards.
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The Hills v Pembroke, 28 August 2021 Third Man
The Hills First X1 had an immediate opportunity to make amends for the indifferent performance against Merrion last Thursday when they travelled to Sydney Parade to play Pembroke in a vital league game with another defeat making the prospect of relegation from the Premier League a live possibility. Pembroke won the toss and opted to bat first, but the Hills’ opening bowlers, Dylan Blignaut and Tomás Rooney-Murphy bowled with great accuracy and fire to maintain constant pressure on the Pembroke batsmen. By the end of the seventh over, Blignaut had taken two wickets, the first wicket falling to a smart catch by Murray Commins at first slip, the second wicket to a catch behind the wicket by Mark Dwyer. Pembroke wickets fell at regular intervals, but the Lawson brothers, Theo (73*) and Paul (26) stood firm and ensured that Pembroke ended on the competitive total of 192 runs. The Hills’ spinners, Sameer Dutt (1 wicket for 19 runs in 10 overs) and Jonathan Tall (2 wickets for 39 runs in 10 overs), bowled very well, and their bowling was complemented by a superb performance in the field, with eight catches being taken.
The consensus during the innings break was that the target would be difficult to attain because the pitch was conducive to spin, and spin bowling has consistently been the bane of Fingal cricketers’ lives. The Hills’ opening batsmen, Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin and Bhavesh Lakotia, batted circumspectly and sensibly, and the first wicket did not fall until the eleventh over, with Bhavesh being clean-bowled by Paul Lawson. Cormac was joined at the wicket by Murray Commins, and a magnificent partnership of 116 runs unfolded. Cormac scored a well-deserved half-century (53 runs), and Murray showed the form which had remained latent up to this juncture for The Hills CC. He batted until the 44th over and scored a brilliant 79 runs to bring the target within manageable proportions. Twists and turns of fate are one of the constants in the lives of supporters, and with three successive LBW decisions, the brows of the six Hills’ supporters became progressively more furrowed. There was then a stumping, and it appeared that The Hills were going to be on the wrong side of another close game with Pembroke. Cometh the hour, cometh the men. The cousins, Tomás Rooney-Murphy and Cian Nulty maintained their composure in this highly pressurised situation, and Cian’s three fours ensured that the required runs were obtained without any further alarms.
This was a fine performance by the Hills’ players, with bowling, fielding, and batting being a vast improvement on the efforts in the previous game. This was a genuine team effort, and it would be invidious to single out any player for further mention, but to compliment all of them for the manner in which they rose to the challenge. The league season is scheduled to end on Saturday, 4th September, and consequently, The Hills must play three games during the coming week. There are re-fixed games at Rathmines (Monday), the Vineyard (Tuesday) and the final league game is against Clontarf at Vineyard on Saturday. Until Monday, it is onwards and upwards.
PS Henry Tighe, the former President of Cricket Ireland and Cricket Leinster, presided over a moving ceremony during the innings break when the ashes of Cyril Irwin, the former Pembroke player, were scattered at the edge of the pitch. It was a great tribute to Cyril’s memory that so many Pembroke members and former members were present on this poignant occasion.
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There are some games that stay with players for the rest of their lives, and this will surely be one of those for this team of youngsters. With perfect weather conditions, a large enthusiastic crowd and The Vineyard in immaculate condition, the scene was perfectly set for the Cubs league semi-final play-off against a visiting Adamstown side. Captain for the day Leo Russell lost the toss and Adamstown put The Hills in to bat. With the game played on a net score basis, it was as important not to lose wickets (minus 5) as to get runs.
Tom Jackson (5) and Daniel Adderley (10) got The Hills off to a solid start during their 4 overs with no wickets lost. Next in, Callum Walsh batted beautifully to top score for the day with 13 in a partnership with Caleb Keane (4). The remaining pairs – Ed Lynch (3) and James Davies (5), Ryan Clinton (6) and Gary Costello (4), Sam Clinton (3) and Leo Russell (7), all contributed and kept the scoreboard ticking over. Crucially, only 2 wickets were lost in the innings against a very strong bowling attack who were able to get the ball to swing. Adamstown bowled extremely well giving away only 15 extras which at this level is an extremely good performance.
Set a target of 66 net to win, the Adamstown opening pair came under immediate pressure from a focussed Hills team who produced a superb bowling and fielding display, remaining calm throughout which cannot be said for the parents on the sidelines whose nerves were being tested to the limits! Wickets fell at a regular pace. Pick of the bowlers was Sam Clinton, a chip off the old block, with a miserly 3 for 11 off 3 overs. Ed Lynch took 2 wickets in his first over and Leo Russell took a superb catch off his own bowling to end up with 1 for 4 off his 2 overs of leg spin. Daniel Adderley took two on the bounce to end up with 2 for 9 which included another spectacular catch, this time from James Davies in the covers. With 11 wickets down Adamstown ended the evening with 83 on the board, 28 net.
The Hills coaches Luke Clinton and Andrew Russell were delighted with the performance, and they would like to thank the visiting Adamstown players, coaches and supporters for the spirit in which the game was played. Special thanks also to those that helped prepare the team during the week – Stephen Jackson, Tracy Clinton and Simon Adderley. Thanks also to Laura Walsh for scoring the book and of course to the team of volunteers who had The Vineyard looking incredible again.
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