The Hills 1– Champions – (Predicted 1st) – Batting Rating 138 – Bowling Rating 145 – Overall Rating 283 – All Ireland Ranking 10 (-3 on year) – Leinster ranking 6 (-2 on year)
Whilst it was not the biggest surprise of the 2015 cricketing season, The Hills won Division 2 by a convincing margin, lifting their 10th league title in total. It was the second time they have won the second tier division in Leinster cricket (2005 was the first time), all of which can be listed some way behind their three Division 1/Senior League titles. Whilst it was a title predicted by all, it still had to be achieved, and despite a couple of hiccoughs, the title was won with the minimum of fuss. Their bowling attack was rated a bit better than their bowling, but closer analysis reveals the bowling was simply awesome. Throughout our league reviews, any bowler who takes more than ten wickets at an average of under 16 can be seen as a decent bowler. If any team has more than one such bowler, they are likely wto win the league. The Hills had five such bowlers, plus two more who averaged a touch over 16. Without clogging up pages and pages of stats (the full details can be seen at the bottom of the page), the splendid septet were Deon Carolus, Max Sorensen, Manu Kumar, Naseer Shoukat, Tomas Rooney Murphy, Luke Clinton and Mark Dwyer. A set of seven bowlers that would rank up at the top of any list of the top attacks in Leinster cricket in the last 30 years. For the last couple of seasons, the team’s Achilles Heel has definitely been the batting, and the batting unit was probably lucky it had such a wonderful bowling attack to help. Only two players passed 200 runs, but that was all that was needed. Nicolaas Pretorious was back to his best, with 387 runs (at 48.38 and a strike rate of 123.64), whilst Mike Baumgart hit 260 (at 37.14, SR 74.07). Max Sorensen’s batting also deserves a mention. He was the only player to score his runs quicker than Pretorious, hitting 173 runs in the 99 balls he faced in league cricket all year. He will be hugely missed. The only two blemishes were the league losses against Balbriggan and Leinster, when the batting spluttered. Against Balbriggan, they slipped from 52-3 to 82 all out (although the bowling nearly saved the day as Balbriggan lost five wickets for seven runs before winning by 3 wickets), whereas against Leinster the batting troubles were higher up the order, as they collapsed to 23-7. But those were mere blips, and Leinster cricket is all the better for having The Hills back in Division 1 in 2016.