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.