22nd May 2022
In recent years, games between The Hills and Dublin University have been contested fiercely with no quarter asked for or given. Two years ago, Dublin University won a close game at The Vineyard, while last year, The Hills won a close game at College Park. Both teams were still in contention to qualify for the semi-final but were dependent on the result of North County’s game against Phoenix. Dublin University won the toss and opted to bowl in very favourable bowling conditions. The Hills’ top order batsmen struggled to cope with a ball that was swinging, and wickets fell with monotonous regularity. Of the top six batsmen, only Andrew Kavanagh (14) had a score in double figures. With 7 wickets down for 68 runs, it appeared that the faithful at The Vineyard would have another early finish, but on this occasion, it would be The Hills that would lose. Cometh the hour, cometh two men. Tomás Rooney-Murphy (50) and Athar Farooqi (43*) batted brilliantly to bring the score up to 157, and then there was a last wicket partnership of 27 runs between Athar and Luke Clinton which gave The Hills a competitive total of 184 runs.
After a beautiful tea, hostilities recommenced, and from a Hills’ perspective, it was essential to take early wickets. The Trinity batsmen were very circumspect against the opening bowling of Dylan Blignaut and Tomás Rooney-Murphy, but a wicket was taken eventually in the seventh over when Mark Donegan took a superb catch off the bowling of Dylan Blignaut. The fall of the first wicket brought Nicolaas Pretorius, the former Hills’ player, to the crease and he batted very well for 52 runs while wickets kept falling at the other end. There were a number of rain delays, and the two umpires were confronted with difficult situations which they handled with diplomacy and calmness. Pretorius was out when Murray Commins took a catch off the bowling of Dylan Blignaut, and that shifted the balance in favour of the bowling side. The last 4 Trinity wickets were taken for 37 runs, and there was great elation at The Vineyard when Collins was run out by the Kavanagh/ Donegan combination.
The Hills’ bowlers were superb with Blignaut taking 4 wickets for 34; Tomás Rooney-Murphy, 2 for 30; Levon Shields, 2 for 10 and Jonathan Tall, 1 for 41. Although he did not take a wicket, Ashley Bain bowled with great control, and his 7 overs yielded only 20 runs. The Hills’ fielding was excellent throughout the innings; Mark Donegan was brilliant behind the stumps and took 3 catches, one of which was an absolutely magnificent effort. Andy Kavanagh took 2 catches and was involved in a run-out, and special mention is merited by Katie Boylan who sub-fielded very well for the injured Luke Clinton. With news filtering back to The Vineyard that North County had been beaten by Phoenix, The Hills and North County are now neck and neck for a place in the semi-final. The Hills can look back on a very satisfactory weekend which yielded two victories and will look forward to the visit of Terenure to The Vineyard on Saturday next. Until then, it’s onwards and upwards.