The Hills v Dublin University, 19 June 2021 Third Man
University sports teams tend to vary appreciably in quality from year to year, and according to Sanil Gupta, the Trinity Captain, the present team is the strongest one to represent the college in years. The validity of this assertion was going to be subjected to a severe examination when Trinity visited The Vineyard to play the unbeaten Hills’ X1.
Trinity won the toss and opted to field first. Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin hit two beautiful fours in the first over but was then out to a catch by P. Duffy, off the bowling of Sam Streek when the score was 11. From a Hills’ perspective, this pattern was to repeat itself on 6 other occasions when poor shot selection resulted in players being out to catches. The second Hills’ wicket (Levon Shields) was taken when the score was 20 runs, and a period of consolidation followed. Mark Donegan (21) and Dylan Blignaut brought the score up to 59 when Donegan was bowled by Collins. The next wicket, that of The Hills’ captain, Tomás Rooney-Murphy fell when the score was 72. Blignaut (51) and Andrew Kavanagh (12) had a partnership of 40 runs, and by the 16th over, the Hills had scored 112 runs, but then a series of disasters befell the home team. Firstly, Blignaut was out to catch, and he was followed by Kavanagh one run later. The last 6 Hills’ wickets fell for 19 runs, and the score at the end of the 20th over was 131 runs.
The consensus among the home fans was that The Hills’ score was about 30 runs short of a winning total, but it is never wise to speculate on these matters because of the vagaries of cricket. When a team is defending a small score, it is imperative that wickets are taken early so that the chasing side is put under pressure. Unfortunately, from a Hills’ perspective this did not occur. The first Trinity wicket (Hogan) fell to a run-out when the score was 23 runs. This brought Nicolaas Pretorius, the former Hills’ player to the crease, and just as former players invariably score the winning goal when they return to a club, Nicolaas anchored the Trinity innings. In partnership with David Cosgrave, he put on 65 runs before Cosgrave (39) was bowled by Luke Clinton. Three Trinity batsmen in a row were adjudged LBW, and this set up an exciting finale, but Nicolaas (54*) stood firm and with Jack Atkinson ensured that Trinity reached the required target.
On this occasion, the batting, bowling, and fielding displays of The Hills were well-below the standards which had been achieved in the previous two games, but it would be manifestly unfair to judge the team too harshly on this performance. In any event, there is an immediate opportunity to avenge this defeat when The Hills will play Trinity at College Park on Saturday next. Until then, it is onwards and upwards.