The Hills, 1969-2019
Inaugural Meeting of The Hills CC
The inaugural meeting of The Hills CC was held in the Holmpatrick Hotel, Skerries in late September 1969 and it was chaired by Gerry Byrne. Joe Clinton and Paddy Byrne had inspected The Vineyard regarding its possible suitability as a cricket ground. It was resolved to request the use of The Vineyard and if permission was forthcoming, to enter a team in the Leinster Cricket Union League for the 1970 season. Gerry Byrne and Joe Clinton were delegated to meet with Mrs Wentges.
Attendance: Gerry Byrne, Jimmy Byrne (Snr), Seamus Clinton, Joe Clinton, Martin Byrne, Johnny Archer, Joe Hoare, Jimmy Byrne, Richard Byrne, David Murtagh, Richard Dunne, Jim Russell, Jimmy Howarth, John Murtagh
A square of wickets was developed in the middle of the field, but the landowners cut silage off the field, which meant that it was not possible to play home games until early June. At the end of the season, the square was fenced off to allow for cattle to graze in the outfield. The first clubhouse was a wooden crate acquired at a cost of £19 from Buckleys, the car distributors on Shanowen Road, Santry.
The Hills v St John Bosco Boys’ Club, 16 May 1970
The Hills’ first ever game in Leinster League cricket did not have the most auspicious of starts. The players drove to the wrong ground, but they were quickly informed by a very superior member of another cricket club, “this is Phoenix CC, Civil Service ground is over there.” After this false start, things improved. The Hills amassed 188 runs, with St John Bosco’s tally being 12. Johnny Archer scored 80 runs, and Joe Clinton got 28 runs. The wickets were taken by Joe Hoare, Martin Byrne and Joe Clinton.
The Hills: Seamus Clinton (Captain), Joe Clinton, Martin Byrne, Johnny Archer, Joe Hoare, Jimmy Byrne, Richard Byrne, David Murtagh, Richard Dunne, Jim Russell, Jimmy Howarth.
First Game at The Vineyard
The Hills v Knockbrack 11, 6 June 1970
This was the first game played at The Vineyard. Knockbrack 11 was captained by Thomas Mc Grane, long-time Secretary/Treasurer of the Fingal League. The result was a win for The Hills.
First Cup Win for The Hills, 1971
Pembroke 5 v The Hills 1 – Junior Cup Final at Carlisle C.C. on 21st August 1971
In 1971, the all-conquering Hills team under the inspirational captaincy of Johnny Archer had started to make its presence felt in in Leinster Cricket. The Junior A League was won when the team went through the season unbeaten, and the mantle of favourites was bestowed on it for the Junior Cup because the opposition, Pembroke 5 had been beaten easily by The Hills in the league game earlier in the season. For the record The Hills team was John Archer (Captain), Simon Hoare, Joseph Hoare, Gerry Byrne, Martin Byrne, Anthony Byrne, Jimmy Byrne, Joe Clinton, David Murtagh, Pat Casey and Hugh Cowling.
Michael Sharp, long-serving Secretary of the Junior Branch, was captain of Pembroke V on that occasion, and he has written a beautifully evocative account of the game which bears testimony to his sportsmanship and incredible recall of detail. The final sentence shows the camaraderie which existed among the cricketing community in those bygone days, and it bears comparison with the amount of after-match socialisation which occurs in the modern cricketing era. It is a privilege to make Michael’s account of that game and the post-match celebrations more widely available.
Michael Sharp remembers
In the mid-sixties, Pembroke became one of the first Leinster clubs to field a Fifth XI. While not having great success, it won a reasonable number of matches and in 1971 reached the Junior Cup Final. There was considerable interest within the club as no Pembroke team had won a cup for over ten years. Even the hugely successful Pembroke 1– three senior league titles in a row –had failed consistently in the cup. We knew that realistically we were very much the underdogs against this new club, The Hills, who had entered Leinster competitions a year earlier, were riding high in the league and had beaten us comprehensively earlier in the season. By contrast we had quite an inconsistent batting record and depended largely on a couple of bowlers.
The match was originally scheduled for 14 August, but heavy rain led to a postponement until a week later. Alf Solomons of Carlisle C.C. and the Junior Branch Committee oversaw the day and in those pre- LCUSA days was delegated to act as umpire. Martin Russell, who was I think a member of Balbriggan at the time, had come to watch the match. Before the start, Alf approached me to say that he had seen Martin umpire some games, reckoned he would be competent and fair and suggested that he might do the other end. I agreed.
The Hills won the toss, elected to bat and in those timeless cup days we reckoned we faced a long day in the field and the possibility of midweek evening continuation. In fact, our bowlers performed very well, and we had half of The Hills’ batsmen back in the pavilion with the score still below three figures. However, a dogged innings by Anto Byrne helped by the tailenders saw The Hills reach about 150. Ironically, I remember Martin Russell confiding in me after the innings that he felt we had Anto out lbw early in his innings but did not appeal.
There had been some rain so there was only time for about an hour’s further play. Despite losing an early wicket we were in a reasonable position coming to the close. However, three wickets including two of our better batsmen fell in the last fifteen minutes leaving us at about 40 for 5 over-night. After some discussion, we agreed to continue on the Sunday morning. We needed a good start but lost an early wicket, never got going and were all out well below the target score. I am dependent on memory to name the Pembroke team and although I am certain of ten, I am uncertain of the eleventh – Michael Sharp (capt), Frank Smith, Frank Lynham, Robbie Brophy, Mervyn Cooper, George Gillette, Maurice Dee, Paul Foster, Paul McGloughlin, Paul Weldon, A.N. Other.
Before the match, Gerry Byrne had said to me that whatever the outcome, could they come to Pembroke for a celebration some evening? I agreed readily. It was set up over the phone with Gerry in the subsequent days and later in the month a busload of The Hills team and supporters came to Sydney Parade for a memorable evening. I remember that both on that evening and in my losing captain’s speech I predicted that Leinster cricket would hear a lot more of The Hills – how right I was.
By 1972, a second team was formed, and in 1974, a third team was added with the result that extra time was required on the ground. The Wentges family was approached again and the club was given permission to use the full outfield for the whole of the cricket season. The club was given a five- year lease on the grounds, and this provided very welcome security of tenure.
Irish Junior Cup Win
The Hills v Zingari, Irish Junior Cup, 20 September 1975
As winners of the Middle Cup in 1974, The Hills qualified for the Irish Junior Cup in 1975. In the semi-final, The Hills beat Greysteel from Derry on a score of 137 runs to 59 runs. The final was played at Phoenix against Zingari, the adopted title of Cliftonville 111. This report is based on the recollections of some of the players who were involved in the game, and the first difficulty was to ascertain exactly which players represented The Hills CC on this occasion. After an exhaustive series of interviews, there is a reasonable consensus that The Hills team was as follows, we think:
John Archer, Liam Archer, Paddy Byrne, Martin Byrne, Anthony Byrne, Jimmy Byrne, Seán Hoare, Joe Hoare, Martin Russell, Nick Farrell, Matt Dwyer.
Interview with Martin Russell
The Hills batted first with Johnny Archer and Martin Russell opening the batting. One of the opening bowlers for Zingari, W. Irvine, who later played for Bready, took 2 early wickets. (Liam and John Archer), and The Hills looked to be in very serious trouble. However, Nick Farrell joined Martin Russell at the crease, and for some time, it became a question of survival. Zingari then had the misfortune to lose Irvine because he went over on his ankle and was unable to continue bowling. Nick Farrell and Martin Russell accumulated runs steadily, and there were no further alarms. When Nick Farrell was out, Seán Hoare joined the fray, and he gave further impetus to the scoring rate. Thus, despite of the early setbacks, The Hills batted the full 50 overs and ended on 200 for 9.
In late season, a score of 200 was almost certainly a winning score, but nothing was taken for granted by this incredibly competitive team. Liam Archer took 3 wickets for 20 runs and Martin Byrne took 3 for 22. Zingari was never in the hunt. It only batted 40 of the 50 allocated overs and it ended on 68 runs. This completed a 4-year period during which The Hills won 12 titles at either league or cup level and won several Championship trophies in the very competitive Fingal League.
Synopsis of score as submitted to the Irish Times:
The Hills 200 for 9 (50 overs). M. Russell 63, N. Farrell 37, S. Hoare, 24: W. Irvine 2 for 13, J. Mc Clean 2 for 50).
Zingari 68 (40 overs). R. Ringland 23, R. McNamee 20; L. Archer 3 for 20, M. Byrne 3 for 22. The Hills won by 132 runs
The Opening of the Club House in 1977
As the teams worked their way through the divisions of the Leinster Cricket Union leagues, it was obvious that the infrastructure of the club would have to be improved if playing ambitions were to be realised. The complicating element related to the fact that the club was leasing the ground, and while relations with the Wentges family were positive, there was the potential for difficulties in terms of ownership if a permanent structure was erected on the land. The compromise solution was to build a wooden clubhouse which could be dismantled very easily in the event of issues arising relating to tenure.
This building was 50 ft (15.24m) long and 25ft (7.62m) wide, with changing rooms, toilets, showers, kitchen and a common room. It was built by the members of the club with some professional help, and the project received tremendous support from the local community. It was intended that the clubhouse would act as a community centre, and it was going to be available to the people in the area. The club hoped that the development of this facility would be of assistance in fulfilling its aim to be the first Fingal League club to play in the Leinster Senior League.
An article in the Drogheda Independent prior to the official opening was fulsome in praise of The Hills’ achievements at playing and now infrastructural levels, and it ended as follows:
This is a rare chance to see cricket at its best, and a visit to the picturesque Milverton ground on Sunday is a must for all cricket fans in Fingal.
The new clubhouse was opened officially on 18 September 1977 by Skerries native, HD Cashell, President of the Leinster Cricket Union. This was a day of celebration and there was also a game between HD Cashell’s X1 and a Hills X1. Among the players on the visiting team were International players such as Alec O’Riordan, Dougie Goodwin, Jack Short, Brendan O’Brien, Gerry O’Brien and Stan Oakes. This game is remembered mostly for Joe Archer hitting Stan Oakes, a renowned bowler, for 3 successive 6s, and this was very much in keeping with the Fingal attitude to spin bowling, attack it at all costs.
Senior 2 Final, The Hills v Old Belvedere 2, 9 August 1980
(Edited highlights of Séan Pender’s Articles, Irish Times)
Another article from the archives. Noteworthy elements are the references to brilliant fielding, exemplary sportsmanship and the number of brothers playing for The Hills. We can also see how much the game has changed – 2 bowlers bowling unchanged, sponsorship by a cigarette company and a player occupying the crease for 2 hours to score 9 runs!
Irish Times, 9 August 1980
Pride of place in today’s programme goes to the meeting of Old Belvedere’s Seconds and The Hills in the Leinster Senior 2 Final at Park Avenue. Though a number of their team has had premier experience including the captain, Bernard O’ Donnell, Old Belvedere enter the fray as underdogs: they have yet to score a victory against today’ opposition at any level in the competition.
Against a side whose fielding prowess is renowned for its brilliance and who will be fighting tooth and nail to salvage something from the wreckage of a season that has seen them penalised 50 points in the league competition, Old Belvedere will be hoping to win the toss and build up a useful score from their 60 overs….
There is a family flavour about The Hills X1. Included are two sets of brothers (this is wrong, there were 3 sets of brothers), Paddy and Martin Byrne, both splendid bats, and John and Liam Archer, also on the front rank as run-makers, and brother, Joey, the outstanding fielder in an outstanding fielding side and big left-handed hitter to boot.
The Hills: P. Byrne, L. Archer, Joey Archer, John Archer, M. Byrne, J. Byrne, Mick Dwyer, Matt Dwyer, P. Hoare, N. Carpenter, G. Harper.
Irish Times, 12 August 1980
In what the participants agreed was the most remarkable match they had ever played, Old Belvedere slumped disastrously to 50 all out, but in a turnaround that left everyone stunned, they then routed The Hills for only 32. On what was no means a minefield, The Hills incredibly lost 10 wickets for 14 runs in only 30 minutes after they seemed to have consolidated their dazzling performance in the field by scoring 18 without loss off 4 overs. No one can recall wickets toppling with such dizzying rapidity in any grade of cricket on any type of wicket.
Peter O’ Reilly (now a journalist with The Irish Times) took the first four wickets to fall for seven runs in seven overs including a tumbling caught and bowled. Then Bernard O’ Donnell stepped in to polish off the innings with five for nine in 4.1 overs. Twice on a hat-trick, he gained the John Player man of the match award for his efforts, With The Hills reeling from one dismissal to another, Brian Wilson took three catches behind the wicket, diving spectacularly to account for Gerry Harper, the opposition’s most prolific scorer this season, while Paul Clinch gobbled up two sharp catches in the slips. To bring the innings to a close, Tim Sheehy achieved a run-out with only 1 stump at which to aim. That high was the quality of the Belvedere fielding.
Johnny Archer, with two fours in 15, was the only Hills’ batsman to reach double figures. He also accepted 4 catches at silly mid-on as the Byrne brothers, Martin and Paddy, bowled unchanged for figures for 3 for 27 and 6 for 21 respectively.
John Walsh, who slammed a gigantic 6 in his 25, was the only Belvedere batsman to get out of single figures. Sheehy stayed two hours for nine runs, displaying inexhaustible patience and dogged defence.
If The Hills felt that Saturday’s defeat might not enhance their chances of gaining Premier status in Dublin cricket, they helped their cause in no uncertain manner by the sporting way in which they accepted defeat and conducted themselves throughout the match.
Leinster CC v The Hills CC, First Senior Game, 20 June 1981
The Hills had made several applications for senior status, and each of them had been rejected on a variety of grounds. Eventually, the Leinster Cricket Union agreed to allow The Hills to play in the Senior Cup, but this was a very qualified permission. The Hills was obliged to play away, and in the first round, was drawn against the mighty Leinster CC.
(Edited version of two reports in the Irish Times by Seán Pender and comments appended from interviews with participants).
Chance for The Hills to step up (IT, 20 June 1981)
The Hills’ cherished ambition of attaining premier status could come a step nearer fruition with a creditable performance against Leinster at Rathmines today in the second round in the John Player Cup competition. Nobody- outside of the confines of Skerries, that is- expects the Hills to defeat Leinster, the current league leaders, but if even in defeat they make the home side aware of their presence, enough will have been done to enhance their claims for promotion.
The Hills however enter the fray with the odds heavily stacked against them. Not only will they be participating for the first time in a 60 overs competition that restricts any one bowler to a maximum of 12 overs, but of their five junior matches so far, four have been washed out, denying the side much-needed practice.
Furthermore, as they have batted first in those matches that did get under way, their bowlers have suffered particularly, scarcely unleashing a ball in anger. For that reason, the north Dubliners are delaying final selection until they have a look at the Rathmines wicket this morning. The temptation may be to include only 4 specialised bowlers in order to strengthen the batting.
For all that, The Hills are not without hope of causing an upset. They recognise that in Jack Short, Leinster have a batsman of the very highest order but are equally convinced that if they can get him early in the day before he has had an opportunity of developing his innings, they are in with a winning chance.
The Hills: Matt Dwyer, John Archer, P. Byrne, M. Byrne, J. Byrne, Michael Dwyer, P. Hoare, L. Archer, G. Harper, Joe Archer, N. Farrell, A. Byrne (12th Man).
The Hills must pursue status claim, (IT, 23 June 1981) (Edited, …. Indicates that some content has been omitted from original report)
Failure to extend top club Leinster to any great degree in last Saturday’s John Player Cup match need not deter The Hills from pursuing both urgently and vigorously their ambition to secure premier status. Just as a shock match-winning result at Rathmines would not necessarily have guaranteed them entry into senior ranks in time for next season’s competition, so their 127-run defeat must not be regarded as positive evidence that they are not yet ready for upgrading.
Notwithstanding the big margin of defeat and the fact that the match as a contest was determined by lunch interval with Leinster 153 for no wicket off 33 overs, there was much to admire and commend inn the display of the north County Dubliners. Indeed, had the ball run kindly for them in their first venture into this type of cricket, they would probably have done as well as any senior side on the day.
The Hills’ catalogue of misfortune began even before a ball had been bowled when Matt Dwyer lost the toss. To have made any sort of a battle of it, the inexperienced visitors most certainly had to bat first, made a reasonable total on a superb wicket, then bowl tightly, field like demons and put pressure on Leinster to assert their authority.
For the manner in which they stuck to their task in spite of their hopeless position, The Hills earned much admiration. At the tail-end of the innings, in spite of the earlier gruelling, they were bowling and fielding so spiritedly that the runs never really flowed as anticipated and predictions of a total in excess of 300 which seemed certain at 245 for 1, had to be revised. Brilliant stopping and throwing result in the running out of both Stan Parkinson and David Kent and far from finishing off in spectacular fashion, Leinster were actually struggling for runs in the closing 10 overs. By now The Hills had sealed off a lot of earlier gas with their outfielders pushed back to the boundary line. They were learning fast.
What might have happened had The Hills made a pre-lunch breakthrough is pure conjecture now, of course, but it should still be recorded that in the opening session Short was missed on a run-out when 34 and Buttimer put down on a caught and bowled. No opposition can afford the luxury of muffed chances against two of the province’s most accomplished batsmen when at the very top of their form.
If The Hills’ performance in the field carried a lot of merit, they will however have to work hard to bring their batting up to scratch…. They badly need somebody to sheet-anchor their innings, to tie up an end without necessarily scoring a lot of runs quickly…. Gerry Harper looked their best bat by far until Martin Byrne contributed and exciting half-century batting as low as number nine…. Although they returned home from Rathmines without any specific gains from a tough ordeal the possibility of promotion for the Skerries clubs surely is now something more than a distant dream.
Comments from Matt Dwyer, Captain of The Hills
We learned more from that one game and the conversations after the match than we had done during all our previous games. Firstly, we were used to fielding in a circle without any great thought being given to specific fielding positions. The greater variety of shots which top batsmen possessed meant that they were able to exploits gaps in the field and put the ball where there were no fielders. Secondly, the outfield at Rathmines was cut very tightly, and batsmen got good value for their shots. The Hills had been used to playing on outfields where the grass was longer and consequently, the ball came to the hands of the fielders. During the early overs, the Hills’ fielders spent a lot of time chasing after the ball and it was some time before fielders were placed on the boundaries so that now the ball came to them. Thirdly, it is not possible to spurn any chance which a good player gives, and on this occasion, each of the leading batsmen was missed once. Fourthly, the pitch at Rathmines was superb from a batting perspective, but it gave no assistance to the bowlers. However, the biggest single message which we took from the occasion was that as a team, we would be able to compete in senior cricket, if we were given the opportunity.
The Hills v Balrothery, Senior 2 Cup Final, 7 August 1982
This eagerly awaited clash of local rivals, The Hills and Balrothery, was played at Observatory Lane, Rathmines on 7 August 1982.
The Hills: Matt Dwyer, Gerry Harper, John Archer, Patrick Hoare, Paddy Byrne, Liam Archer, Martin Byrne, Joe Archer, Anthony Byrne, Michael Dwyer, William Dwyer.
Balrothery: Noel Harper, Joe Russell, John Mooney, Tommy Mooney, Joe Mooney, John Andrews, James Mooney, Phil Mooney, Joe Keogh, Oliver Murray, Patrick Hickey.
Synopsis of Score Card:
The Hills 244 (60 overs); Gerry Harper 111, Patrick Hoare 58, Paddy Byrne 16, Martin Byrne 14; Joe Mooney 4 for 81, Tommy Mooney 5 for 59, Noel Harper 0 for 61, Patrick Hickey 1 for 28.
Balrothery 124 (45 overs): Noel Harper 52, John Mooney 34; Matt Dwyer 5 for 10, Paddy Byrne 4 for 45, Liam Archer 1 for 27, Martin Byrne 0 for 29.
The Long Road to Senior Status for The Hills CC
When the Leinster Cricket Union (LCU) was established in 1919, there were 8 senior clubs (Leinster, Phoenix, Dublin University, RHMS, Pembroke, University College Dublin, Railway Union and Civil Service). This classification of clubs as being either senior or junior remained in place until the end of the 2009 season when the leagues were re-structured and numbered from 1 to 15. Senior status was zealously guarded by the established clubs, and this reluctance to admit other clubs to the inner sanctum combined with the lack of a clearly defined pathway constituted very serious difficulties for clubs that wished to progress from junior to senior status.
In view of the successes at Junior League Level in Leinster and in Fingal competitions, the Executive Committee of The Hills decided that the time was opportune for an application for Senior League status, but the lack of a clearly defined pathway meant that there were lots of obstacles to be surmounted. At the end of the 1978 season, The Hills CC applied for senior status, and the application was rejected on the following grounds: The playing strength and back-up were not up to senior standard, the square was not big enough for senior cricket, and the ancillary facilities at The Vineyard were deemed to be inadequate.
By 1980, criticism of the “closed-shop” mentality in Leinster cricket was building up, and junior clubs argued that there had to be some incentive for them to improve their playing standards and their playing facilities, although interestingly, it was accepted as “totally unrealistic” (Seán Pender) to have automatic promotion and relegation. CYM and The Hills applied for senior status in October 1980, but due to the over-crowded nature of the existing fixture list, both applications for full senior membership were rejected initially. As a compromise and on a trial basis for one year, it was decided to invite The Hills to play in the John Player Cup in 1981 (The Leinster Senior Cup), but this was a qualified invitation, The Hills would be obliged to play at their opponents’ grounds. The junior clubs hoped that the participation of The Hills and CYM in Senior Cricket would be the prelude to the launching of a system of promotion and relegation, because there was a perception that it would not be possible to accommodate 12 Senior Clubs in Leinster Cricket, but for some of the existing senior clubs, this would have resembled turkeys voting for Christmas. In October 1981, another application for senior status from The Hills was rejected, but in his annual report for the 1981 season, John Dawson’s advice to The Hills was to “keep trying”.
Hills go Senior
Given that performances on the field were not deemed to be of sufficient standard to merit senior status, The Hills had also been very diligent in addressing perceived shortcomings in facilities. A new clubhouse was erected in 1977, and some years later, another span was added to the building. In that era, Nottingham Turf wickets (artificial) were seen as a panacea for improving batting techniques, and for combatting the vicissitudes of Irish weather, and in 1982, The Hills was the second club in Ireland to lay an artificial wicket. During 1982, an intensive lobbying campaign was mounted for the support of senior clubs, sectional interests and the Executive Committee of the LCU. The Captain of The Hills First X1 waited until 10.00 p.m. in the carpark of a senior club so that he could speak to the President of that club. The President of the senior club was so impressed with this enthusiasm and dedication that he promised that his club would vote for The Hills CC to be accepted into senior cricket. Therefore, by the end of the 1982 season, it seemed that all the auguries were in favour of The Hills achieving the Holy Grail of senior status, and thus it came to pass on 17 September 1982, The Hills CC became the first Fingal League club to be admitted to the Leinster Senior League.
The Hills v North Down, 21 May 1983 (The All-Ireland Cup)
In 1983, there were some in the higher echelons of Leinster cricket who had misgivings about The Hills being admitted to the “top table” because of concerns about the playing standards of the team. The visit of the mighty North Down to The Vineyard for a first -round tie in the Schweppes Irish Senior Cup was seen by many at The Vineyard as an ideal opportunity to answer the critics.
Irish Times on Saturday, 21 May 1983
Newly-promoted The Hills face real baptism of fire
(Edited version of preview article by Sean Pender).
The Hills deserve special sympathy because in their first season in the premier division, they come up against formidable foes in North Down having had only one competitive outing in a rain-affected game against Clontarf in which to acclimatise to the higher standard of play. The Comber side, with the benefit of three matches under their belt, must start favourites. At 21, Robin Haire is the youngest captain in top Ulster cricket, but he has already engendered a good spirit among the players, foremost of whom today are likely to be Haire himself with bat and ball, their Indian professional, Javed Mohammad and Guinness Cup (Interprovincial) players, Ian Shields, Geoff Dempster and John Kerstens, and bowlers Clarence Hiles and Billy Dale. The Hills do have the advantage of playing at home, but this may not be enough to see them through to the next round.
The Hills team: Matt Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, William Dwyer, Martin Byrne, Paddy Byrne, Joe Archer, John Archer, Liam Archer, Gerry Harper, John Neville, Patrick Hoare.
Irish Times, 23 May 1983
The Hills make great home start at senior level
It was a joyous occasion for newly-promoted The Hills to defeat so formidable a side as North Down in their very first senior match on their own ground in as prestigious a competition as the All-Ireland Schweppes Cup. The 52-run victory can do nothing but good for the development of the game in the Skerries area. And while North Down may have had the worst of the weather conditions-a heavy shower during the tea interval had freshened the wicket before the visitors batted- The Hills fully deserved their convincing success. Ultimately it was a case of spirited bowling and superb catching making up for some patchy batting. On this performance, more teams than North Down will bite the dust at Milverton this season.
The side’s combative spirit was best seen in the winning of the man-of-the-match award by Joe Archer. Subbed up from the seconds, he not only made the top score of 31, but in so doing clubbed three massive sixes and a four in an eventful knock that subsequently gave Martin Byrne and John Neville the breathing space to develop the innings to 153 for nine off the 50 overs….
Liam Archer shone in a dual role, scoring 19 invaluable runs in a patient knock at the outset of the innings and then rocking North Down when dismissing their first two batsmen before finishing with three for 13 in 10 overs. Martin Byrne’s batting in compiling 24 earned much admiration for the delicacy of his shots behind the wicket on both sides (he also took 2 wickets)…. Eventually it was a brace of magnificent catches on the run with hands outstretched that tilted the scales in Joe Archer’s favour. Patrick Hoare, John Neville, Willie Dwyer and Mick Dwyer also safely accepted difficult catches of a soapy ball….
It must also be said that their captain, Matt Dwyer, played a significant part in The Hills’ success, not only with tight, accurate left-arm bowling, but in his field placing and in the manner in which he kept his players on their toes all through.
Synopsis of Score: The Hills, 153-9 (Joe Archer, 31, M. Byrne, 24, J. Neville, 22; C. Hiles, 4-17, J. Mohammad, 2-19). North Down: 101 (G. Mowat, 23, L. Archer, 3-13, P. Byrne, 2-10, M. Dwyer, 2-19, M. Byrne, 2-19). The Hills won by 52 runs.
The Minor Cup, 1988
In an iconic photograph, Joe Clinton is pictured hooking the very first ball of the Minor Cup final when The Hills 1V played Balbriggan 111 at Rush on 27 August 1988. Michael Sharp has provided the result card from this game and it makes very interesting reading. The Hills team was:
Joe Clinton, (Capt), Jason Murtagh, Richie Byrne, T. Shields, N. Nugent, D. Daly, L. Daly, M. Maguire, V. Hughes, J. Fanning and D. Byrne.
The Hills batted first, and the main scorers were Joe Clinton, 36, Richie Byrne, 40, Mark Maguire, 29* and N. Nugent, 15. The total for The Hills was 171.
In reply, Balbriggan scored 65 runs. The bowling analysis was as follows:
J. Clinton, 1 for 15, L. Daly, 4 for 15 and D. Byrne, 5 for 30.
On closer analysis, Dick Byrne’s bowling figures included a hat-trick, and he was the subject of an article by Seán Pender in the Irish Times on 13 September 1988. A synopsis of the article reads as follows:
Not very many septuagenarians are still playing the game competitively. Of the few that are, how many can boast a hat-trick of wickets in an important match? That was the recent feat of 70-year-old Dick Byrne who in inspiring The Hills to victory over Balbriggan in the Leinster Minor Cup Final at Rush included 3 wickets for 3 balls… In the words of Joe Clinton, “he’s a very deceptive bowler who lobs the ball high into the breeze and depends on flight to beat the batsman.” Tom Shields, wicketkeeper marvelled at the accuracy of his bowling, “Ten times out of 12 if the batsman misses the ball it will strike the stumps.”
Some biographical details on Dick Byrne.
He first played cricket in the summer of 1936 with a team called Mulhuddard. He also had spells with Balrothery and Rush and sampled senior cricket with Malahide. He was President of The Hills CC in 1989 when the club won the double. He played cricket up to the last year of his life in 1991.
The Hills v Carlisle, Cup Final, 22 July 1989
The Hills played Carlisle in the Sportsgear Leinster Cup Final on 22 July 1989. The following are extracts from the preview by Seán Pender, a report by Seán Pender and Matt Dwyer’s recollections of that day.
Irish Times, 22 July 1989
“The Hills thirst for a premier league trophy had been swelling up since they gained senior status in 1982. On more than one occasion they have gone tantalisingly close to ultimate success only to stumble with the winning post in sight. Now under Clinton’s tough and inspiring captaincy they would appear at last to have achieved the mental and physical stamina to go all the way.”… Stroke makers of the aggressiveness of Seán Hoare, John Archer, Alan Courell, Gerry Harper, Matt Dwyer and John Andrews and of course Clinton himself and wicket-keeper Michael Dwyer will ensure there is regular work for all of the Carlisle fielders -though in going for the lofted shot they should not forget that they are playing on a ground where the boundaries are more distant than they are used to at home or at most other grounds.”
Where The Hills can expect to have a slight edge is in the field…. The Skerries boys are out on their own. They say The Hills practise their fielding by attempting to catch the low-flying Milverton swallows! It shows…. With The Hills every game is a crusade and unless they freeze at the vital junctures, victory should be theirs.
The Hills: M. Clinton (Capt), M. Byrne, P Byrne, J. Archer, G. Harper, N. Harper, Matt Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, J. Andrews, A. Courell and S. Hoare.
Irish Times, 24 July 1989
The Hills bounce back from brink of defeat
In one of the most startling turnabouts in the long history of the competition, The Hills defeated Carlisle by 23 runs in a throbbing Sportsgear Leinster Senior Cup final at Carlisle on Saturday. When on winning the toss and batting first they lost 3 wickets for a mere eight runs and had eight of their men back in the pavilion before they scoreboard registered 3 digits, The Hills seemed to be drifting to inevitable defeat. Even a minor rally by the tail-enders – Martin Byrne and Michael Dwyer put on 20 for the last wicket- still left their grip on the match dangerously frail. And it became even frailer as Mark Cohen and Rodney Molins in next to no time, put on 37 for the first Carlisle wicket. At 83 for 3 with 53 runs now required, only result looked possible. But heads refused to drop.
The Hills, all compact pugnacity and concentration, lifted themselves for one supreme final effort. In an amazing spell, 5 wickets fell for 14 runs in just seven overs. Suddenly from being in total command, Carlisle were in total disarray…. Occasional bowler Gerry Harper trapped Riches leg before as he had done earlier to yet another key batsman, Stephen Molins. Paddy Byrne clean-bowled Ronnie Esses and the Skerries side to the wide acclaim of their hordes of supporters had won their first senior trophy.
Matt Dwyer remembers:
We started in senior league cricket in 1983 and we struggled for a while because we had been junior cricketers, and our attitude to cricket was very simple, “see ball, hit ball”. There was a similar attitude to field placings, just spread out in a circle. Senior cricket required much more thought because the people we played against were more skilful and able to place the ball where we didn’t have fielders. Gradually we began to get to grips with what was required and reaching the final of the Senior Cup was an opportunity to show how far we had progressed. We had a big crowd of supporters at the game, a busload travelled from The Hills, and there was a great sense of occasion. We won the toss and batted first, and whether it was nerves or what, I don’t know, but we had a disastrous start. We lost early wickets and continued to lose wickets. Alan Courell batted well, and the last wicket partnership of 20 between Martin Byrne and my brother, Mick, gave us something to defend.
138 in a 60 overs per side game was a very small score, but in Fingal cricket, low scores were often the norm, and what we had, we had, and the job was now to defend it. Carlisle got off to a flyer, and at 37 for none, things weren’t looking good for us. Mark Cohen was a very experienced international cricket, and he was capable of batting all day, with the other players batting around him. He was out to a superb slip catch by John Andrews, modesty prevents me from mentioning the bowler, Rodney Molins was out, lbw to Martin Byrne, 2 runs later, then Paul Hector was out for a duck, bowled by Martin Byrne, caught by Matt Dwyer, and 37 for 0 had become 45 for 3. We were still very worried because Stephen Molins could get runs in a hurry, and all that was needed for Carlisle was for one batsman to get 40 runs or so, and that was it for us. Gerry Harper, occasional bowler, got Stephen Molins lbw when the score was 85, and we felt that the tide was turning. Nick Riches looked as if he was going to inspire a resurgence, but Gerry got him as well. The last 6 Carlisle wickets fell for 30 runs, and The Hills had won the Leinster Senior Cup for the first time.
The Opening of the Pavilion, 6 August 1995
From the early 1990s, the club was anxious to put a more permanent structure in place, but it was necessary to proceed with a certain amount of caution because the club was leasing the ground. The support which the club received from the Wentges family was demonstrated by the fact that Richard Wentges, an architect, designed the pavilion, and Michael Wentges made the weathervane which stands proudly above the clock on the pavilion. Seán Gilbride, a local councillor, aided with the planning application, and eventually, all the legal hurdles were surmounted. For a builder to undertake the work in its entirety, the cost would have been in the region of £110,000, and at that stage, the club had £5,000 in the bank so it was decided that the project would have to be undertaken by voluntary labour. Some grants and loans were sourced, and work began. The members and supporters who were tradesmen and other volunteers gave very willingly of their time, and as a result of a tremendous amount of goodwill and hard work, the magnificent building was ready for the official opening on 6th August 1995, which was performed by Councillor Seán Gilbride and Michael Dwyer, Club Chairman. While the members of The Hills rarely indulged in self-congratulation, the building of the pavilion was an achievement of which all members and supporters of the club could be justifiably proud.
50 Overs League Final, The Wiggins Teape
THE HILLS’ own particular brand of aggressive, no-nonsense cricket earned them the first domestic trophy of the season at Malahide, as they defeated Leinster by 28 runs to capture their first-ever 50-Overs League Trophy. The images that will linger are of the unrestrained victory celebrations of veterans like Matt Dwyer and John Andrews. They can also be happy in the knowledge that a new generation of players is emerging to carry on the traditions of a fine club.
It was two of those youngsters, Paul Mooney and Patrick Byrne, who gave them a solid base from which to develop. The consensus was that a total of 220 was the minimum requirement on a firm wicket and a quickish outfield and this pair brought them towards the half-way mark at around three an over. Both perished to impetuous shots, but they had done their job well. Declan Moore and Barry Archer increased the tempo, taking the score to 128 for two after 35 overs before a slump brought Leinster back into the game. Archer pulled widely at Richie Waddell’s first delivery. Moore underestimated the accuracy of Ray McDonnell’s throwing and then Mark Clinton wafted outside the off stump to reduce them to 140 for five.
Two old stagers, Andrews and Johnny Archer, were left with mopping-up duty and, in the final analysis, it was their partnership that took The Hills out of Leinster’s reach. Andrews played well with typical belligerence, hitting 38 from 30 balls and even if the neutrals reckoned, they were still 20 or 30 short, there was a game on. For Leinster, a lot depended on the performance of the Byrne brothers, Joe and Johnny, who have scored prolifically so far this season. Johnny was brought to the crease perhaps a little earlier than he would have liked as J P O’Dwyer missed Declan Moore’s first delivery, but the same bowler welcomed him with some decidedly generous offerings and he soon looked well-set. Just as his skipper was considering a change, Moore produced a ball that left the bat and Byrne was reluctantly on his way. Waddle came and went almost immediately and, after 10 overs, the responsibility for Leinster’s hopes had been heaped onto Joe Byrne’s shoulders.
Seam made way for spin as Matt Dwyer introduced himself, in the 16th over, and then Mark Clinton, to the attack. Dwyer had conceded a mere four runs from 12 overs against YMCA the day before and so the batsmen were left with the option of either blocking respectfully or taking him on. Mark Jones perished in attempting the latter, but Byrne remained unruffled, choosing his attacking shots judiciously. In the end, it took a run-out to dislodge him. Even if he hadn’t slipped while hesitating mid-run, it’s unlikely that he would have beaten Patrick Byrne’s flat throw from point. From there, Peter Byrne battled manfully with a succession of partners, but the required run-rate continued to climb.
P Mooney c P Byrne b McDonnell 39 BOWLING: LEINSTER
P Byrne st Henson b McDonnell 31 Cron 13 1 42 1
B Archer b Waddell 19 Topping 6 0 17 0
D Moore run out 36 Byrne P 12 2 62 0
M Clinton c Henson b Cron 1 McDonnell 13 4 42 4
J Archer run out 10 Waddell 6 0 31 1
J Andrews c Topping b McDonnell 38
Matt Dwyer c Colleran b McDonnell 7
J. Clinton not out 17 FALL OF WICKETS
N Harper 1-64; 2-85; 3-128; 4-129;
Mick Dwyer 5-138; 6-181; 7-191
Total for 8 wickets (50 overs) 203
JV Byrne run out 37 BOWLING: THE HILLS
JP O’Dwyer lbw b Moore 0 Clinton J 11 3 33 2
JE Byrne c Mi Dwyer b Moore 16 Moore 7 1 34 3
R Waddell b Moore 0 Dwyer Ma 13 5 18 2
M Jones c sub b Matt Dwyer 22 Clinton M 9 1 36 0
P Byrne c Ma Dwyer b Mooney 46 Harper 2 0 14 0
C Colleran b Mooney 12 Mooney 6.4 0 35 2
M Topping b Ma Dwyer 3
R McDonnell c Moore b J Clinton 17 FALL OF WICKETS
P Cron c Mi Dwyer b J Clinton 5 1-3; 2-19; 3-37; 4-65; 5-69;
R Henson not out 1 6-117; 7-122; 8-160; 9-169
Total (48.4 overs) 175
Man of the Match: J Andrews (The Hills)
Umpires: B Carpenter and P Thew
The Hills v Pembroke, Cup Final, 3 August 1996
In 1996, the Leinster Cricket Union awarded the hosting of the Cup Final to The Hills CC, and this was recognition of the incredible progress which the club members and supporters had made during the previous number of years. The pitch was adjudged to be one of the best in Ireland, the outfield was in beautiful condition and the magnificent new pavilion was a visually stunning example of what can be achieved by committed voluntary effort. With Matt Dwyer as Captain and Ray Daly as Coach, reaching the final at The Vineyard was one of the main objectives for the season. In the semi-final against Rush, the team had a real scare, and it was only the brilliance of Noel Harper which retrieved the situation to ensure that The Hills would be hosting and contesting the final.
3 August 1996 will go down in the annals of the club as one of the greatest days in its illustrious history. The sun was shining, a marquee was in place so that the great and the good could partake of the legendary hospitality of The Hills CC, the new pavilion looked fantastic, and everything was in readiness for the meeting of The Hills and Pembroke. The Hills’ team on this occasion was a combination of some of the heroes of the double wins in 1989 (Matt Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, Mark Clinton, Johnny Archer, Noel Harper, John Andrews) and new blood (Joseph Clinton, Patrick Byrne, Barry Archer, Paul Mooney and Declan Moore). Uniquely, The Hills was the only club in the Senior League at that stage which did not employ the services of an overseas player.
The Hills won the toss but did not have the greatest of starts. There were two wickets down with the score on 23. There was then a stand of 62 runs between Barry Archer (33) and Declan Moore (28) to bring the score to 85, but 3 more wickets fell for 9 runs, leaving The Hills on 94 for 5 wickets. Fortunately, The Hills batted to no. 11, and there were very valuable contributions from John Archer (13), Noel Harper (12), J. Andrews (16), Matt Dwyer (23), Joseph Clinton (23*) and Michael Dwyer (9*). The Hills’ final score was 200 for 9, and in the opinion of one former international, 200 was always a winning score in that era.
The Pembroke Professional, Wim Jansen, was out very quickly, caught and bowled by Declan Moore. There was then a stand of 39 runs between Richard Hastie and Trevor Dagg which was ended by Matt Dwyer with the aid of another catch by Declan Moore. Pembroke wickets fell in flurries, 2 for 49 became 7 for 77, 8 for 108, and there was a late revival to bring the score to 140, but it was all too little, too late for Pembroke. The Hills had won the Leinster Senior Cup for the second time. For his achievement with the bat, his superb bowling (12 overs, 8 maidens, 3 for 11) and captaincy, Matt Dwyer was awarded Man of the Match, and every member of the team contributed to this great day for The Hills CC.
P Mooney c Kavanagh b Jansen 4 BOWLING: PEMBROKE
P Byrne c O’Rourke b Jansen 5 Davy 12 1 38 3
B Archer b J Davy 33 Jansen 12 2 28 2
D Moore c Hastie b O’Rourke 28 McCready 3 1 13 0
M Clinton c Butler b J Davy 0 Hastie 12 2 27 2
J Archer c Butler b Hastie 13 Malin 9 2 34 0
N Harper run out 12 O’Rourke 12 1 55 1
J Andrews lbw Hastie 16
Matt Dwyer c Kavanagh b J Davy 23
J Clinton not out 21 FALL OF WICKETS:
Mick Dwyer not out 9 1-13; 2-23; 3-85; 4-85; 5-94;
Extras (w 31, lb 5) 36 6-108; 7-135; 8-145; 9-177
Total (9 wickets, 60 overs) 200
W Jansen c & b Moore 3 BOWLING: THE HILLS
R Hastie b J Clinton 21 Mooney 9 1 32 3
T Dagg c Moore b Ma Dwyer 17 Moore 4 0 14 0
B O’Rourke c Ma Dwyer b Harper 11 Clinton J 10 3 31 1
P Davy b M Clinton 1 Matt Dwyer 12 8 11 3
S Moulton c & b Matt Dwyer 4 Clinton M 12 3 23 1
J Davy c Harper b Mooney 27 Harper 6 0 17 1
S McCready c Archer b Ma Dwyer 0
D Butler c & b Mooney 10 FALL OF WICKETS:
C Kavanagh c Mi Dwyer b Mooney 0 1-10; 2-49; 3-52; 4-55, 5-66
R Malin not out 19 6-75; 7-77; 8-108; 9-108
Extras (b7, lb5, w11, nb4) 27
Total (53 overs) 140
Toss: The Hills
Man of the Match: Matt Dwyer (The Hills)
Umpires: R O’Reilly and R McClancy
The Hills v Clontarf, Cup Final, 30 July 2005
Those who arrived early at the Inch for the game between The Hills and Clontarf were greeted with plastic sheets covering the pitch and the bowlers’ run-ups. The prospects for play seemed remote, thus, it was deemed prudent to repair to the Merry Cricketer and to partake of a healthy breakfast. Just as the nicely poached egg and the white pudding were being savoured, word came through from the Inch that play would be starting in 10 minutes, so it was necessary to finish eating the breakfast in great haste and return to The Inch.
Clontarf who had been having a very successful season, had an extremely strong team with five of the first six batsmen being full internationals. The toss was won by Clontarf, and somewhat surprisingly given the ground and atmospheric conditions, they opted to bat first. The first Clontarf wicket (Bray) fell when the score was 13, the next wicket (Rigby) fell at 29, followed by another wicket (Coghlan) at 32. The international players continued to come to the crease and next in was Trent Johnston who had returned from the USA that morning. His stay at the crease was very short-lived because he was clean bowled by a magnificent delivery from Gavin Morgan. Ronan O’Reilly came and went, and Clontarf were 72 runs for 6 wickets. Greg Molins (99) and Ian Synnott led the Clontarf recovery, and put together a stand of 97 runs. There was a huge appeal for a catch against Molins, but the person who mattered, the umpire, deemed that Greg had not hit the ball. The eighth wicket partnership between Molins and Cullen brought the score to 199, but the last three wickets fell for 1 run, and Clontarf’s final score was 200 in 58.3 overs. The bowling honours were taken by Joseph Clinton (3 for 31), Luke Clinton (2 for 22), Gavin Morgan (2 for 43), Michael Lax (1 for 26) and Barry Archer (1 for 34).
Bryn Thomas (121*) and Gavin Morgan opened the batting for The Hills, and Gavin was out for a duck when the score was 6 runs, followed by a partnership of 72 runs between Thomas and Barry Archer (12) in which Bryn was very much the dominant partner. There was then a minor collapse, and three wickets fell for 17 runs. Patrick Byrne (31) batting in the unaccustomed position of number 6 assisted Bryn in steadying matters, and when Patrick was out on 187, it was all over bar the shouting. Ian O’Herlihy and Bryn Thomas got the required runs with the minimum of fuss, and The Hills had reached the target in 52.4 overs. Long-time followers adjudged Bryn Thomas’s innings the finest ever knock by a Hills’ player. He seemed to have been untroubled by any of the vicissitudes which had caused the downfall of so many other batsmen, and he made the judging of the Man of the Match award a formality.
The Hills v North County, Leinster Senior Cup Final, 2006
Over a ten year period, North County CC was the strongest club in the country, but records mean very little in Fingal cricket, and although North County were adjudged to be favourites when they met with The Hills in the Leinster Senior Cup final in Anglesea Road on 29 July 2006, nothing could be taken for granted. North County won the toss and opted to bat first. The first partnership of Conor Armstrong (96) and Seán O’Connor (27) put on 38 runs before O’ Connor was bowled by Luke Clinton. A partnership of 70 runs between Armstrong and Botha (42) followed before Botha was bowled by Bryn Thomas. There was no other major partnership for North County, and its innings ended on 248 runs. The bowling honours were taken by Barry Archer (4 for 62), Bryn Thomas (3 for 42) and Luke Clinton (2 for 24).
The Hills’ innings had a disastrous start when Bryn Thomas, the hero of the previous year’s win, was out LBW with the score on 7. Michael Lax (94) and Patrick Byrne (45) retrieved the situation, and in a stand of 157 runs brought The Hills back into the game. Bad light stopped play after 43 overs with The Hills on 179 for 2. On Saturday evening, the critics deemed The Hills to be in the more favourable position, but it is always wise to hedge one’s bets when discussing games between Fingal sides. André Bothe and Reinhardt Strydom bowled brilliantly on Monday evening, and The Hills lost 3 wickets for 8 runs. The Hills’ score was now 188 for 5, and the critics had now decided that North County was in the driving seat. O, ye of little faith! 188 for 5 became 208 for 6, and the game was now in the hands of Michael O’Herlihy (34*) and Joseph Clinton (7*). On the 58.4 over, Michael O’Herlihy hit a glorious 6 over the long on boundary, and The Hills had retained the cup by beating their local rivals.
Alan Murray Cup Final, 8 August 2007
Over the years, the Alan Murray cup competition had been played in a variety of formats, and in 2007, it consisted of groups at the early stages, followed by semi-finals and finals. That year, Clontarf had already won the Cup, and later in the season, won the League so the Alan Murray cup was the third leg of the treble. The final was staged at The Vineyard on the 8 August between The Hills and Clontarf. The Hills won the toss and opted to bat first. Jeremy Bray (64*) batted right through the innings, and he received great support from Max Sorensen (42) and Michael O’Herlihy (24*). The Hills ended on 160 for 3 wickets.
Clontarf got off to a reasonable start, and the first wicket (Coghlan) fell when the score was 35. Jeremy Bray as befitted his status as an all-rounder then had Rigby caught behind by Ian O’Herlihy. Rod Hokin, the Clontarf Professional had been a thorn in the side of The Hills on every occasion that he had played against them, but not this evening. Max Sorensen had just joined The Hills and was still adjusting to life in Leinster cricket, but the 4 overs which he bowled were probably the fastest and most frightening ever seen at The Vineyard. He bowled Rod Hokin, LBW, and to add insult to injury, possibly broke Hokin’s foot so Rod had to be helped off the field. Jeremy Bray’s evening was not finished. He took a stupendous catch on the boundary off the bowling of Luke Clinton to dismiss Andrew Poynter. However, Clontarf was going nicely and chipping away at the target. At 7 wickets for 129, things looked good for Clontarf, but that became 8 wickets for 129. Richie Reid (21*) batting at no. 10 brought Clontarf back into the game, and 3 runs were needed to win off the last ball. Clontarf could only manage 2 with Christopher Cahill being run out, and The Hills winning by virtue of fewer wickets lost. This was a truly memorable game, with some magnificent individual performances. Jeremy Bray was given the Man of the Match award for his batting, bowling and fielding, and Max Sorensen’s bowling spell on that evening is still spoken about at The Vineyard and further afield with awed reverence.
Bowling figures: Max Sorensen, 2 for 17; Jeremy Bray, 1 for 41; Matt Dwyer, 1 for 29; Luke Clinton, 2 for 23, Mark Dwyer, 2 for 27.
The Hills team: JP Bray, PJ Byrne, BJ Archer, M. Sorensen, M. O’ Herlihy, J. Clinton, L. Clinton, Malcolm Byrne, Mark Dwyer, Matt Dwyer and William Archer
League Title, 2008
The Hills 12 8 0 2 2 25 201
Merrion 12 6 0 2 4 30 166
North County 11 6 0 3 2 19 163
Clontarf 11 5 0 3 3 25 149
Leinster 12 3 0 3 6 25 109
Rush 12 3 0 3 6 21 105
Malahide 12 0 0 4 8 10 42
- North County (25) beat The Hills (0) by 106 runs, Balrothery, 8 June.
- Malahide (1) lost to The Hills (24) by 7 wickets (DL), Milverton, 22 June.
- The Hills (21) beat Clontarf (4) by 39 runs, Castle Avenue, 28 June.
- Rush (24) beat The Hills (1) by 88 runs, Milverton, 13 July.
- Merrion (2) lost to The Hills (23) by 5 wickets, Anglesea Road, 20 July.
- The Hills (8) v Merrion (8) – no play, Milverton, 10 August.
- The Hills (24) beat Leinster (1) by 7 wickets (DL), Rathmines, 23 August
- The Hills (23) beat Rush (2) by 5 wickets (D/L), Kenure, 30 August.
- Clontarf (1) lost to The Hills (24) by 7 wickets, Milverton, 7 September.
- The Hills (21) beat North County (4) by 35 runs, Milverton, 13 September.
- Malahide (8) v The Hills (8) – no result, Malahide, 14 September.
- The Hills (24) beat Leinster (1) by 85 runs, Milverton, 21 September.
The All-Ireland Campaign, 2012
For the late Richard Dunne, winning the Irish Senior Cup was an obsession, and at the start of each season, he would ask the same question, “do you think we’ll win the Irish Senior Cup this year?” In April 2012 at the Friday morning soiree in Olive Café, Max Sorensen promised Richard that this would be the year when Hills would win the coveted Bob Kerr, Irish Senior Cup.
In the first round against Bready on 12 May at the Vineyard, The Hills had a disastrous start. Darryl Calder was run out without facing a ball, Mike Baumgart was clean bowled the first ball he faced, Naseer Shoukat was out for a duck and Nicolaas Pretorius (11) was run out when the score was 24. It wasn’t looking good for Max’s prediction, but as he had done so many times during his eleven seasons with The Hills, Max lifted the siege and in partnership with Tomás Rooney-Murphy (36) brought the score to 110. Mark Dwyer (24) joined Max when Tomás was out, and there was a partnership of 38 runs. Max (67) was finally out when the score was 157, and The Hills ended on 183 all out, without batting the full allocation of overs.
In reply, Bready started competently, and an opening partnership of 23 runs suggested that this might not be The Hills’ day, but gradually, the bowlers brought The Hills back into the contest. In a good all-round performance, Max took 2 wickets for 24 runs, Naseer Shoukat took 3 wickets for 24 runs, Tomás Rooney-Murphy took 2 for 28, Luke Clinton’s return was 2 for 41 and Mark Dwyer took 1 wicket for 22 runs. Bready’s final score was 169, and the dream was still alive. In the second round, The Hills drew CIYMS, but the weather intervened, and the result was decided on a bowl-out which The Hills won 2 -1.
The third-round game against YMCA was one of the most exciting games ever played at The Vineyard. YMCA batted first, and the bowling attack of Tomás Rooney-Murphy (4 wickets), Max Sorensen (2 wickets), Luke Clinton (1 wicket) and Mark Dwyer (1 wicket) restricted YMCA to 157 runs. For all those who say cricket is a funny game, this was one of the days on which that adage was confirmed. There was no sign initially of anything to be worried about when the opening partnership of Jonathan Andrews and Darryl Calder put on 37 runs, but from that point onwards, things started to go pear-shaped, and when the 4th, 5th and 6th wickets fell for 6 runs in total, the YMCA supporters who had been very despondent at the tea-interval were starting to have dreams of progressing to the semi-final. Mark Dwyer (17) and Tomás Rooney-Murphy (41*) combined for a partnership of 57 runs, and the result was back in the balance, but all this time, the brakes were being applied to the run-rate by YMCA’s spin attack of Simi Singh, Yaqoob Ali, Albert Van der Merwe and Samir Dutt. Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (18*) joined Tomás at the crease with 31 runs required. The tension became unbearable, and one YMCA member remarked later that he couldn’t sleep for a fortnight after the game. With one ball left, and with 4 required for The Hills to win on fewer wickets lost, Tomás played a beautiful square cut which evaded the despairing hands of DA Lewis and sped to the boundary. Cue wild celebrations and relief.
In the build-up to the draw for the semi-final, the question was asked who would The Hills like to play? The stock response is, we don’t mind as long as we get a home draw. The Hills drew Waringstown away! One of the most enduring memories of that day was of Hills supporters disembarking from the bus, marching into The Lawn with flags unfurled, banners waving and everyone looking resplendent in the club’s colours. Positions were taken on a hill behind the third man boundary, and there was a palpable sense that great things were going to happen.
Waringstown won the toss and opted to bat first. Within the context of later events, this was probably not the wisest decision that Kyle McCallan had ever made. Naseer Shoukat, a superb cricketer for many years, surpassed all his previous achievements. During his opening spell, he was unplayable, and he was supported by some magnificent slip fielding from Darryl Calder. Waringstown lost the first wicket when the score was 2, the next wicket fell when the score was 4, the professional, Aldicott, was next batsman out when the score was 26, and Kyle McCallan was out for a duck to the combination of Mark Dwyer and Naseer. Waringstown ended on 84 runs. Naseer’s figures were 6 wickets for 22 runs, Luke Clinton took 2 wickets for 19 runs, Tomás Rooney-Murphy took 1 wicket for 17 runs and Max Sorensen took 1 for 22. In reply, Jonathan Andrews was bowled when the score was 14, but that was as good as it got for Waringstown. Darryl Calder (23) and Mike Baumgart (25) brought the score up to 60 for the second wicket partnership. Mike was out when the score was 84, and Max Sorensen hit the winning run.
The Irish Senior Cup final is a great occasion, but it is important to bear in mind that it is still a cricket match and to play the game, not the occasion. It is essential not to become distracted by logistical issues such as car-parking permits, tickets for lunch etc, and there was the added complication that year of a film crew looking for live footage to underpin its theme of the importance of cricket in Fingal. Merrion won the toss and opted to bat first. A combination of very accurate bowling and a conservative approach by the openers resulted in a very low scoring rate, and Ben Ackland had only scored 8 runs off 36 balls when he fell to the Mark Dwyer and Nicolaas Pretorius combination. Dom Joyce scored 51 runs off 113 balls, and John Anderson’s tally was 47 runs off 74 balls. With the scoring rate as low as this, either Joyce or Anderson needed to be there at the end of the innings, but Joyce was out when the score was 87, and Anderson was out on 133. Merrion scored 152 runs in 48 overs. The Hills’ bowling attack maintained the form which it had displayed throughout the season. Naseer Shoukat took 3 wickets for 16 runs, Luke Clinton took 3 wickets for 26 runs, Tomás Rooney-Murphy 1 took for 25, Max Sorensen’s figures were 1 for 27 and Mark Dwyer took 1 for 41.
The Hills’ reply started steadily. The first wicket partnership of Jonathan Andrews (14) and Darryl Calder (64*) ensured that Merrion would not be let back into the contest. Mike Baumgart (34) and Darryl put on a further 69 runs and Darryl Calder and Cormack McLoughlin-Gavin wrapped up proceedings to give The Hills a comfortable 8 wicket victory.
This was an incredibly emotional day for all involved with the Hills CC, and it was particularly gratifying to have the cup presented by Mrs Hope Kerr who had sponsored the competition in memory of her late husband, Bob. Mrs Kerr and Bob had always been great supporters of the Hills CC and were regular visitors to The Vineyard. This victory was the culmination of a dream which had commenced in 1983 when the Hills played in the Irish Senior Cup for the first time. In subsequent years, there were heartbreaks and near misses, and it seemed as if winning the Cup was always going to be a step too far. The roller-coaster of emotion continued into the evening and while the victory was being savoured, Max Sorensen requested a moment’s silence so that he could address the players and supporters. In a very touching speech, he thanked everyone for the support which he had received since he came to The Hills, and after dedicating the victory to his friend, Richard Dunne, he presented his medal to Richard as a memento of a great occasion. This was a very fitting finale to a voyage which had commenced in Olive Café in early April.
Alan Murray Cup, 2013
The 2013 manifestation of the Alan Murray Cup consisted of teams playing 6 games, with the top two teams in each group qualifying for the semi-finals which were held at Sydney Parade. The Hills met Pembroke in the semi-final, and unfortunately for Pembroke, they met Max Sorensen at his very best. He scored 97* in some of the most fearsome hitting ever seen at the venue. Cricket balls were hit by him over the pavilion, into apartments, into back gardens and down the street. His brilliant knock from 36 balls included 10 sixes and four fours. It didn’t matter on the day whether a bowler was a fast bowler or a spinner. Barry McCarthy conceded 68 runs in his four overs, and Paul Lawson conceded 42 runs. Mike Baumgart scored 44 runs and Mark Dwyer added another 34 as The Hills ended on 210 for 6. Pembroke’s response foundered very quickly, with their final score being 151 for 8.
In the final, The Hills played Railway Union who had beaten North County in the other semi-final. The Hills batted first, and Mark Dwyer continued his good form from the previous game by scoring 37, and Max Sorensen scored 41 (3 fours and 1 six). The Hills’ total was 153 for 7, and in the modern era, a chase of under 8 runs per over is eminently gettable. Railway started very well, and there were solid contributions from Paddy Conliffe (26), Saad Ullah (21) and Mo Tariq (16). Dhruv Kapoor struggled against some very accurate bowling and could only manage 1 run off 8 balls. However, Tim Townend (37) was going very nicely, and with 2 runs required, he was run out by Cormac Mc Loughlin-Gavin going for the second run, thus giving The Hills victory on fewer wickets lost. The wickets were taken by Mark Dwyer, Luke Clinton, and that man again, Max Sorensen. This was a repeat of the Alan Murray Final of 2007 when The Hills beat Clontarf at the Vineyard on fewer wickets lost.
The League Campaign, 2013
The Hills 14 11 0 0 3 37 257
Merrion 14 10 0 0 4 46 246
YMCA 14 9 0 0 5 35 215
Pembroke 14 7 0 0 7 43 183
North County 14 7 0 0 7 32 172
Railway Union 14 5 0 1 8 32 140
Leinster 14 3 0 1 10 22 90
Phoenix 14 3 0 0 11 28 88
14.Phoenix (1) lost to The Hills (24) by 7 wickets.
Phoenix Park, 7 September.
Phoenix 159 (38.3 overs, C Dickeson 43, T Murphy 4-45)
The Hills 160-3 (27.1 overs, K Pretorius 72, C McLoughlin 54*)
13. The Hills (23) beat YMCA (2) by 69 runs.
The Vineyard, 31 August.
The Hills 207-8 (50.0 overs, Osama Khan 35*, M Baumgart 34, D Calder 27, Simmi Singh 3-40, Y Ali 2-23, T Johnston 2-58)
YMCA 138 (34.2 overs, R Strydom 35, T Murphy 3-33, Nasser Shaukat 3-47, M Sorensen 2-12)
12. The Hills (24) beat Leinster (1) by 84 runs.
The Vineyard, 17 August.
The Hills 171-8 (41.0 overs, C McLoughlin 54, Naseer Shaukat 53, G Delany 3-34, J Carroll 2-19, A Ward 2-43)
Leinster 84 (25.2 overs, Mark Dwyer 4-23, M Sorensen 3-34, T Murphy 2-15)
DL Method: par score 168 in 41 overs.
11. North County (0) lost to The Hills (25) by 104 runs.
Balrothery, 11 August.
The Hills 313-8 (50.0 overs, M Baumgart 100, N Shaukat 57, M Sorensen 46, E Richardson 3-73, S Getkate 2-56)
North County 209 (40.5 overs, J Mooney 97*, E Richardson 26, M Dwyer 3-37, Osama Khan 3-47, M Sorensen 2-38)
10. The Hills (21) beat Pembroke (4) by 2 wickets.
Milverton, 5 August.
Pembroke 187 (46.0 overs, D Barclay 51, M Dwyer 3-40)
The Hills 190-8 (29.2 overs, M Sorensen 79, K Pretorius 69, A. Eastwood 5-58)
9. Merrion (4) lost to The Hills (21) by 2 wickets.
Anglesea Road, 20 July.
Merrion 292-9 (50.0 overs, B Thompson 63, B Ackland 62, D Joyce 44, M Sorensen 3-49)
The Hills 295-8 (49.2 overs, M Sorensen 83, C McLoughlin 58, D Calder 53, T Kane 3-5
8. Railway Union (22) beat The Hills (3) by 56 runs.
Park Avenue, 13 July.
Railway Union 231-9 (50.0 overs, P Collins 118*, T Murphy 3-37)
The Hills 175 (45.2 overs, M Baumgart 49, MA Dwyer 46, P Collins 3-30, K O’Brien 3-34
7. The Hills (20) beat Phoenix (5) by 1 wicket.
Milverton, 29 June.
Phoenix 247-7 (50.0 overs, T Anders 76*, C Dickeson 54, N Shoukat 4-35)
The Hills 248-9 (50.0 overs, M Baumgart 43)
6. YMCA (23) beat The Hills (2) by 6 wickets.
Claremont Road, 22 June.
The Hills 156 (46.4 overs, C McLoughlin 37, S Singh 3-18, R Garth 3-24)
YMCA 151-4 (33.1 overs, A van der Merwe 55, J Tector 34)
DL Method: par score 150 in 42 overs.
5. The Hills (2) lost to North County (23) by 5 wickets.
Milverton, 16 June.
The Hills 225-7 (N Pretorius 52, M Baumgart 37, S Getkate 3-52)
North County 229-5 (46.4 overs, T Sheil 77*, E Richardson 39)
4. Leinster (3) lost to The Hills (22) by 48 runs.
Rathmines, 3 June.
The Hills 237-7 (50.0 overs, C McLoughlin 111*, M Sorensen 44, B Archer 3-49)
Leinster 189 (45.2 overs, P Johnston 43, JP O’Dwyer 38, O Khan 3-34)
3. Pembroke (1) lost to The Hills (24) by 8 wickets.
Sydney Parade, 18 May.
Pembroke 212 (50.0 overs, R Russell 79, D Nicol 36)
The Hills 216-2 (37.1 overs, N Pretorius 104, M Baumgart 79*)
2. The Hills (24) beat Merrion (1) by 7 wickets.
Milverton, 4 May.
Merrion 213 (49.4 overs, B Ackland 43, J Anderson 32, D Joyce 31, L Clinton 4-48, Matt Dwyer 2-31, Tomas Murphy 2-48)
The Hills 217-3 (36.2 overs, M Sorensen 89*, C McLoughlin 53*, N Pretorius 39)
1. The Hills (22) beat Railway Union (3) by 57 runs.
Milverton, 27 April.
The Hills 228-7 (50.0 overs)
Railway Union 171
The Irish Senior Cup, 2014
The first game for The Hills in the 2014 Irish Senior Cup was against Glendermott CC at The Rectory in the Waterside district of Derry. Glendermott won the toss and decided to bat first. R. Silva scored 46 runs, T. Mc Dermott got 31, and Glendermott was bowled out for 163. The successful bowlers for The Hills were Luke Clinton, 3 wickets for 25 runs, Max Sorensen, 2 for 22, Tomás Rooney-Murphy, 2 for 44, Naseer Shoukat, 1 for 33 and Mark Dwyer, 1 for 26.
A score of 163 does not appear to be an unduly demanding target but the Rectory is an intimidating ground and Glendermott CC’s fans tend to be vociferous in their support of the home team. On a previous visit to this ground, The Hills failed to defend 311 so there was no complacency during the tea interval. Nicolaas Pretorius was out when the score was 9, Mike Baumgart was clean bowled when the score was 23, and there was singing from the crowded bar. Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (58) and Jonathan Andrews (34) brought the score up to 96, and this induced an air of calm among the away supporters. Max Sorensen scored 23 runs, and then Declan Moore (13*) and Naseer Shoukat ensured that the target score was achieved without any further alarms. One of the home supporters ran to the door of the bar at the end of the game because he was under the impression that every game ended with a bowl-out. He was very disappointed to hear that there wouldn’t be a bowl-out that day because The Hills had won the game.
In Round Two, The Hills played Bready, another team from the North West. The Hills won the toss and opted to bat first. The contributors with the bat were Cormac McLoughlin (78*), Patrick Byrne (29) and Manu Kumar (26). The Hills’ final score was 192 runs. In reply, Bready scored 133 runs, and this was due to a superb bowling performance from Luke Clinton (5 wickets for 39 runs), Max Sorensen (10 overs, 2 wickets for 16 runs) and Naseer Shoukat (9.3 overs, 2 wickets for 16 runs).
Round Three involved a trip to Park Avenue to play Railway Union who had yet to play a game in the tournament. Railway had won two bowl-outs. In the first round, the result was Instonians 0, Railway 2; in the second round, Waringstown 1, Railway 3. The home side won the toss and batted first. Manu Kumar had a superb day at the office. He bowled 10 overs for 15 runs and took 4 wickets. Mark Dwyer’s figures were 2 for 40 and Max Sorensen bowled 10 overs for 33 runs and took 2 wickets. Although he ended wicketless, Naseer Shoukat’s figures were an amazing 10 overs, 4 maidens and only 7 runs conceded in total. Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin was brilliant in the field and took 4 catches. Railway’s final score was 148 all out.
It was obvious from the bowling figures that runs were not going to be got easily on a difficult pitch, and so it proved. A painstaking 54 runs in 95 balls from Patrick Byrne and 23 runs from Manu Kumar helped The Hills to chase down the target score in 49.2 overs for the loss of 8 wickets. The best that can be said about this game, is job done.
The Hills drew North Down in the semi-final, and the trip to the iconic ground at Comber is always eagerly anticipated. In a game which fluctuated wildly, The Hills won the toss and batted first. Nicolaas Pretorius was out in the first over without scoring, Patrick Byrne scored 26 and Mike Baumgart scored 27 runs. As he had done on innumerable occasions for The Hills, Max Sorensen came to the rescue with a brilliant knock of 70 runs which included 6 sixes and 3 fours. He was ably assisted by Jonathan Andrews (22), and Manu Kumar who contributed an invaluable 27* at the end of the innings. The consensus from the home supporters was that 223 runs was well below par.
This indeed seemed to be the situation when North Down openers, Larkin (60) and Terrett (65) racked up 126 runs before Larkin was out in the 30th over, bowled by Manu Kumar and caught by Nicolaas Pretorius. The equation for North Down was 98 runs in 20 overs with 9 wickets standing. At this stage, Terrett went into his shell to a certain extent. He scored 65 runs off 112 balls and was bowled eventually by Manu Kumar, caught by Tomás Rooney-Murphy. At 151 for 2 wickets, the game was still in the control of North Down, they had plenty of batting to come, but the run-rate was climbing, and this tends to induce panic among some batsmen. The very dangerous Taimur Khan was clean bowled by Naseer Shoukat for 3 runs, Ryan Haire scored 22 runs and his brother, Andrew, scored 15 runs.
There were 31 runs needed off 4 overs with four wickets in hand. In the 48th over, Max Sorensen was hit for 12, and North Down came to the 49th over needing 11 to win. Luke Clinton bowled this over, conceded only 3 runs, and took the wicket of Andrew Haire. North Down needed 8 runs off 6 balls, but 7 would be enough to win on fewer wickets lost. In a situation such as this, Naseer Shoukat’s experience was invaluable. In the final over, only 4 runs were conceded, and The Hills had won a great game by 3 runs.
And so, to the final on 23 August at Clontarf against the home side. Over the years, league encounters had tended to favour Clontarf, but on a previous occasion when Hills and Clontarf met in a Cup Final, The Hills had won. In terms of relative strengths of the two sides, Clontarf seemed to be the stronger batting side, while The Hills’ strength in characteristic Fingal style was in the bowling and fielding departments.
Clontarf won the toss and opted to field first. The opening partnership of Patrick Byrne (14) and Nicolaas Pretorius (34) yielded 30 runs, and the second wicket partnership of Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (75) and Nicolaas brought the score to 59 runs. There was then a crucial third wicket stand of 106 runs between Cormac and Mike Baumgart (62), and everything seemed to be set fair for an onslaught by Max Sorensen and co. This did not occur, and only 74 runs were scored for the loss of the last seven wickets. A score of 239 gives a team something to defend, but the impetus was now with the team batting second.
Max Sorensen took a wicket with the third ball of the first over, the second Clontarf wicket fell when the score was 18, but Bill Coghlan and Andrew Poynter brought Clontarf back into the contest, with a third wicket partnership of 77 runs. Both were out when the score was 95. Coghlan (40) was bowled by Mark Dwyer, caught by William Archer, who was on as substitute fielder, and immediately followed by Poynter (41), caught by Nicolaas Pretorius off the bowling of Naseer Shaukat. Momentum was now with The Hills, but a partnership of 95 runs between Eoghan Delany (41) and Adrian D’Arcy (51) brought Clontarf back into the game with a vengeance. The fifth wicket, (D’Arcy) fell when the score was 190, Delany was out stumped by Pretorius, bowled by Naseer Shaukat, and it was game on. Clontarf needed 45 runs off 40 balls, but the pressure was beginning to tell. Max Sorensen took 2 more wickets, Naseer took one more wicket and there was a run-out, leaving Clontarf 9 runs short.
This was a very competitive game of cricket between two very evenly matched sides. In the final analysis, the batting contributions of Pretorius, McLoughlin-Gavin and Baumgart allied to the superb bowling and fielding performance brought The Hills home. Max Sorensen took 3 wickets for 50 runs, Naseer Shoukat took 3 wickets for 40, Manu Kumar’s figures were 1 for 35, Mark Dwyer took 1 wicket for 37, and Tomás Rooney-Murphy took 1 wicket for 23 runs. Luke Clinton did not take a wicket on this occasion but bowled 8 overs for 36 runs. Joy was unconfined as The Hills journeyed back to The Vineyard with the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup for the second time in three years.
The Division 2 Campaign, 2015
By one of those strange anomalies, The Hills had a fixture the day after winning the Irish Senior Cup in 2014, and in losing that game, suffered the ignominy of relegation to Division 2. It must be said that no team is relegated because of one result, but there was a feeling that on any other day, relegation might have been avoided. It was unfortunate to be relegated, but the players were adamant that the sojourn in Division 2 would be brief, and thus it proved. 10 games out of 13 were won, there was one no result, and two losses and the league was won by a 47- point margin.
The Hills 13 10 0 1 2 50 278
Phoenix 13 8 0 0 5 51 231
Leinster 12 7 0 0 5 30 190
Balbriggan 13 6 0 0 7 32 172
Terenure 13 6 0 0 7 30 170
Rush 12 5 0 1 6 40 168
YMCA 2 13 5 0 0 8 25 145
Dublin University 7 0 0 0 7 12 12
- The Hills (50) beat Dublin University (0) by 154 runs.
Milverton, 25 April.
The Hills 262-9 (50.0 overs, M Sorensen 98, C McLoughlin-Gavin 53, N Shoukat 31, D Hogan 2-32, P Flanagan 2-36, W O’Neill 2-58)
Dublin University 108-7 (37.0 overs, W von Behr 40, T Murphy 2-8, Mark Dwyer 2-17)
- YMCA 2 (1) lost to The Hills (24) by 8 wickets.
Claremont Road, 16 May.
YMCA 2 156 (41.5 overs, A Dunlop 25, S Chaudhary 25, M Sorensen 3-19, M Baumgart 2-26, Mark Dwyer 2-27)
The Hills 157-2 (27.0 overs, M Baumgart 69*, N Pretorius 39*, D Calder 25)
- Rush (8) v The Hills (8) – no result.
Kenure, 19 May.
- The Hills (24) beat Leinster (1) by 8 wickets.
Milverton, 26 May.
Leinster 88-7 (20.0 overs, C Mallon 38, D Carolus 3-10, M Sorensen 2-17)
The Hills 92-2 (11.4 overs, N Pretorius 32*)
- The Hills (25) beat Balbriggan (0) by 182 runs.
Milverton, 20 June.
The Hills 280-9 (50.0 overs, N Pretorius 106, M Kumar 70, M Donegan 27, R Kear 5-23, E Ahmed 2-32, M Farrukh 2-52)
Balbriggan 98 (37.2 overs, A Harper 27, M Farrukh 25, M Kumar 5-23, M Dwyer 2-2, N Shaukat 2-16)
- Phoenix (4) lost to The Hills (21) by 3 wickets.
Phoenix Park, 4 July.
Phoenix 242 (48.4 overs, S Anderson 130, R Lawrence 26, M Kumar 3-38, T Murphy 2-18)
The Hills 244-7 (46.3 overs, N Pretorius 66, N Shoukat 53*, M Sorensen 30, S Anderson 2-40)
- Terenure (3) lost to The Hills (22) by 3 wickets.
Terenure, 11 July.
Terenure 190 (45.1 overs, B Speake 81, S Ramnathphur 38, T Rooney-Murphy 5-54, L Clinton 2-25, M Sorensen 2-36)
The Hills 195-7 (49.0 overs, T Rooney-Murphy 34*, M Donegan 32, N Shoukat 29, S Singh 3-37, S Ramnathphur 2-31)
- The Hills beat Terenure by 6 wickets.
Terenure 106 (33.2 overs, SA Shah 28, M Kumar 3-6, D Carolus 2-20, T Rooney-Murphy 2-27)
The Hills 107-4 (20.4 overs, N Pretorius 54)
- Leinster (22) beat The Hills (3) by 10 runs.
Rathmines, 13 August.
Leinster 106 (18.5 overs, L Clinton 3-13, N Shaukat 3-33, D Carolus 2-16)
The Hills 96 (19.2 overs, J Carroll 4-15, Bilal Azhar 3-16)
- The Hills (23) beat Rush (2) by 5 wickets.
Milverton, 15 August.
Rush 253 (49.3 overs, L Jansen 52, A Butterly 48, N Mullen 42, L Clinton 3-37, M Kumar 3-58, D Carolus 2-47)
The Hills 256-5 (44.3 overs, N Pretorius 63, C McLoughlin-Gavin 38, M Baumgart 33, D Brogan 2-48)
- Balbriggan (21) beat The Hills (4) by 2 wickets.
Jack Harper Memorial Ground, 22 August.
The Hills 82 (36.4 overs, M Farrukh 4-11, K Bilal 3-23, J Mooney 2-15)
Balbriggan 83-8 (18.5 overs, D Carolus 4-9, N Shaukat 3-26)
- The Hills (25) beat YMCA 2 (0) by 9 wickets.
Milverton, 29 August.
YMCA 2 64 (27.2 overs, M Sorensen 6-17, N Shaukat 3-12)
The Hills 44-1 (4.1 overs)
DLS Method: par score 43 in 21 overs
- The Hills (25) beat Phoenix (0) by 9 wickets.
Milverton, 6 September.
Phoenix 123 (42.3 overs, R Anders 25, M Dwyer 3-12, N Shaukat 2-17, D Carolus 2-20)
The Hills 124-1 (26.5 overs, M Baumgart 50*, M Dwyer 40*)
A Women’s team was formed in 1988, and over time, the number of women playing cricket at The Hills increased to such an extent that in some years, the club was able to field three teams in the Leinster Leagues. Allied to these developments, there was also a concerted drive to ensure that girls had an opportunity to compete at the different age levels in the Leinster League competitions, and in the very recent past, the girls’ teams have been very successful, especially in the cup competitions.
A keen interest in youth cricket has been one of the hallmarks of The Hills CC during the past fifty years. In the early 1970s, Gerry Byrne presented a cup for which youth teams in Fingal competed, and in 2004, the family of the late Billy Tolan sponsored a cup for one of the Leinster Cricket Union’s youth competitions. Linked with these initiatives was a strong belief in the value of coaching, and Joe Caprani, the former Irish International, coached at the club from 1978 until 1998 inclusive. The Hills CC was also at the forefront with its organisation of Summer camps and the appointment of Development Officers to oversee the coaching structures within the club. Under Joe’s tutelage and with the assistance of senior cricketers and the various Development Officers, many players from the club have represented Ireland and Leinster at youth level over the years, with William Dwyer being the first youth international in 1985.
In view of the disparity in numbers between The Hills and the bigger clubs in Dublin City, it has often been difficult for the club to win trophies at youth level, but over the years, teams have been fielded at all age levels, and they have invariably competed very well. On occasions during the past fifty years due to a happy confluence of circumstances, it is possible to identify some outstanding teams at youth level.
The Hills v CSNI, All-Ireland Under 11 Final, 11 September 2016
The All-Ireland youth competitions were the brainchild of Rev. Wesley Ferris, and over the years, they developed into very prestigious tournaments with the winning teams from the LCU, NWCU and NCU competitions competing at U11, U13 and U15 age levels. The Hills played in the U15 All-Ireland Final in 1997 but lost to an all-conquering Donemana team which featured many players who were to become senior internationals. In 2016, The Hills Under 11 team which was coached by Joseph Clinton, Mark Clinton and Paul Smyth won the Leinster Cup and progressed to meet CSNI from Belfast in the final which was staged at The Vineyard on 11 September. The word on the street was that this Hills’ side was the strongest team to represent the club at youth level for many years. For Adam Clinton, son of Joseph and Barbara, and grandson of Joe and Mary, Seán and Maureen, this was his day of days. In a brilliant knock, he scored 94 runs off 91 balls, and contributed hugely to a Hills’ total of 139 for 5 wickets. The other scorers for The Hills were Ben Parker (17), Matthew Weldon (8) and James Ryan (3). For CSNI, big contributions from the top order were essential if they were to chase down this score. Mohammed Aahil (34), Scott Grey (10), Harry Dyer (10) and Yuv Pahuja (16) all got starts, but a combination of superb bowling, (Ben Parker, 3 for 11), Sam Smyth (2 for 11), Ivan Ryan (1 for 13), brilliant fielding (4 run-outs) and score-board pressure ensured that the Hills’ total was never in serious danger, and The Hills won by 32 runs.
For the players, parents, grandparents, and supporters of The Hills CC, this was an incredibly emotional day. Joe Clinton, Senior, who was very ill at this time, was seated in his car at the boundary, watching his grandson make a major contribution to the Hills’ first All-Ireland trophy at youth level. It was especially gratifying for the Clinton family because from the very early days of the club, Joe had been a great supporter of youth cricket and very positive about the contribution which young cricketers made to The Hills CC.
Cricket Europe Summary
All Ireland U11 Final, At Milverton, 11 September 2016
The Hills 139-5 (30 overs Adam Clinton 94, Ben Parker 17, Adam Leckey 2-37, Mohamed Aahil 2-38, Harry Dyer 1-21)
CSNI 107 (26.1 overs Mohamed Aahil 34, Yuv Pahuja 16, Harry Dyer 12, Scott Grey 10, Ben Parker 3-12, Sam Smyth 2-10, Ivan Ryan 1-13)
Adam Clinton, James Ryan, Ben Parker, Ivan Ryan, Matthew Weldon, Paddy Kelly, Jacob Clinton, Sam Smyth, Killian Hoare, Johnny Dunne, Paraic Gavin
The Ladies Committee
While attending a funeral in 2018, the comment was made that while people might talk about great men in The Hills CC, the club had been blessed with the number of great women who selflessly had done so much to enhance the club’s reputation for hospitality since it was founded in 1969. In terms of catering for players and visitors, the ladies have taken great pride in ensuring that everyone who visits The Vineyard is made feel at home, and one of the last tasks before the washing-up commenced was for the ladies to ask a member of the Executive to ascertain if there was anyone who hadn’t been invited in for a cup of tea and a sandwich. When there were lunch matches, the roast beef and home-grown potatoes were the talk of Leinster cricket, and now, it is the scones and cream which are the envy of every visiting supporter and player.
Hosting international and representative games is a huge task and it makes great demands on personnel due to the wide disparity in dietary habits, but the varied tastes are always met with great efficiency and courtesy. When it is considered that the people involved are volunteers, the indebtedness of all members and visitors to the many members of the Ladies’ Committees during the past fifty years is acknowledged and it is recognised that the club could not have functioned so well without their whole-hearted endeavours.
Hosting of Games
Being asked to host games is something of a double-edged sword. At one level, it is an acknowledgement that the facilities at a club are of sufficiently high standard to be granted the hosting of a game but hosting always involves an incredible amount of work, and this is especially true when the workers are volunteers. In the late 1970s, The Hills CC was refused admission to senior cricket because its square was not good enough and the ancillary facilities were deemed to be inadequate. Being awarded the Leinster Senior Cup Final in 1996 was recognition of the progress which the club had made in developing its facilities. The Hills also hosted the Senior Cup Final in 2000, and at that stage, it was clear that the pitches and facilities at Vineyard were among the best in the country. This was an acknowledgement of the time, effort and finance which the members had invested in the club, and The Vineyard’s status as an outstanding venue was formally recognised with the award in 2014 of the Cricket Leinster trophy for the best ground in the province. When the Inter-regional tournament was re-branded in 2013, The Hills was asked to host the first game, and this fixture became an annual event on the May Bank Holiday weekend for several seasons. The Hills hosted games in the ICC competition in 2005, and it also hosted the Ireland men’s team versus Norway in 2008. Over the years, the Irish women’s team has played several games at The Vineyard with the most recent being the two games in 2018 against New Zealand. In 2019 Ireland A played Bangladesh in 2019. As part of The Hills’ 50th Anniversary celebrations, the club hosted the Leinster Senior Cup Final and the All-Ireland Final with its customary efficiency and courtesy.
Leinster Senior Cup, 2017
In 2017 Cricket Leinster in its wisdom decided to dispense with the 60 overs per side cup competition and introduced a new cup competition that would be 40 overs per innings. The traditionalists were aghast, but many players thought that the 60 overs per innings competition was an anachronism, and thus, it was that The Hills and Merrion met at The Vineyard in the final of the revised version.
The Hills won the toss and decided to field, and there were 2 early successes for the wily Naseer Shoukat whose final figures were 8 overs, 2 maidens, 2 for 10. Two more wickets fell before the score was 40, and it appeared that Merrion would be dismissed for a very low score. John Anderson kept the innings together, and with a record of not having been bowled since he scored 100 in the first round of the Leinster Senior Cup 2017, he was Merrion’s main hope of putting a reasonable total on the scoreboard. With Patrick Tice (40), he was involved in an 82 partnership, and he had scored 80 before he was bowled by Ryan Cartwright when the score was 177. Tomás Rooney-Murphy got two wickets, and Ryan Cartwright blew away the tail. Merrion’s final score was 186 in 39.1 overs. Ryan Cartwright took the main bowling honours (4 for 30), and the other 2 wickets were taken by Luke Clinton.
The Hills got off to a reasonable start and the opening pair of Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin and Mike Baumgart scored 32 runs. There was then a minor crisis when Seán Terry was bowled for a duck. The third wicket partnership between Cormac and Hamid Shad brought the score to 82, and The Hills needed 105 runs from 14 overs on the fall of the third wicket. Max Sorensen as he had done so often for The Hills in the past answered the call, and he hit 64* in 37 balls in an innings which included 5 sixes and 4 fours. Sorensen in that type of form is impossible to bowl to, and one over from John Anderson was hit for 22 runs. Max was ably assisted by Albert Van der Merwe (17) and Ryan Cartwright (16*). The Hills won by five wickets, with 14 balls to spare, and this was the first Leinster Senior Cup win for the club since the defeat of North County in the final in 2006.
The Hills v Phoenix, 8 June 2019 (League Cup Final)
Somewhat surprisingly, given that The Hills had beaten Phoenix already this season, the Cricket Leinster preview made Phoenix favourites to win the game, and nothing motivates a team more than to be dubbed second favourites in a two-horse race. There was a delightful exchange later in the pavilion when the previewer correctly identified one of the photographs in the display to be complimented by a proud Fingallian on getting something right for the first time in a fortnight!
The Hills won the toss and opted to field first. Beecroft and McDonough were batting for Phoenix and at the end of the 5th over, the Phoenix score was 31 without loss. Some of the more pessimistic Hills’ supporters were muttering about The Hills chasing at least 300. In the 6th over, in the words of WB Yeats, “all changed, changed utterly”. The ageless Naseer Shoukat clean bowled Louis McDonagh, and in the next ball, Irish international, Simi Singh, was out LBW, again bowled by Nas. The former, Hills player and skipper, Nicolaas Pretorius, negotiated the next two balls from Nas with a certain amount of difficulty, and decided to leave the final ball of the over. From behind, there was the very ominous sound of timber being dismantled, Nas had taken 3 wickets in the over, and 31 for 0 became 31 for 3.
Beecroft was batting very nicely, but he was out to a fine catch by Greg Lamb to became Nas’s fourth victim. Adam Chester was out LBW without troubling the scorer, and the Phoenix score was 35 for 5, with all five wickets to the brilliant Naseer Shoukat. Stephen Black was Nas’s next victim, and Poonish Mehta was next one out, LBW to Joey Carroll. Amish Sidhu was out when the score was 54, caught by Joey Carroll, bowled by Naseer Shoukat. The score was 65 when Gordon Millar was out, LBW, bowled by Daya Singh. A period of consolidation followed, which was very necessary if Phoenix was to avoid being bowled out for the lowest ever total in the history of the Leinster Senior Cup. Ben White batted very sensibly for 24 runs, but the innings ended when Devender Ranolia induced an edge from Matt Lunson for Mark Donegan to take a very good catch. Naseer Shoukat’s figures were 10 overs, 4 maidens, 7 wickets for 20 runs – the best bowling in the 84-year history of the Leinster Senior Cup. This was an incredible performance from an amazing bowler, and given the activities of the winter, it seems appropriate to misquote Alfred Lord Tennyson, “men may come, and men may go,” but Nas goes on forever.
As The Hills prepared to bat, the cry was “remember Old Belvedere!” Phoenix had a very mild glimmer of hope when Cormac Mc Loughlin-Gavin was caught behind off the bowling of Poonish Mehta in the first over. Joey Carroll and Bhavesh batted with great intent, the good balls being blocked, the bad ones being dispatched without ceremony. On the last ball of the 11th over, Bhavesh lost patience and in attempting to hit a ball from Simi Singh out of the ground was caught on the boundary by Poonish Mehta. Joey Carroll had accumulated 35 runs when he was run out, another run-out in a succession of them for the top order batsmen during the past few weeks. Mark Donegan (20*) and Daya Singh (7*) wrapped up proceedings in the 20th over.
Pride of place for the victory must go to Naseer Shoukat, but this was a wonderful team performance – the bowling was excellent, the fielding was very good, the batting was very sensible, and Tomás Rooney-Murphy is a very astute captain. Four Leinster Senior Cup finals have now been hosted by The Hills CC, and the home club has played in three of them, winning in 1996, 2017 and in 2019. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, this victory, the presentation of the ground, the general facilities, and the hosting are a celebration of the values and vision which drove the men and women to establish the club in 1969 and have been maintained by successive generations of Hills’ members and supporters.
Pa, Dick, Jemmy, Margaret and Gerry Byrne
Mrs Rosemary Wentges
Seán Gilbride, 1 January 2011
Joe Keogh, 1 September 2011
David Murtagh, 27 October 2012
Richard Dunne, 10 March 2017
Joe Clinton, 11 April 2017
Frances Dwyer, 1 September 2018
Tony Dwyer, 21 August 2019
The Hills CC (1981-2018) in Senior Cricket
As part of its 100th anniversary celebrations, Cricket Leinster has compiled statistical data on the clubs that have played Senior/First/Second Division cricket during the 100 years. The following tables with specific reference to The Hills CC provide a flavour of the content.
|250 or more appearances for The Hills CC in Senior Cricket|
Top 10 Aggregate Runs
|Patrick Byrne, (Jun)||1995-2014||217||22.46||4,200|
Top 5 Bowlers (300 or more wickets)
Players with 100 or more catches
Wicket Keepers with 100 or more dismissals
Five Highest Scores
|2007||J. Bray||LD1||North County||The Inch||156*|
Most Runs in a Season
- The Hills CC has won 31 League Titles
- The Hills CC has won 16 Cup Competitions
- The Hills CC has won 10 T20 Competitions
- The Hills CC has won the Irish Senior Cup on 2 occasions (2012 and 2014)
- The Hills CC won the Irish Junior Cup on 1 occasion (1975)
Club Officers, 1970-2020
|Year||President||Chairperson||Hon. Secretary||Hon. Treasurer||Team Secretary|
|1970||Capt. Wentges||David Murtagh||Joe Clinton||Seamus Clinton||Joe Clinton|
|1971||Capt. Wentges||Simon Hoare||Joe Clinton||Seamus Clinton||Joe Clinton|
|1972||Capt. Wentges||Gerry Byrne||Martin Byrne||Seamus Clinton||Joe Clinton|
|1973||Capt. Wentges||Gerry Byrne||Martin Byrne||Seamus Clinton||Liam Archer|
|1974||Capt. Wentges||Gerry Byrne||Martin Byrne||Seamus Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|1975||Capt. Wentges||Gerry Byrne||Richard Byrne||Seamus Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|1976||Capt. Wentges||Gerry Byrne||Richard Byrne||Seamus Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|1977||Capt. Wentges||Neil Carpenter||Joe Clinton||Seamus Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|1978||Capt. Wentges||Neil Carpenter||Richard Byrne||Seamus Clinton||Martin Russell|
|1979||Capt. Wentges||David Murtagh||Joe Clinton||Seamus Clinton||Martin Russell|
|1980||Capt. Wentges||David Murtagh||Brian Everard||Seamus Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|1981||Capt. Wentges||David Murtagh||Brian Everard||Liam Archer||Seamus Clinton|
|1982||Joe Clinton||Joe Clinton||Brian Everard||Liam Archer||Seamus Clinton|
|1983||Joe Clinton||Joe Clinton||Mike Chance||Brian Everard||Seamus Clinton|
|1984||Gerry Byrne||Mike Chance||Martin Duggan||Liam Archer||Seamus Clinton|
|1985||Gerry Byrne||Mike Chance||Martin Duggan||Dick Bourke||Seamus Clinton|
|1986||Gerry Byrne||Seamus Clinton||Mike Chance||Dick Bourke||Seamus Clinton|
|1987||Gerry Byrne||Matt Dwyer||Mike Chance||Tom Shiels||Seamus Clinton|
|1988||Gerry Byrne||Joe Clinton||Mike Chance||Paddy Byrne||Seamus Clinton|
|1989||Dick Byrne||Martin Byrne||Joe Clinton||Michael Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|1990||Dick Byrne||Shay Costello||Bill Stuart||Michael Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|1991||Dick Byrne||Shay Costello||Bill Stuart||Tony Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|1992||Mike Chance||Matt Dwyer||Bill Stuart||Tony Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|1993||Mike Chance||Seamus Clinton||Bill Stuart||Tony Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|1994||Mike Chance||John Andrews||Bill Stuart||Malachy Gavin||Mark Clinton|
|1995||John Neville||Michael Dwyer||Bill Stuart||Mark Clinton||Patrick Hoare|
|1996||Sean Gilbride||Paddy Byrne||Joe Clinton||Sean Greensit||Seamus Clinton|
|1997||Sean Gilbride||Joe Keogh||Joe Clinton||Sean Greensit||Seamus Clinton|
|1998||Sean Gilbride||Joe Keogh||Mike Chance||Sean Greensit||Seamus Clinton|
|1999||Sean Gilbride||Ann Archer||Joe Keogh||Matt Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|2000||Sean Gilbride||Martin Byrne||Caroline Archer||Matt Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|2001||Jim Bennett||Martin Byrne||Mark Clinton||Matt Dwyer||Sean Hoare|
|2002||Jim Bennett||Martin Byrne||Mark Clinton||Matt Dwyer||Sean Hoare|
|2003||Jim Bennett||Martin Byrne||Mark Clinton||Matt Dwyer||Sean Hoare|
|2004||Jim Bennett||Jeremy Costello||Barbara Clinton||Mark Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|2005||Jim Bennett||Jeremy Costello||Barbara Clinton||Mark Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|2006||Jim Bennett||Jeremy Costello||Barbara Clinton||Mark Clinton||Seamus Clinton|
|2007||Jim Bennett||Michael Dwyer||Bill Stuart||George Kitteringham||Seamus Clinton|
|2008||Jim Bennett||Michael Dwyer||Bill Stuart||George Kitteringham||Seamus Clinton|
|2009||Jim Bennett||Martin Russell||Bill Stuart||George Kitteringham||Seamus Clinton|
|2010||Jim Bennett||Martin Byrne||George Kitteringham||Matt Dwyer/ Malcolm Byrne||Seamus Clinton|
|2011||Jim Bennett||Martin Byrne||Michael Gavin||Malcolm Byrne||Seamus Clinton|
|2012||Jim Bennett||Michael Dwyer||Eksteen Maritz||Matt Dwyer||Seamus Clinton|
|2013||Jim Bennett||Michael Dwyer||George Kitteringham||Matt Dwyer||Martin Russell|
|2014||Jim Bennett||Michael Dwyer||George Kitteringham||Matt Dwyer||Martin Russell|
|2015||Jim Bennett||Thomas Murphy||Bill Stuart||Matt Dwyer||Martin Russell|
|2016||Seamus Clinton||Paul Smyth||Bill Stuart||Mark Clinton||Martin Russell|
|2017||Seamus Clinton||Paul Smyth||Bill Stuart||Mary Boylan/Ann Murphy||Matt Richards|
|2018||Martin Russell||Paul Smyth||Roger Kear||Ann Murphy||Matt Richards|
|2019||Martin Russell||Paul Smyth||Roger Kear||Ann Murphy||Matt Richards|
|2020||Michael Dwyer||Matt Dwyer||Roger Kear||George Kitteringham||Matt Richards|
Captains of The Hills CC, 1970-2020
|Year||Men’s Captain||Women’s Captain|
|1988||Michael Dwyer||Antoinette Stapleton|
|1989||Mark Clinton||Marguerite Burke|
|1990||Mark Clinton||Marguerite Burke|
|1991||John Andrews||Maura Doris|
|1992||Martin Byrne||Maura Doris|
|1993||Mark Clinton||Maura Doris|
|1994||Seán Hoare||Maura Doris|
|1995||Matt Dwyer||Maura Doris|
|1996||Matt Dwyer||Maura Doris|
|1997||Declan Moore||Maura Doris|
|1998||Declan Moore||Maura Doris|
|1999||Joseph Clinton||Marguerite Burke|
|2000||Matt Dwyer||Barbara Thornton|
|2001||Dwane Dundon||Barbara Thornton|
|2002||Mark Clinton||Barbara Thornton|
|2003||Barry Archer||Barbara Thornton|
|2004||Joseph Clinton||Tracey Fleming|
|2005||Joseph Clinton||Barbara Thornton|
|2006||Bryn Thomas||Amanda Byrne|
|2007||Joseph Clinton||Nicola Fleming|
|2008||Luke Clinton||Michelle Everard|
|2009||Luke Clinton||Barbara Thornton|
|2010||Mike Baumgart||Miranda Andrews|
|2011||Mike Baumgart||Laura Boylan|
|2012||Naseer Shoukat||Tracey Clinton|
|2013||Naseer Shoukat||Miranda Andrews|
|2014||Naseer Shoukat||Miranda Andrews|
|2015||Max Sorensen||Tracey Clinton|
|2016||Tomás Rooney-Murphy||Tracey Clinton|
|2017||Max Sorensen||Tracey Clinton|
|2018||Max Sorensen/Sean Terry/Nicolaas Pretorius||Aisling Byrne|
|2019||Tomás Rooney-Murphy||Miranda Andrews|
|2020||Tomás Rooney-Murphy||Miranda Andrews|
International Cricketers, The Hills CC
1996 Declan Moore 1993 Marguerite Burke
1998 Matt Dwyer. 2011 Laura Boylan
1998 Paul Mooney
1999 Barry Archer
2009 Albert Van der Merwe
2011 Max Sorensen
Youth Representative Cricketers
|2009||U15||Cormac Mc Loughlin-Gavin|
|2011||U17||Cormac Mc Loughlin-Gavin|
|2013||U19||Cormac Mc Loughlin-Gavin|