It was a disappointing weekend for Limerick Cricket Club as they suffered two losses to the hands of Waterford District and Limerick Blasters to put a dampening mood to an anticlimactic end of season. Looking to restore some pride, the 3rds and the 4ths lined out with certain individuals looking to impress and stake a claim in higher teams. This was certainly the case for Ayan Ullah (13), whose star-studded performance with the ball on Saturday stole the headlines from an otherwise substandard set of performances.
The long trip to Waterford can certainly take its toll but Limerick arrived in Carriganore on Saturday morning in a side steeped in youth, with three U13s and two U17s being named in the starting XI. Limerick won the toss and elected to bowl but it was the home side who raced into a comfortable opening partnership which saw them hit the 50-run mark before the tenth over with the opening pair still at the crease.
Limerick skipper Waqas Mehmood rang the changes, bringing on youngsters Ayan Ullah and Naveed Zazai first change which paid huge dividends. Ullah pitched the ball up and his full length deliveries caused serious concern, his four wickets in just four overs turned the game on its head which was complemented by a run out in the 27th over with Waterford on 138-8. Eshan Tanveer also chipped with two wickets, the youngster getting his chance with the ball also, before Ullah came back on to wrap up the innings and add the all-important fifth wicket to his figures. The ‘fifer’ was complete and Ullah was able to join Carlu Nienaber as the youngest player on the club’s honours board.Ayan Ullah pictured with the match ball next to his figures after Saturday's game
In response, Limerick lost too many wickets in the top order to deal with the early pressure, three ducks in the top 5 meant the tail were trying to pick up the pieces at 45-6 with 95 runs still to chase. Ullah was joined by Naveed Zazai late on and their partnership of 42 runs gave a glimmer of hope to the away side. Nonetheless, Waterford were too strong in the end but a brave performance from a young side will undoubtedly go a long way for their futures.
RESULT| MCU Division Three .
We lost to Waterford District by 14 runs today.
Waterford District 2: 139 all out off 28.4 overs.
Ayan Ullah 5-22
Eshan Tanveer 2-13
Limerick 4: 125 all out off 37 overs.
Khushal Bahramkhail 20
Waqas Mehmood 17
* * *
The 3rd XI were looking for a return to form on Sunday afternoon as they faced a Limerick Blasters side who were still in with an outside shot of the title. Having elected to bat, there were some early bumps in the road for the Blasters who struggled against the stand-in captain James Spencer. His early swing picked him up two wickets as Limerick stemmed some early momentum to leave Blasters 80-3 at drinks. Spencer would finish on figures of 2-18 from his eight overs but couldn’t be followed in as subsequent bowlers leaked runs and Blasters pushed on to an eventual score of 214-8 from their 40 overs.
Limerick lost early wickets in the form of Kumar Divyesh and Waqas Mehmood as Blasters started to chip away at the batting order. Nishant Kumar came in for a bright and breezy 24 (2x4s, 0x6s), backed up by a few other starts from the rest of the middle order with no batsman really pushing on for a real score. There was no real consolation for the home side who couldn’t materialise any partnerships as dismissals continued to flow, Limerick all out for 125 in the 33rd over.
RESULT| MCU Division Two.
We lost to Limerick Blasters by 89 runs today.
Limerick Blasters 2: 214-8 off 40 overs.
James Spencer 2-18
Abdul Baqi Khan 2-29
Limerick 3: 125 all out off 33.1 overs.
Sumukh Venkatesh 24
Nishant Kumar 24
* * *
An opportunity to make amends beckons for the 1st XI next weekend. Having lost to Midleton both home and away this year, the Shannonsiders will go in as the underdogs to their Senior Cup Quarter Final on Sunday afternoon. Nonetheless, Limerick have entered the competition once again as outsiders and are no strangers to causing an upset. Elsewhere, the 2nds will return to action against Nenagh on Saturday with the 3rds playing out their penultimate league game on Sunday as they welcome Cork County to the Manor Fields.