With storm Betty taking its toll on Friday night, Saturday saw no play between Limerick’s 2nd XI and table-toppers Cork County. There was still a risk of Sunday’s matches being called off due to the amount of rainfall over the start of the weekend, but fortunately the cricket grounds in Munster held firm. This all meant centre stage was set for the Manor Fields on Sunday afternoon where Limerick 1st returned to MCU Premier League action after a two week break. Limerick’s 3rd XI were the only other adult team in action as they faced a tricky away tie to United Cricket Clonmel on Sunday also.
A win for Limerick in the Premier League would mean leapfrogging their counterparts into third place and they started about their business the right way. Early wickets from Hegde and Alam had the visitors in all sorts of trouble on 2-2. Alam would take another at the turn of the ninth over before a sharp bit of work behind the sticks from Limerick keeper Sumukh Venkatesh saw the end of County Galway captain Swaroop Burra. County Galway consolidated a 100-run partnership to ease the pressure, bringing the score to 150-6 with a little over ten overs to go.
The Shannonsiders fought back in the final stages of the Galway innings, another runout, this time from Mirhamza Ahmedzai at short fine leg, was quickly followed by the final wicket, a sharp take from Venkatesh off the bowling of skipper Arslan Anwar saw the end of the County Galway batting lineup on a score of 165-9.
Limerick started well with the bat with the rearguard of Sarfraz Ramay and Nishant Kumar taking a good fight to the new ball. A healthy run-rate meant even after the dismissal of Ramay (27), Kumar (24) and Hussein (20), the hosts were 86-2 after 15 overs and well on course for victory. However, the game turned on its head in a matter of overs and suddenly Limerick were 105-5 and relying on their tail, despite being within 60 or so runs of the target.
As wickets tumbled, it came down to Limerick’s final pair of Prasad Hegde and Mirhamza Ahmedzai to finish the job with 12 runs required. Hedge took strike at the start of the 41st over and finished the game in style, hitting the second ball of the over for 6 followed by a 4 a few balls later to level the scores. Hedge threw caution to the wind as he smelt blood in the final ball of the over, connecting with a fullish delivery to find yet another 6 to win the game for Limerick.
RESULT| MCU Premier League
We defeated County Galway by 2 wickets yesterday.
County Galway 165 all out in 46.1 overs.
Shani Alam 3-7
Syed Asif Hussein 1-17
Limerick 1: 171-8 off 42 overs.
Prasad Hegde 29*
Sarfraz Ramay 27
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A landmark occasion in Sunday’s other game between Limerick 3rds and Clonmel 2nds, on his 100th cap it was none other than James Spencer who lead out his side in overcast conditions. Spencer has had a stellar career in LCC colours and currently holds the top spot as the leading-wicket taker in the club’s history.James Spencer receives a guard of honour as he walks out in LCC colours for the 100th time
Clonmel won the toss and put Limerick into field. In-form bowler Moshtaq Safi continued to catch the limelight as he took two early dismissals to put the hosts under pressure. Safi’s eventual figures of 2-7 off five overs was the highlight of an otherwise struggling bowling performance from the away side, who leaked a lot of runs as Clonmel turned on some T20 style hitting. Abdul Baqi Khan, James Spencer and Alan McCutcheon would all take two wickets apiece as Clonmel reached 207-9 off their 40 overs.
But Limerick couldn’t get going with the bat, a decent start from Spencer and Uzair Khan provided a solid foundation but Limerick’s middle order were up against it with an ever-increasing run-rate, Limerick would find themselves 61 runs short of their target.
RESULT| MCU Division Two.
We lost to United Cricket Clonmel by 61 runs yesterday.
United Cricket Clonmel 2: 207-9 off 40 overs.
Moshtaq Safi 2-7
Alan McCutcheon 2-22
Limerick 3: 146-9 off 40 overs.
Shaoib Zazai 24
Moshtaq Safi 14
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Despite no youth games taking place over the weekend, it was a huge week for some of Limerick’s U13 players who travelled to Derry to face the North West Warriors in the NCWU cricket festival. Six Limerick players, namely Yousaf Ramay, Eshan Tanveer, Skandan Lakshmanan, Behroz Khan, Robert McCutcheon and Riyan Shah, represented the club in a thrilling set of games. After winning the opening game by six wickets, the MCU went down 2-1 in the three game series. The experience for all involved was immense however, a great learning curve for our up and coming players. Furthermore, there were some good performances which gave the lads something to take home and into future competitions. Skandan Lakshmanan was able to get into double figures with the bat on multiple occasions, whilst Eshan Tanveer picked up four wickets in his three games. Furthermore, a number of these players will be underage for next year's series, which gave them a huge boost going forward. A thoroughly enjoyable few days for all involved, the team was assisted also by two Limerick coaches in Sarfraz Ramay and Paul McCutcheon.Behroz, Skandan, Eshan, Robert, Riyan and Yousaf all in their MCU colours before play at the NCWU cricket festival
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Next weekend sees the 1sts, 2nds and 3rds in action with the closing games of their respective seasons. A mouth-watering clash against County Kerry in the Premier League is sure to be the main event of the weekend as Anwar and his team will be looking for back to back victories. The 2nd XI will make the short trip to Croker’s Oval to take on the Limerick Blasters in their penultimate game of the year. Finally, the 4ths will be looking to go one step further at home to Lismore on Saturday with all games taking a 12pm start.