Numbers Racket No.9
And so, the first season of the new, enhanced Championship draws to a close with an all-too-predictable champion.
There is no doubt Lightning were the strongest side in the competition – the drawbacks of playing three-day rather than four-day disguised the distance between them and the other two sides.
Something needs to happen for next season or the competition could become futile, which would be a terrible shame. As it is, only James Shannon and Craig Young would get into a Leinster side, but there are half a dozen players in Dublin outside the squad who would get a game if they had been born in Northern Ireland.
The conclusion of the event allows us to publish the first-ever Irish first-class seasonal averages. While the English version will be filling a page of your favourite sports section shortly, ours is a little smaller. Just 48 men played in the Championship, 15 each for Knights and Lightning, 18 for Warriors.
Here are the batting averages, with a qualification of over 150 runs.
Ed Joyce and James Shannon were the dominant forces in the Interpros. Shannon has truly put it up to the selectors – four T20 fifties, and four fifties and a century here must mean he will be back in the reckoning for a green shirt.
Ten wickets is the qualification for the bowling averages, and George Dockrell finished streets clear, despite missing the first Lightning fixture and being inexplicably dropped by Ireland.
|1||JNK Shannon||140||GJ McCarter||62||7||NCU||05-Jun-2017||Leinster Lightning||Stormont, Belfast||FirstCl||162*|
|2||73||EC Joyce||167||3||Lein||05-Sep-2017||Northern Knights||Castle Avenue, Dublin||FirstCl||144|
|3||T Kane||75||EC Joyce||167||8||Lein||05-Sep-2017||Northern Knights||Castle Avenue, Dublin||FirstCl||138|
|4||S Lazars||62||87||4||NW||20-Jun-2017||Leinster Lightning||Oak Hill||FirstCl||132|
|5||SR Thompson||46||NR Allen||81||3||NW||01-Aug-2017||Northern Knights||The Green Comber||FirstCl||93|
There was a query about whether the opening partnership of 297 between Jeremy Bray and Givan Christian of Terenure was some kind of record.
Although not the biggest stand for any wicket, it is the highest for the 1st wicket in Leinster competition. They take over from Ben Larkin and Rory Flanagan of Phoenix who put up 295 in 2010.
The only stands over 300 both came in the 2013 season when Josh Tasman-Jones and Hugh Pike of Trinity racked up 342 for the second wicket against Leinster 2nds. Tom Fisher and Richie Lawrence put on 322* for the same wicket against the same side for Terenure.
Bray has also joined Brad Spanner on top of the list of most double-century partnerships, with that one against North Kildare being his fifth. ‘Jezzer’ also notched up his 25th Leinster Senior ton, equalling the record of Andre Botha and one ahead of Alf Masood.