|Born||18 December 1985 Johannesburg, South Africa|
|Educated||Northcliff High School, Johannesburg Exercise Training College, South Africa (Diploma in Personal Training)|
|Debut||12 February 2012 v Kenya at Mombasa Sports Club|
|Style||Right hand bat; right arm fast medium.|
|Teams||Gauteng U19, Northerns, Holmesdale, The Hills|
|History||Mark Sorensen was, before injury intervened is a fast medium bowler of a lively pace, good enough to have distinctly impressed "Aussie Legend" Brett Lee during Ireland's preparations for the 2015 World Cup. That would be recommendation enough for most judges of the game. He is also, at club level, a formidable middle order batsman, capable of destroying most attacks, having several devastating innings to his credit. He has, however, been less successful in international matches, though there have been some memorable knocks. |
His early departure to play professionally first in Kent and then in Leinster robbed South African cricket of his talents though he did play representative cricket for Gauteng at age group level and early in 2007 played for Northerns against an ICC Training Camp XI where he may be said to have made his first impact on Irish cricket. The ICC were captained by William Porterfield and, among other Irish players, included Kenny Carroll. Park Avenue's Mr Reliable was not given the chance to strut his stuff, being quickly bowled by Max for 6. Later in the innings Max removed obdurate Canadian tailender, Kevin Sandher, who was better known as a slow left armer of some ability. Max had 2-29 to help his side to 64 runs victory.
In the summer of 2006 he began a two year stint with Holmesdale then in the Kent Cricket League First Division. Alas, they experienced a terrible season which ended in relegation. This could not be laid at the door of their young Protea professional who took 33 wickets and, generally batting in the middle order played some useful knocks also. His best batting performance came in a mid season match at home to Tunbridge Wells when, opening the batting he made 82. This however did not prevent his side from suffering yet another defeat. Bowling, and always restricted to 15 overs an innings, he had four 4 wicket hauls, the best 4-25 at home to Broadstairs coming in the first match of the season. It brought Holmesdale a "winning draw" their most successful result in matches in which Max played. He was back again the following season but his sides struggled again in the Second Division. Max, however, was in good all round form, taking 39 wickets and hitting four 50s. He had two 5 wicket hauls, one a remarkable performance against Bromley Common when he finished with figures of 15-3-23-5, but saw his side go down by 2 wickets. He had a fine all round performance as Holmesdale clocked up a rare victory in an early August match against HSBC. His 53 followed by an analysis of 13-1-23-4, doing much to secure a 105 runs victory, which, as it was bankers who suffered, was, no doubt, very popular.
Max signed for The Hills in 2007 and has been when available an essential part of the side ever since, helping the Club to two Senior League titles as well as two Bob Kerr Cups.
By the end of the 2017 season Mark had scored over 5000 runs for The Hills in Leinster and ISC competitions. Two innings in the 2011 season in consecutive matches at Milverton show just how dominant his batting could be. Against Railway Union on 4 June, the hosts found themselves chasing a formidable enough task as Railway posted 263 thanks to a brilliant 117 from Trent Johnston ended when Max caught him. Batting at 4 Max led the chase with a blistering attack on the Park Avenue side's bowling. He had reached 94 from 83 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes when he was run out. His team -mates were able, just, to maintain the momentum, seeing The Hills home by 3 wickets with one ball to spare. Two days later a memorable Bank Holiday weekend's cricket concluded with another nail biter against Clontarf. Coming in at 31-3, Max took charge of the attack. He and opener David Calder (57) added 117 for the 4th wicket but there were no other scores of note apart from Max's 120, his third hundred in Leinster cricket and his highest so far. he faced 118 balls, hitting 11 fours and 5 sixes in a stay of just over 2 hours. He was out at 217, but The Hills reached 235. Good bowling by Mark Dwyer brought the match to a tense conclusion, a two run victory with a ball to spare. He had a fine, match winning in the 2017 Cup Final against Merrion at The Vineyard. The visitors, put in, totalled 188 but had taken three of their opponents wickets for 82, including that of Sean Terry for 0, when Mark came to the wicket. He proceeded to put the matter beyond doubt with a devastating display, making 64* from 37 balls with 4 fours and 5 sixes. The Hills won by 5 wickets.
He has also taken over 200 wickets, part of a useful attack including Naseer Shaukat as well as divers Dwyers and Clintons. Among several fine bowling performances we may consider two, one of which was also part of an excellent all round display. In a late season match against YMCA at Milverton 2007, the visitors batted first but were dismissed for 77 with Max, coming on first change having the outstanding figures of 4.1-0-5-6. In reply the hosts lost 2-41 but any possibility of a collapse was seen off by Max at No 4 with an undefeated 20 to see his side home by 8 wickets. The outstanding all round performance came in the first match of the season in 2010 against Malahide. Bating first The Hills stormed to an impressive 325-2. The onslaught was led by Jeremy Bray (106) and rounded off by Max, at 4 and captain Michael Baumgart who put on an unbroken 144 for the third wicket, Michael making 88 and Max 85. Then Max ran through the opposition batting finishing with 8-4-12-6 to complete what must be accounted "not a bad afternoon's work. In the Bob Kerr ISC, he had by the end of the 2017 season scored 559 runs at 32.88 and taken 32 wickets at 19.35. Appropriately he made a major contribution to The Hill's carrying off the trophy in 2014, what was otherwise a most disappointing season for the Skerries side. In the Semi Final against North Down at The Green he came in at 72-4 and proceeded to take the match away from the hosts. Facing 57 balls he hit 3 fours and 6 sixes before being out at 165-6, having reached 70 to date his highest score in the tournament. His momentum enabled the visitors to reach 223, the next highest score was PJ Byrne with 26. In a tight finish the Comber side finished on 220-7. In the Final with Clontarf Max had 3-50, though he failed with the bat.
His best bowling figures in the Cup had come in 2008 in a First Round match with Fox Lodge at Ballymagorry. Batting first the hosts were dismissed for 166, largely thanks to max who finished with 9.1-5-35-5. Like any good paceman he took two early wickets, Nos 2 and 4 in the order before returning to clean up the tail by taking the last three wickets. He was not required to bat as The Hills cruised to an 8 wickets victory. Max appears to have started the 2015 season in fine batting form. For The Hills Select XI against the touring Denmark XI he narrowly failed to bring about an unlikely victory in a T20 match, hitting a blistering 70* from 34 balls with3 fours and 9 sixes. He surpassed this in the first league Match of the season as The Hills laid down a marker that they will be favourites for the Division 2 title. Facing 51 balls he destroyed the Dublin University attack with an astonishing 98, including 7 sixes.
Mark has been a considerable force in all three formats of the interprovincial series. He put down a marker in the 50 over North v South match at The Lawn on 22 July 2012. The visitors batted first and made 223, Max contributing 12 to a last wicket stand of 16 with Tim Murtagh. he took an early wicket, but, at 105-4 North seemed certain to offer the favourites a series challenge. At this stage Max returned to the crease and did the hat trick! It was a strange one in that all three victims were caught in front of the wicket, Gary Wilson at cover followed by Stuart Thompson and Charles Beverland holing out at mid off, the latter deceived by a slower ball.
In 2013 and 2014 he made vital contributions to the successful Leinster Lightning side with both bat and ball, featuring in a number of vital and - to the opposing sides - highly annoying last wicket stands. At Bready on 1 to 3 July in 2014, Leinster batted first and were 190/9 when Max and Albert van der Merwe came together. They proceeded to add 134 for the 10th before Max was run out for 86 made from 110 balls in 131 minutes with 7 fours, Albert being 54*. Picking up 2 wickets in each innings Max could be said to have had a good match. Earlier in the season they had put on 49 for the last wicket in a 3 dayer with Northern Knights, Max then taking 4-34 in the Knights first innings. In 2017 because of injury, he made no 3 day appearances and only one at 50 overs. However he continued to play T20 hitting a spectacular 98*, from 44 balls with 7 fours and 8 sixes against Munster Reds at Anglesea Road. He put on 128 for the 3rd wicket with Simi Singh who hit an equally destructive 109.
Max has also appeared for Ireland in non-cap matches and for Ireland A and the Development XI. Among his good performances for the A side we may note a 5-25 against Scotland A at Udingston, Glasgow in 2012. A strong Ireland side, led by James Shannon but including Trent Johnston, batted first but was all out for 185 to which TJ contributed an unbeaten 42. The hosts reply saw Ireland concede a lead of 98 which would have been greater had not Max returned analysis of 22-5-73-5. Ireland made 345 in their second innings before dismissing the Scots for 173 with Max's fellow paceman Phil Eaglestone and of spinner Lee Nelson doing most of the damage. Max was also to the fore for Ireland against Bangladesh in a pre World Cup warm up match in Sydney in February 2015. Bangladesh batted first and were bowled out for189 with Max 9.2-0-31-3 and John Mooney (3-32) mainly responsible. The Irish batting, led by an elegant knock from Ed Joyce, was up to the task, and a 4 wicket win resulted.
In summer 2017, Mark, plagued by an injury which prevented him from bowling, announced his retirement from international cricket. The praise he received from John Bracewell and others was well deserved. He had scored 348 runs at 15.13 and taken 95 wickets at 20.16. His highest score of 31 came against Scotland in an ODI/WCL match at Stormont in September 2013. The Scots had made 223-9 from their 50 overs with Max taking 2-37, then his best ODI figures. Ireland thanks to Porterfield and Paul Stirlng reached 95-0 but then a collapse set in until Max joined Trent Johnston at 145-7. They put on 34 before TJ was out, whereupon, Max and Tim Murtagh added a further 29. Victory seemed assured but with just over 2 overs to go, Max was stumped for 31. However Murtagh and George Dockrell saw things through to a nail biting win, but Max had played a major part in the victory. He has also played good innings against stronger attacks. For example in the glorious sunshine of Malahide in the same month and year, he came in to join Johnston at 229-7 when it seemed that Ireland's fine start against England, thanks to Porterfield's superb hundred, had been squandered against a keen attack led by one who should have been playing for rather than against the country of his birth! They added 40 to take Ireland to a respectable 269-7 when the overs ran out, Max having made 29 from 17 balls in 19 minutes with 1 four and 2 sixes. Many thought he should have played a larger part in the game, his bowling being largely ignored when Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara took the match away from Ireland. He also batted well in what had become a hopeless cause against South Africa in the World Cup. At Canberra, one of the coldest grounds in Australia, the Proteas had smashed 414 off 50 overs, Max with 0-76 in six overs being one of the main sufferers of the carnage. Despite good batting from Andy Balbirnie and Kevin O'Brien Ireland had slumped to 167-9 when Max joined Dockrell. They put on 33 for the last wicket in 31 minutes, Max making 22 of them from 19 balls with 3 fours and 1 six, before he was caught off Morkel. It was, in the circumstances, a fine effort.
His best bowling figures were achieved against Scotland at Castle Avenue in the 2013 Intercontinental Cup, played just after the WCL match in which Max had already distinguished himself. Max removed the visitor' opening bat HJW Gardener with only 4 runs on the board when the Scots batted first but then took a back seat as Craig Young and Graeme McCarter dismissed the opposition for 138 which Ireland, with a reply of 350, headed by almost 200 runs, Max having contributed a typically destructive 19*.
Then , well supported by Young and McCarter he destroyed the Scots upper order before finishing with figures of 18-1-37-5 and seeing Ireland to an innings and 44 runs victory. The visitors were again on the receiving end in the second of the three ODIs played at Malahide in September 2014, when Max, with 4-40 achieved his best ODI figures and saw Ireland to victory. Finally we may note a spell of 4-0-15-4 which brought Ireland victory by 62 runs over the UAE in the World T20 Qualifier at Dubai in November 2013, an effort which brought him the Man of the Match award.
Edward Liddle, April 2015, updated December 2017
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