County extract revenge with resounding win
Premier Division holders Cork County took on Cork Harlequins for the second time in as many weeks at Farmers Cross on Sunday last. Having won the toss, home captain Ru Jones elected to bat first on what was a warm and sunny day. With the grass wickets in Harlequins still a few weeks away from being ready the game was played on the artificial and off-spinner Abubakar Saddique opened the bowling for Cork County. He struck with his fourth ball, Joe Hourihane chipping to short mid-wicket. Following a tidy over from Farrukh Fiaz, Saddique struck again, Harlequin's captain Ru Jones cutting uppishly to backward point. Things could have got worse for the hosts when Matthew Brewster spooned one to mid-on but Noel Cronin couldn’t cling on.
Things did get worse just two overs later when recent transferee Harry Fitzpatrick drove straight back at Saddique. The bowler parried it up in the air and Diarmuid Carey completed the catch leaving Harlequins 31-3. A rebuilding job was required but Kieran O’Reilly couldn’t oblige, pinned in front by Fiaz for 4. Next man Mustak Mardan did oblige however, combining with Brewster to see off Fiaz. Diarmuid Carey was unlucky not to pick up a wicket in his economical seven over spell but Saddique had more luck in his last over, ending Brewster’s battling 20 with a leading edge to Ross Durity at short cover.
Senan Jones joined Mardan at the crease and set about upping the rate with first a reverse sweep, then a conventional one. His busy innings concluded on 17 when he missed his reverse sweep and was adjudged lbw by umpire Joe O’Mahony. Zuhair Shah entered the fray with Harlequins in need of a scoreboard boost but Jeremy Benton swiftly brought his innings to a close, a quicker delivery flattening Shah’s middle stump. With Cork County well in control, Mardan tried to up the rate with a series of swept boundaries but he lost another partner when Liam Edwards was caught at mid-off for 1 before the diminuitive right-hander finally fell for a hard-fought 37 from 82 balls, Noel Cronin picking up the wicket. The end came swiftly, Isaac Whittaker caught at deep square leg leaving Cork County with a target of 119 for victory.
Brandon Kruger and Ross Durity opened for Cork County and though Kruger was dropped early by Isaac Whittaker, the visitors soon set about finding the boundaries. Durity took 12 from a Senan Jones over before also opening his shoulders against bowling of Harry Fitzpatrick who bowled far too short in his three overs for 21 runs. Ru Jones rang the changes, bringing himself and Kieran O’Reilly on and it was the latter who had success, forcing Kruger into an uppish drive which he caught himself. Ross Durity went to a quickfire fifty with a drive through cover before being adjudged lbw to Ru Jones a couple of balls later with the champions forty runs from victory. County captain Cormac Hassett smashed three fours and a six in his innings of 13 balls before Jeremy Benton finished the job with a forceful cut to the point boundary, Cork County completing a comprehensive 8 wicket win inside 17 overs.