Cork Harlequins consolidate as Limerick and Co Kerry slip up
With Cork County 1st XI not involved in Munster, at the weekend, owing to their participation in the All Ireland T20 Finals in the North West it was an opportunity for their other rivals to make inroads into County's sizable lead in the Premier Division. First up on Saturday, Co Kerry played host to Limerick at the Oyster Oval. Limerick won the toss and put Co Kerry into bat. Kerry with 55 from Khurram Iqbal and 49 from Jonathan Boulding managed to score 189 before being bowled out in the 41st over thanks mainly to a 5 wicket haul for 38 by Farman Yousafzai. The Limerick innings started badly with Captain Zia Khan with 50 the only top order batsman to make any impression. When Khan was run out Limerick were 131-5 but with 4 further wickets falling for just 10 runs, Co Kerry could see the finish line but a unbeaten 30 from 29 balls by Mudassar Aziz stole the win and left Kerry wondering how they left the game slip.
On Sunday both teams were in action again. Limerick, once again on the road, traveled to Lydican to take on Co Galway in a repeat of the National Cup semi-final. This time it was the tribesmen who triumphed by a 6 wicket margin. On this occasion, the Limerick batting firepower had an off day with only Arsalan Khalid with 57 and Mustafa Sidiqi, coming in at No 11 scoring 54 not out from 69 balls, the only batsmen to impress. Co Galway reached the required target of 193 in 36 overs thanks mainly to a 97 from 80 balls from Emad Uddin scoring 10 boundaries in the process. Sarfraz Ramay took 4 wickets for 37 for Limerick.
Co Kerry traveled to Cork to play Cork Harlequins with a much depleted team owing largly to the Rose of Tralee Festival. Kerry won the toss and choosing to bat amassed 208 runs before being bowled out in 39 overs. Yakoob Ali with 60 supported by Qasim Butt (31) and Awais Saghir (36) the main run scorers. Kerry took early wickets and Quins were 36-3 after 11 overs before the Quins middle order took control of the game. Ru Jones and Zuhair Shah scored 53 runs and Ru, with his brother Senan, put together a partnership of 68 to take the game away from Kerry who fought to the very end losing by 3 wickets with 18 balls to spare.
There was no change in standings in Division 1 with all top 3 teams winning. Leaders, Limerick, had 78 runs to spare over Tipperary County with No 11 batsman, Shahid Udin, top scoring with 40 from 31 balls. For Tipperary Jomy Joseph and Ginson Abraham took 4 wickets each for 31 and 38 respectively. Abraham was also the only batsman to put any significant runs on the board for Tipperary scoring 66.
At the Mardyke, Cork County scored 240, with Harry Broadhurst top scoring with 53, to defeat Co Kerry by 199 runs as Co Kerry were bowled out for 41. Ramesh Neppalli took 4 wickets for 13 run from 8.1 overs while Syed Naeem Ur Rehman also took 4 for 28 from 8 overs.
At Midleton, Majid Khan scored 96 for the home side to help his side to an innings total of 150 which was good enough to beat, bottom side, Cork Harlequins by 52 runs. All 6 bowlers for Midleton shared the 10 wicket spoils between them with Kashif Khan taking 3 for 10.