Having won our six group matches, some by the slimmest of margins and overcoming Laois 2’s by 10 wickets in the semi final, a confident but cautious Clontarf 4 side met Leinster 4’s in the Whelan cup final on Sunday.
Unusually so, the weather for September was probably as good as any day in the summer. The Railway ground looking as good as I could remember did little to prepare both teams for the slow and low wicket on offer.
Clontarf won the toss and chose to bowl. A slow start was helped by a spilt stumping chance for Singh, who reprieved sent the next ball over the square leg boundary. Overconfidence probably then took over and playing back was bowled middle stump by Saleem. Vaidya playing back to Saleem was then LBW for a duck.
(Clontarf captain Micky Lowe with the Whelan Cup)
Halliday dug in and the score passed fifty at halfway. An Aamir Khan inswinger removed the resolute Halliday whilst the introduction of Bargur’s off spin reduced Leinster to 57/6. Rajwat counter attacked with a couple of towering shots to leg, but Clontarf’s fielding was sharp producing two outstanding run outs as Leinster reached 78/9 with two overs remaining.
The young Leinster wicket keeper Nathan O’Reilly then showed great resilience steering his side to 92/9 from their 20 overs. A competitive total bearing in mind the final played in the morning produced a first innings total of 87 from N Kildare, who subsequently ran out winners by 45 runs.
Sahil and Naveed opened up for Clontarf. A slow but steady start suddenly sprung to life with successive sixes from Naveed in the eight over off Rajwat. A breakthrough for Leinster in the ninth with Sahil bowled by Selwyn 38/1.
Shah joined Naveed and brought up the fifty in the twelfth before the Leinster Captain Sheikh, bowled The opener for 33 with an unplayable off break, hitting the base of the stumps. A glimmer of hope for the Rathmines outfit was quickly extinguished as Shah drove a number of boundaries through the covers before he holed out for 31 with nine needed.
Saleem and Tariq with a straight drive took Clontarf over the line in the 19th over. A tight contest at times but a comprehensive 7 wicket win in the end.
The Clontarf team was fortunate to have played as a consistent group in this shortened season, indeed nine of the team playing in at least seven of their eight victories.
A balanced team, all contributing, no superstars but all knowing their respective roles and playing with enthusiasm at all times. A real pleasure to captain such a fine bunch of cricketers.