The ICC Trophy has come and gone. While there was not a great deal of optimism accompanying the Irish side to Toronto, it was still very disappointing to end up in 8th place. This could have the consequence of finding us in the second section if the proposal for future Associated members tournaments being divided into leagues with 6 each in the top two divisions comes to pass. It was even more disappointing when two matches we should have won, against the U.A.E. where we could not defend 283 and against Holland when we lost by two runs, were lost. Wins in these two matches would most probably have led to our being in the 3rd and 4th place match.
However, there were positives to come out of the Tournament. While we expected Ed Joyce to be one of the outstanding players, which he proved by coming first in the batting averages, his brother Dominick also came of age in the Irish team. While the bowling was disappointing, Adrian McCoubrey has surely cemented his place in the Irish team with his performances. Jason Molins was another success and Peter Davy finished in style with a fine century against Canada.
However, we must now move on with the Australians coming to Ormeau on 12th August and the Triple Crown to follow in the next week. There will be much interest in the team to be selected with 5 of the party in Canada likely to be unavailable because of injury and the possibility of one or two other changes being made. Australian Jeremy Bray has now completed his qualification period, about 2 months too late unfortunately for Toronto, and Conor Armstrong must surely come into the side. There were also positive signs for the slightly longer term future with victories for the Irish Under 17 and Under 13 teams in their respective 4 nation tournaments involving Ireland, Scotland, Holland and Denmark. The Under 15 and Under 19 teams are playing in the next week in their equivalent tournaments and there is optimism there also. In the case of the Under 19's it is a seven nation European Colts Tournament, divided into two divisions, with the prize for the winner participation in the Youths World Cup in New Zealand next year.
While Toronto was progressing, the domestic scheme continued. North County won their first ever tournament in Leinster when they defeated Merrion in the final of the 50 Over Lewis Traub League by 33 runs. Batting first North County scored 240-4, with outstanding contributions from Andre Botha 111* and John Mooney who scored a rapid 75, which won him the man of the match award. John is another who is tipped for full international honours and performed well in the "A" tournament in Denmark. However, he perhaps needs to show more consistency and has the opportunity to display this talent in the Under 19 tournament this week. Merrion in reply were bowled out for 207 with Botha taking 3-37.
The Senior Cup ahs reached the final stage with the protagonists being Y.M.C.A. and C.Y.M. The final is scheduled for Castle Avenue on Saturday 4th August. Continuing to live dangerously with my forecasting hat I would expect Y.M.C.A. to win as C.Y.M. have not reached this stage before and there is a lot of experience in the Y.M. side, not least Angus Dunlop and Alan Lewis, whose presence was badly missed in Toronto.
The Senior league in Leinster is now well under way. Clontarf, Phoenix and Merrion lead the way in Section A, but North County have matches in hand and are handily placed. Section B sees Pembroke and Munster heading the table, both unbeaten, and even at this stage seem favourites for the two promotion spots.
In the Northern Cricket Union, the Cup Finalists are North Down and N.I.C.C.
North Down are also joint leaders in the League, along with Waringstown and Downpatrick, but with a match in hand to Waringstown and 2 to Downpatrick. N.I.C.C. are joint 4th, one win behind North Down, so an excellent cup final is in sight. Cliftonville cannot be overlooked in the league as while they have only 16 points, compared with the leaders 32, they have only played 7 matches due to having three players in Toronto. If they can win their outstanding matches, always a big if as players come under pressure, then they will be right back in it.
The North West final sees familiar contenders with Limavady and Donemana in opposition. Both won their semi finals by the narrow margin of 1 wicket. Limavady's was the more remarkable performance as when the last pair came together they needed 35 to win. The last pair duly nursed them home. In Donemana's case the amount required from the last wicket was 12, and again they were seen home. The respective defeated semi finalists, Bready and Glendermott, will rue their failure to beat the big two and get through to the finals. In the senior league Brigade are on top but only by 2 points (the reward for a win) from Donemana, who have a game in hand, with Strabane, Limavady and Bready all a further two points behind.