Alan Murray T20 final line-up taking shape

by Gazette Reporter

FINALS DAY of the Alan Murray T20 cricket tournament is taking shape, with Merrion and Pembroke both advancing to the finale, which will take place at Pembroke cricket club on Sunday, August 9.
The Leinster region’s Senior T20 Championship is currently held by Clontarf, who defeated fellow north Dublin side The Hills comfortably in the 2014 final after The Hills struggled with the bat. The tournament is rarely won by the same side in consecutive years, however, with The Hills, YMCA and North County also notching recent wins in the showcase.
The southern group qualifiers for 2015 have already concluded. Merrion finished their group stage unbeaten, winning five games from five and securing a finals spots with a single run win over Pembroke in a low-scoring encounter on July 7. That game, like much of the group, was dominated by spin, with Paul Lawson and John Cooke of Pembroke topping the bowling tables with 13 and 11 wickets respectively.
In fact, despite that narrow loss to Merrion pushing them into second place, Pembroke dominated their group statistically, also boasting the two strongest batsmen in the tournament, which puts the traditionally mid-table side in a promising position for finals day.
Tom Ritchie of Leinster hit the tournament’s only century so far, finishing with 103 but was still comfortably on the losing side against Merrion. Theo Lawson and his team mate Ryan Hopkins (both Pembroke) hit totals of 199 and 162 respectively across the tournament.
While the Southern group has already concluded, the Northern qualifiers remain to be determined, with two of Clontarf, The Hills and North County expected to go through to the showcase event from the tighter group.
All three sides are on 16 points with one match left to play, and qualification is likely to come down to margins of victory through run rate differences.
Tarf are at a slight disadvantage, having to play Malahide first, while The Hills and North County play Rush and Balbriggan respectively a couple of days later. North County are well behind on net run rate, so may require one of the other sides to have an off day.

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