Hills off to a flyer in Premier clash


IN-FORM Dylan Blignaut’s superb century provided the backbone to The Hills’ innings as they made an impressive winning start to their IBI Corporate Finance Premier League campaign away to neighbours Malahide on Monday.

here were also wins on the opening day for Balbriggan in the top flight and Rush in the Championship, but the big game from a Fingal point of view was the clash of Malahide and The Hills.

The Skerries side batted first, and after a slowish start, with Cormac McLoughlin, Andrew Kavanagh and Athar Farooqi all going quite cheaply, Blignaut and Mark Donegan put on 97 runs for the fourth wicket from only 14 overs.

Blignaut cracked seven fours and four sixes in his 101, while Donegan scored at more than a run a ball before eventually being run out for 47.

Quick runs down the order helped carry The HIlls to a useful-looking scored of 253/9 at the end of their 50 overs. James Newland was easily the standout bowler for Malahide, collecting 5/47 from his 10 overs including the prized victim of Blignaut.

The home side needed to get out of the blocks quickly and opener Ryan Hackney and Arjun Muntha gave them the impetus required with an opening stand of 41, but Muntha’s dismissal for 20 was the beginning of the end, as it turned out.

No other Malahide batsman scored more than 12 runs and when Hackney was their eighth man out for 56, with the score on 129, it was only a matter of time before The Hills wrapped up the win.

Farooqi picked up four wickets for only 22 runs and Tomas Rooney Murphy secured a 110-run victory when he removed David O’Halloran to leave Malahide 143 all out at the start of the 40th over.

Runs were far more difficult to come by at the Jack Harper Memorial Grounds where Balbriggan batted first against Phoenix.

Opener Connor Fletcher was dismissed for a duck off just the second ball of the innings and number seven batsman Dylan Lues’ 26 not out turned out to be the highest score of the innings as the home side were eventually bowled out for 138 in the 41st over.

George Dockrell’s 3/38 was the standout bowling performance from Phoenix, but his efforts were ultimately in vain as only two Phoenix batsmen made double figures, with Oliver Hald’s 13 not not being the top score.

Kashif Ali proved almost unplayable with the ball as he picked up 5/10 from six overs, while Hadley, Andrew Darroch and Farooq Nasr shared the remaining wickets as Phoenix were knocked out for 63 to secure a 75-run opening-day win for Balbriggan.

In the Championship, Rush played host to Cork Harlequins at Kenure and smashed 268/9 from their allotted 50 overs.

Openers Jack McGee and Saadat Gull both went cheaply, but then Llewelyn Johnson came to the crease and proceeded to smashed an incredible 138 off just 114 runs.

His innings featured 13 fours and eight sixes, meaning that exactly a hundred of his total came in boundaries.

There was a wobble in the middle of the innings as four batsmen lost their wickets for a combined total of just eight runs, but the tail wagged nicely, led by Asher Abbasi who helped himself to 30.

Cork lost wickets at regular intervals throughout their innings and never threatened to make a game of it.

At one point they were staring at a very heavy defeat when 79/7 and despite a good of good knocks at the end of their innings they were dismissed for 185 – 83 runs short – with Jack McGee (4/36) the pick of the bowlers.

The news wasn’t so good for North County as they followed up their Senior League Cup semi-final defeat of 48 hours earlier with another loss in their opening Championship fixture.

Hosts Leinster didn’t have things all their own way with the bat and they were eventually all out for 189 in the penultimate over of their innings.

John Mooney (4/29) was the star bowler, but Abdul Ghaffar, Usman Azhar, Eddie Richardson and Malcolm Nofal also picked up wickets in a good bowling performance by the Balrothery side.

What followed, though, was a disastrous batting display.

Seán Rooney, batting at two, cracked 27 runs but no-one else reached double figures as Leinster bowled out County for a miserable 68 to secure a 121-run victory.

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