Limerick finish season undefeated with away win to Kerry

Limerick maintained their 100% winning record on Sunday when they defeated Kerry to complete a perfect league campaign, finishing 5 points clear of their nearest competitors. Limerick 4 wins from 4 in their league run with on game going down as a no result due to a suspect Covid-19 case before the game in which Limerick shared the points.

Limerick made the short and familiar journey to Galway due to an unplayable ground in Tralee, Kerry still being the home team giving skipper Arslan Anwar the call at the toss. Incidentally, he would lose the toss and Kerry put Limerick into field on what was a sluggish outfield due to some light rainfall in recent days.

Kerry however, were not sluggish in their start to the innings as their openers needed no second invitation to find the boundary off some uncharacteristically loose bowling from Limerick as the home side settled into their innings. Despite this lightning start, Arslan looked to counter and the trusty pair of Shani Alam and Farman Yousafzai came on at first change to steady the ship and bring Limerick back into the game. Shani was on the money and his spell reaped dividends. He took 3 wickets and Farman only went for 14 off his 18 deliveries as Limerick tightened the screw on their opponents.

Once Limerick got into the tale, it was a matter of a procession as Kerry lost wickets at regular intervals and in doing so losing a lot of momentum. What once looked like a sizable total was reduced to just 115 leaving Limerick with a run rate of just under a run a ball needed from their 20 overs.

Former Kerry player Azeem Khan and last week’s hero Swaroop Burra gave Limerick the start they needed before Swaroop lost his wicket in the fourth over to opposition skipper John Roux. Limerick would lose Farrukh Bhagat in the next to bring Kerry back into the game as the Limerick innings needed rapid reconstruction. Australian Tim Smithies came in at 4 and pushed the ball around the field finding the gaps and keeping the score ticking over as Limerick edged closer to the total. The two put on a 50-run partnership before Azeem was caught on the boundary at the end of the 14th over. Captain Arslan Anwar came in at 5 and played a sensible captain’s knock as he and Smithies (36*) steered Limerick to victory with 9 balls remaining giving the away side a 7 wicket victory, a superb end to an extraordinary season for the first XI. The team enjoyed a meal (socially distanced of course!) after the game in celebration of their achievements this year.

It was a clean sweep for LCC at the weekend with wins also coming in Div 3 and Div 2 on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Limerick 4th XI captain Gavin Devereux lifted the Div 3 league on Saturday when his side beat Cork Harlequins ensuring them the trophy and another piece of silverware for the club in what is turning out to be a very rewarding year with still one final yet to come and one league up for grabs.

Limerick’s 3rd XI ran out easy winners against Cork County on Sunday in the Mardyke, a rain-affected game was reduced to 15 overs in which Limerick ran out comfortable winners by 36 runs. Limerick opener Saurabh Teke approving himself to be the big difference between the two sides with a quick fire 74 off just 49 deliveries as Limerick raced the 136-5 from their first innings giving the home side too much to chase in reply.

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Jack Neville