Limerick storm past Midleton into Senior Cup Semi-Finals

Given home advantage and two wins over Limerick this year, the Cork outfit definitely entered the game as favourites, but were outdone by another century from Arslan Anwar.

As thunder began to ring around the fields of Midleton RFC late on Sunday evening, Limerick were in position to secure victory over the in-form Midleton.

Given home advantage and two wins over Limerick this year, the Cork outfit definitely entered the game as favourites, but were outdone by another century from Arslan Anwar, complimented with a sublime half-century from Tim Smithies.

Midleton put Limerick into bat first and excelled with the ball early on. The swinging ball caused problems for both Sayyam and Borghare who departed early. Nishant Kumar joined the returning Smithies to the crease but was soon dismissed to an outside edge to see the visitors on 68-4 and in need of a partnership. Limerick captain Anwar joined his trusted partner in the middle to survive a few early scares and stabilise the fall of wickets. 

The two worked in tandem as Midleton’s momentum faded and the scoreboard ticked over with both players making 50s, and shortly after, securing a 100-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Smithies would soon depart on 195-5, but Anwar wasn’t finished as he accelerated his strike rate to land another century. An innings of real stature and responsibility from Anwar as his team came just shy of the 300-run mark, before a bright and breezy 34 from number seven Sarfraz Ramay got Limerick up to 299-6 from their 50 overs. 

With the home side chasing a mammoth total, the openers looked to gain some early impetus with the bat, but were met with some unplayable deliveries from the Shannonsiders. Ahmedzai and Hegde once again on the money, beating the top order with pace to find a myriad of edges.

Midleton found themselves in a similar position on 31-5, but a 50-run partnership for the sixth wicket brought the game back into contention.

Ahmedzai came back into the attack to pick up Hitchmough and clinch his first five-wicket haul of the season, but another 90-run partnership got Midleton up to the 200-run mark, needing a run a ball in the final fifteen overs or so.

Limerick had fallen foul of conceding late runs in many innings this year but held firm in the final stages, Arslan Sayyam coming on as a part-time bowler to dismiss Fayyaz Khan on 38 with Hussein and Ahmedzai cleaning up the tail.

RESULT| MCU Senior Cup Quarter-Final. 

Limerick defeated Midleton by 78 runs. 

Limerick 1: 299-6 off 50 overs. 

Arslan Anwar 128 

Tim Smithies 67 

Midleton 1: 221 all out off 42.3 overs. 

Mirhamza Ahmedzai 6-40 

Prasad Hegde 2-46

Division One has proven to be tricky this season for Dharmesh Patel and his men. Claiming the T20 trophy and holding a strong position at the summit of the table brought a lot of optimism to the side at the start of the year, but a dip in form and a depleting loss to UCC in the cup semi-final has seen optimism fade.

The visit of Nenagh to the Manor Fields on Saturday afternoon marked the end of their season.

Sathya Prabhu opened with a nice spell for the hosts having been promoted from first change for this week. His control of a swinging ball earned him three wickets for the innings, taking an early scalp before cleaning up two from the tail late on.

He was backed up by Waqas Shinwari and fellow country man Shaoib Zazai who both picked up two a piece as Nenagh could only muster 163.

In response, Limerick opener Sourabh Teke stole the show with some lovely stroke play, exemplifying the control and timing any captain would want to see from their opener.

Teke raced to his half-century and looked to sure seal a second club century, before skying a short-length delivery into the hands of cover and falling just 13 runs short. However, the damage was well done at this point, with Limerick above the 150 mark as the middle order steered their way to a comfortable victory.

RESULT| MCU Division One. 

Limerick defeated Nenagh by 6 wickets. 

Nenagh 1: 163 all out off 39.1 overs. 

Mirhamza Ahmedzai 3-23 

Sathya Prabhu 3-35 

Limerick 2: 164-4 off 31 overs. 

Sourabh Teke 87 

Nishant Kumar 18

In Division Two, Limerick welcomed table-toppers Cork County to the Manor Fields on Sunday afternoon hoping to restore some pride to their position in the table.

The hosts were up against it from the off, with Ihshan Seehra making a solid 69 off 63 deliveries that got County past 100 runs in the short time of just 16 overs.

Their middle order chipped in with valuable runs, taking the game out of sight for a fatigued Limerick and reaching a 258-run total.

A final spell from James Spencer added an emotional touch to the game, the Australian playing his final game in LCC colours having served eleven seasons. His figures of 1-22 off 8 overs provides a fitting end for a bowling career covered in match-winning figures. 

A decent stand of 66 between Waqas Mehmood [(47) 5x4s,1×6)] and Kumar Divyesh [(33) 4x4s,1×6)] provided a bright spark for Limerick in reply, but too many soft dismissals elsewhere gave the home side no real chance of challenging such a total as they would be eventually dismissed for 132.

The loss sees the Thirds slump to a disappointing ninth place finish in the table with work to do for next season.

RESULT| MCU Division Two. 

Limerick lost to Cork County by 126 runs. 

Cork County 3: 258 all out off 40 overs. 

James Spencer 3-55 

Waqas Mehmood 2-52 

Limerick 3: 132 all out off 27.3 overs. 

Waqas Mehmood 47 

Kumar Divyesh 33

The Thirds will have a final game against Nenagh on Sunday to make amends and push for a slightly higher finish, with skipper Ashokkumar Jayaranam looking to use the opportunity to get his team out of second-last spot.

All eyes will be on the First Team who will take on Cork Harlequins in two bouts this weekend.

The opening game on Saturday will take place in the Manor Fields, signalling the final game for Limerick in the league.

On Sunday, it will be the same opposition with a twist as Quins will again travel to the Manor Fields looking to reach a second consecutive final.

A huge tie for both clubs who will look for a shot at silverware having failed in both the league and T20 campaigns so far.

The winners of the tie will face either Cork County or UCC, the latter receiving a bye to the semi-final whilst County saw off the challenge of County Galway in the last round with an astounding 144-run victory.  

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Darragh Moloney