Sunday 20 August 2017

Merrion face major test of perfect record

England spinner Moeen Ali celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa’s Hashim Amla. Photo: Reuters/Peter Cziborra
England spinner Moeen Ali celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa’s Hashim Amla. Photo: Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Ian Callender

Merrion will have to bring their A-game to the middle tomorrow when they continue their defence of the Irish Senior Cup.

Playing in their 10th consecutive quarter-final, they are away to Waringstown in what should be a classic repeat of last year's final.

The NCU side, after a hesitant start to the season when they lost three consecutive matches, are now on a winning run of four Premier League games which has taken them to the top of the table at the halfway stage.

It still cannot compare to Merrion, who go into the weekend with a record of played 14, won 14 in all competitions.

And, while their five wins in Division 2 are hardly a surprise after their shock relegation last season, they have beaten North County on their way to the Leinster Senior Cup semi-final plus another victory over the Balrothery side and Pembroke in the Alan Murray T20 Cup.

John Anderson scored 125 not out in their previous Irish Cup tie against Muckamore, and the Leinster Lightning skipper will be keen to make up for his two failures during the week for Ireland Wolves in a competition he loves.

Pembroke also have NCU opposition, with North Down the visitors to Sydney Parade, where the home side will be hoping to welcome back Andrew Balbirnie after the Wolves captain missed the defeat against Gloucestershire seconds.

There is certain to be one Leinster side in the semi-finals, with The Hills hot favourites to win their home tie against Balbriggan, playing in the competition for the first time.

It's the third and final round of group games in the Alan Murray Cup today when the top eight will qualify for Wednesday's quarter-finals.

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