Monday 18 December 2017

Cricket: Bray's return a boost for Hills' Cup prospects

THE Hills welcome back Jeremy Bray and Albert van der Merwe to the team for their delayed Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup quarter-final with Waringstown at Milverton today at 12.30.

Bray, the former Ireland international and van der Merwe, who made his debut against West Indies 'A' last month, were on Ireland 'A' duty last week -- as coach and captain, respectively, at the European Championships -- but their presence today is a boost for the Skerries club as they bid to join Railway Union and Merrion, the winners' next opponents.

Last week's seven-wicket victory over Malahide, their fifth out of six, promoted The Hills to second place in Division 1 and the form of Max Sorensen and Mike Baumgart made up for Bray's absence.

Van der Merwe was the pick of the Ireland bowlers in Jersey and if he can pick up where he left off then Leinster should be assured of an Irish Cup finalist for the ninth time in 10 years.

The weekend's big game follows at 11.0 tomorrow with the LHW Senior Cup final between Railway and Clontarf at College Park.

Kenny Carroll, who continues to be overlooked for a recall at international level, will be the big wicket to capture for Castle Avenue side Clontarf. He hit 116 in the semi-final win over North County and also took the wicket of opening batsman Conor Armstrong.

Carroll has already scored a century against Clontarf, in last month's nine-wickets league win at Park Avenue, and as Railway won their semi-final without internationals Trent Johnston and Kevin O'Brien, who both return for tomorrow's decider , they will be favourites to end Clontarf's remarkable run in the competition; their last defeat was to Leinster in 2006.

The holders are further handicapped by the absence through injury of international Andrew Poynter, who scored 97 in the league game between the teams, and they may need Rod Hokin to repeat his century in the quarter-final win over The Hills if Clontarf are to win the cup for the fourth successive year.

Irish Independent

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