Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cricket: Merrion hope returning stars can reclaim pole position

Ian Callender

Merrion welcome back Ben Ackland, Tyrone Kane and professional Brett Thompson for the big game of the day, at North County, with a place at the top of the table up for grabs.

The runs have dried up for the Ballsbridge side lately and although John Anderson, injured last week, is now on international duty and Dom Joyce is only 50/50 for selection, they are still significantly stronger than the team that lost to Pembroke last week.

Having lost their last two games, Merrion have surrendered league leadership but with the second half of the season not starting for another two weeks, they should be back at full strength next time.

North County will be without John Mooney, who leaves with the Ireland squad for Holland today, but Eddie Richardson, who followed up his six-wicket haul in last week's win at Railway with five wickets for Leinster Lightning in the inter-pro during the week, is the form player who Merrion will have to keep in check.

Leaders YMCA will be desperate to avoid following in Merrion's slip-stream at Sydney Parade and with Trent Johnston en route to Deventer, they would love to welcome back Reinhardt Strydom from injury, but it looks like he is still a week away from returning.

The Hills, five points behind in third place, are without Max Sorensen, and Darryl Calder and Tomas Murphy are still missing, but Mark Dwyer and Mike Baumgart are back against a Phoenix side desperate for their second win of the season.

Leinster, in their bid to make it back-to-back wins, have the bonus today of hosting a Railway Union team minus Kevin O'Brien, but they are without captain Craig Mallon.

Irish Independent

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