AFTER a thoroughly exciting year, which included the official opening of the Oyster Oval at Spa against the MCC, there may be a few jangling nerves at Kerry County Cricket Club as the season draws to a close.
And Kerry CCC are getting no help from the unpredictable September weather. Of the five matches scheduled for the last two weekends, only one has been played, three were victims of heavy rain, the fourth unplayed match was a concession from Cork Harlequins Senior squad who decided not to travel on Saturday; that forfeit hands Kerry seniors 20 crucial points, but the Kingdom squad remain a few points behind Limerick in the Munster Premiere Division standings table.
Kerry Seniors face Galway next weekend - whilst Limerick will host Harlequins; and in an attempt to rescue a match lost to rain earlier in the season, Munster Cricket has arranged for Limerick to face Kerry on the 24th September. This raises the interesting possibility that if Kerry and Limerick both win their next matches, that final match of the season could just provide the winner with enough points to take the Munster Cricket Premier Division championship away from Cork County. Were that to happen, it would be one of the biggest shocks in Munster cricket in a very long time.
Kerry Seconds have finished their Munster Division 1 campaign fourth in a league of five, slightly disappointing, but one step up from last year. Limerick take the Munster Division 1 title, congratulations to them; indeed they have a number of encouragingly strong young cricketers, they are developing a strong work ethic and thoroughly deserve their silverware.
In their final match of the 2017 season, Kerry 3rds missed the opportunity to seal the Division 2 championship, losing to Tipperary 2nds on Sunday. Tipperary, now placed second on 195 points, have one more match to play; next weekend they face UCC who have been well off the pace in recent matches. So, 2016 title holders Kerry (currently sitting top of the table on 205) could cling on to that particular piece of silverware if Tipperary lose to UCC, whereas an abandonment would provide Tipperary with 10 points to take them level with Kerry, and of course, there’s a third possibility…
At Ballyeighan on Sunday, Tipperary fielded first and restricted the visitors to an underwhelming 104 for 9 off their full 40 overs; by some distance the squads lowest score of the season. Murad top scored with 19 and Awais chipped in with 17, but it was the Tipperary bowling that ruled the roost, led by Praveen who finished with 3 wickets for 10 runs. The home team were in no mood to miss out on a golden opportunity to take the vital 20 points that would edge them closer to stealing the Munster Division 2 crown from the Kingdom squad and eased pass the target for the loss of just one wicket.
Kerry 3rds, 104 for 9 (Murad 19 - Praveen 3-10) lost to Tipperary 2nds, 105 for 1 - (Hari 41 - Rich Rutland 1-25).
Fixture: Sunday, Sept 17 - Munster Premier Division: Kerry 1sts v Galway 1sts in Oyster Oval