Bray keeps YMCA on course for double after beating Pembroke

Former Ireland opener makes unbeaten 130 in victory over Pembroke

Two stunning unbeaten knocks from former Ireland international Jeremy Bray put YMCA on course for their first double since 1990 after they beat Sandymount rivals Pembroke by 79 runs to claim the RSA Leinster Senior Cup at their home ground in Claremont Road yesterday.

The 39-year-old left-hander batted his side to an imposing score of 288 for six from their 60 overs after they won the toss, finishing on 130 not out from 111 balls to secure his first ton of the season and 24th in Leinster cricket.

As ever, Bray was savage on any bowler who offered him a bid of width, hitting 13 fours and four sixes against a bowling attack that was missing Ireland international Andrew Balbirnie.

Beaten finalists
Last year's beaten finalists also lost Balbirnie's younger brother Harry after he pulled a hamstring bowling his second ball and was ruled out of the attack after five deliveries.

At that stage the match-defining partnership between Bray and his former international skipper Trent Johnston was already well set, with Johnston having survived two very strong leg-before shouts from Allan Eastwood while he was still in single figures.


The pair went on to add 136 runs for the fifth wicket in just over 26 overs before Johnston was caught by Eastwood on the long-on boundary off the bowling of Danny Barclay for 62.

Bray had brought up his century off 91 balls just beforehand and pushed on to leave his side in a very strong position.

Positive start
Ryan Hopkins got his side off to a positive start before departing for 24 off 21 balls, but Pembroke were still in a strong position at tea, on 82 for one.

The introduction of spin after the break changed matters, with Simmi Singh, Yacoub Ali and former Ireland international Albert van der Merwe rattling through the Pembroke order, with Barry McCarthy’s 45 in the middle order one bright spot after tea.

Skipper Van der Merwe finished with four for 39, Ali with two and Singh three, including taking a return catch off Harry Balbirnie, who bravely went out to bat with the help of a runner, that ended the Pembroke innings on 209.

A 10th cup title could yet be added to with the league crown after Bray’s 87 not out from 99 balls saw them secure a 14-run victory over Merrion at the same ground on Saturday.

The victory leaves them two points clear of The Hills, who beat Leinster by 84 runs in a rain affected game in Milverton. The Hills will now host YM on the last Saturday of the month in the penultimate round of fixtures in a game that looks set to decide the outcome of an exciting season.

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist