The North West Warriors won an enthralling Hanley Energy Interprovincial Cup clash against the Northern Knights at the Lawn this afternoon- a result which means that Leinster Lighting retain the trophy with their final match against James Shannon’s team still to play.
The contest was reduced to 30 overs a side due to rain and ended up going down to the very last ball that the Warriors’ tenth wicket pairing of Davy Scanlon and Ross Allen managed to scramble away for the winning single, with Greg Thompson’s run out attempt missing by inches.
The byline was a debut appearance for Ireland skipper William Porterfield in the North West side but the Warwickshire man was to be out of luck- run out off the fingers of bowler Nathan Smith while backing up, having made just 8.
Shannon had opted to bat first on winning the toss and openers Chris Dougherty (41) and Nikolai Smith (40) gave their team a superb start with a first wicket stand of 76. Warriors captain Andy McBrine (3-32) led something of a fightback after that and as the runs dried up it took cameos from Adam Dennison (23) and Greg Thompson (23) to keep the board ticking over.
Any thoughts of a big finish were to be undone by Eglinton spinner Allen however as he claimed 3-9 from his 2 overs while Steve Lazars chipped in with 2-45, the hosts eventually all out for 167 with what was to prove a crucial five balls left unused.
The early loss of David Rankin and the run-outs of both Porterfield and then Stuart Thompson saw the Warriors off the pace early in their reply before David Barr and Johnny Thompson added a valuable 49-run stand for the fourth wicket. Even after losing opener Barr for 28, Thompson took on all comers, hitting 3 fours and 4 sixes in his even-time 51.
McBrine and Thompson put on 25 more before the latter fell to Lee Nelson and then the skipper and his Donemana club-mate Ricky-Lee Dougherty looked to be cruising to victory before a late flurry of wickets left the game on a knife edge.
Crucially, McBrine hit Gary Kidd for consecutive sixes to leave the Warriors back in charge at 159-6 in the 28th over, needing just 9 more to win, but even then they nearly let it slip as Kidd took his revenge to dismiss the visiting captain for 36.
Andy Britton and Lazars both followed in quick succession before Allen hit the third ball of Nikolai Smith’s last over for six.
The last pair were able to just do enough to get the Warriors over the line from there as the North West outfit continued their good run of form across the series’ this season.
Nathan Smith (3-14) and Jacob Mulder (2-30) fared best with the ball for the hosts but it is ultimately Leinster Lightning who were left singing.