Ed Joyce unbeaten 49 cemented Leinster Lightning’s strong position after the first day of their Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Championship clash with NW Warriors at Oak Hill on Tuesday.
The left-hander was at his stylish best, striking 8 fours and a six in his 49 from just 54 balls, sharing an unbroken opening stand of 77 with Jack Tector as Lightning replied to the Warriors total of 235 to finish the day just 158 runs adrift with all ten wickets in hand.
Joyce also passed a significant landmark when he reached 6 - passing 18,000 runs in first-class cricket - achieved at an average of just under 48 in a 20-year career with Middlesex, Sussex, Ireland, and Leinster Lightning.
Earlier in the day, Eddie Richardson (2-21) struck two early blows dismissing the Bready pair of Irosh Samarasooriya (1) and Andrew Austin (0) to leave the visitors reeling on 7 for 2.
There was dogged resistance from Ross Allen (18) and Niall O’Brien (14) but when both fell in quick succession, the Warriors were staring down the barrel at 44 for 4.
Stuart Thompson adopted an aggressive approach striking five boundaries in his 31, as he and David Rankin attempted to rebuild the innings with a 5th wicket stand of 62 either side of the lunch break.
Thompson though attempted one big shot too many, and became the first of three wickets for Simi Singh (3-59), courtesy of a sharp stumping by Lorcan Tucker, who was to claim four victims in total behind the stumps.
Rankin (47) added a further 43 with skipper Andy McBrine who provided some much needed steel to the Warriors batting.
Despite losing Johnny Thompson cheaply, McBrine found a willing ally in Steve Lazars (24) as the pair added 55 for the 8th wicket.
McBrine top scored with a fine 67 from 125 balls (8 fours, 1 six) before he too fell to the Tucker/Singh combination as the Warriors innings closed on 235 in the 88th over.
As well as Singh’s three wickets, there was a brace apiece for Max Neville, Eddie Richardson and George Dockrell.
The ease with which Joyce and Tector negotiated the final passage of play suggests it could well be a long day in the field tomorrow (WED) for the Warriors who already look to be facing an uphill battle to salvage anything from the match.
Play resumes at Oak Hill at 11am on Wednesday.
Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Championship
Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors at Oak Hill. Day 1 of 3.
North West Warriors 235 (87.2 overs; A McBrine 67, D Rankin 47, S Thompson 31, S Lazars 24; S Singh 3-59, E Richardson 2-21, M Neville 2-22, G Dockrell 2-53.)
Leinster Lightning 77-0 (17 overs; E Joyce 49*, J Tector 18*)