Irish international James Shannon holds the key to the outcome of the RSA Inter-Provincial Championship match between the North West Warriors and Northern Knights following another day of fluctuating fortunes at Eglinton. Instonians batsman Shannon is unbeaten on 30 as the Knights finished the day on 97 for 5, in pursuit of a victory target of 158.
An opening stand of 49 between Chris Dougherty (30) and Johnny Terrett (24) looked to have set up a comfortable run chase, before a flurry of wickets fell late in the day. Kamran Sajid (1-9) got the initial breakthrough removing Dougherty, before Andrew McBrine removed the obdurate Terrett - who batted 92 balls for his 24 - one of the few batsmen on show who had shown the application necessary for three-day cricket.
Andrew White (0) was well caught low down by Niall McDonnell off Stuart Thompson (1-30) and then shortly afterwards McBrine (2-11) trapped Lee Nelson (5) in front to leave the Warriors scenting blood. Just before the close of play the home side were given yet another boost as Zimbabwean Test player Craig Ervine (0) lost patience and was smartly stumped by Dougherty off Warriors skipper Hussain to leave the game very much in the balance.
Hussain and fellow spinner McBrine have bowled a combined total of 21 overs, 11 maidens, 3 wickets for 24 runs as The Kinghts adopted a safety first mentality. Earlier in the day it was the Knights seamers who did most of the damage, with left-armer Phil Eaglestone taking 4 for 51 as the Warriors were dismissed for 172.
Ricky-Lee Dougherty hit 34 from just 30 balls (3 fours, 3 sixes) in an entertaining cameo, as the Warriors added what could well prove to be crucial 46 runs for the last two wickets. Seven Warriors player managed double figures, but apart from Dougherty, only Andrew Riddles (24) got past twenty as the ball continued to seam around, despite glorious overhead conditions.
Nathan Waller (2-29) and coach Eugene Moleon (2-39) beat the bat consistently and probably deserved better figures. Andrew White dismissed Andy McBrine for 12, and then had Niall McDonnell caught behind first ball to complete a miserable game for the Coleraine batsman. At that stage it looked as if the game could well be decided on the second day before the Warriors fought back, and everything is set up for an exciting climax tomorrow morning.
Action at Eglinton gets under way once again at 11am.
RSA Inter-Provincial Championship at Eglinton - Day 2 Close of Play
North West Warriors 116 all out (44.2 overs, K Sajid 47, P Eaglestone 3-35, N Waller 3-38, E Moleon 2-29) and
172 all out (60.1 overs, RL Dougherty 34, A Riddles 24, P Eaglestone 4-51, A White 2-20, N Waller 2-29, E Moleon 2-39)
Northern Knights 131 all out (48.3 overs, J Terrett 29, G Thompson 26, N Waller 22, S Thompson 3-31, J Thompson 2-24, A Britton 2-40) and
97-5 (J Shannon 30no, C Dougherty 30, J Terrett 24, A McBrine 2-11)
North West Warriors lead Northern Knights by 60 runs.