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Knights Rearguard Denies Warriors

Cricket Ireland

The second of this season's Hanley Energy IP Championship matches ended in another draw on Tuesday as the Northern Knights dug deep to keep out the North West Warriors after three days of quality cricket at Downpatrick. And just as in their first game in Dublin earlier this month Andy McBrine's side had to be content with a share of the spoils despite a sizeable first innings lead.

Resuming on an overnight 212-4 the visitors batted for 40 minutes on the final day- some aggressive stroke play from Kyllin Vardhan (137*- 20 fours) Jan Frylinck (70- 5 fours, 2 sixes) and a 7- ball cameo of 20 from Graeme McCarter, adding 74 in 8 overs before declaring on 286-5.

That left the Knights needing an unlikely 395 in 94 overs to win although realistically little option but to play for a draw. The Warriors' bowling attack, so potent throughout the first innings, rarely looked like taking all 10 wickets on Day 3- that despite Craig Young providing them with the perfect start. The Ireland pace-man removed Chris Dougherty with just the second delivery of the innings, however the home side battened down the hatches after that.

And while the visitors' first day advantage came courtesy of Stuart Thompson, Scott Campbell and that excellent effort from the seamers, the respective professionals were more to the fore later in the game. After Vardhan and Frylinck had cemented the lead, Rassie van der Dussen played his part in the final throes, ensuring the Knights' safety. The South African posted a second wicket stand worth 132 with James Shannon (66) and from that point on, the game looked to have fizzled out.

To be fair, the Warriors' bowlers kept plugging away and when Craig Young removed Shannon and then ended van der Dussen's 160-ball marathon for 61 they may have had a sniff of victory. Skipper McBrine also bowled a superb spell that saw him claim the wickets of Lee Nelson (20) and Adam Dennison (8) and that at least sparked some life into the last couple of hours.

It was to matter little however as Andrew White (59 not out) and Greg Thompson (25 not out) kept the Warriors' attack at arm's length from then on- their unbroken 61-run stand taking all the time out of the match without further alarm. Little doubt the pitch seemed a lot less helpful to the bowlers in the second half of the match, Young's 3-57 from 17 and McBrine's 2-52 from an industrious 29 very much testament to their perseverance and quality.

As it was though it was solid resistance from the home side that earned them a share of the spoils albeit the Warriors won't be overly despondent having remained top of the table for now.

The sides meet again on Friday at Eglinton in the T20 Trophy (5pm).

HANLEY ENERGY IP CHAMPIONSHIP - Day 3, close of play
North West Warriors
272 (S Thompson 113, S Campbell 76, P Eaglestone 4-64 N Gill 3-37) and 
286-5 dec (K Vardhan 137no, J Frylinck 70, S Thompson 32, G McCarter 20no, N Gill 3-60)

Northern Knights
164 (S Getkate 78, A McBrine 3-31, G McCarter 3-34, C Young 3-44) and
257-5 (J Shannon 66, R van der Dussen 61, A White 59no, G Thompson 25no, L Nelson 20, C Young 3-57, A McBrine 2-52)

Match drawn, North West Warriors 10 pts, Northern Knights 8