The Northern Knights require a further 69 runs with 8 wickets left to beat the NW Warriors after another bowler dominated day at Stormont in the Newstalk Inter-Provincial Championship game. Resuming overnight on 143-5 in pursuit of the Warriors first innings total of 190, the Knights were dismissed for 187 as Tabish Khan blew away the middle order and tail with a fine exhibition of seam and swing bowling.
Khan struck twice in his first over of the day, sending the middle stump of Knights skipper Andrew White (35) cartwheeling spectacularly across the Stormont turf, and then had Shane Getkate caught behind first ball. Four overs later it was David Simpson’s stumps spread-eagled, and James Cameron-Dow went after fending a rising delivery to David Barr at short-leg. Nathan Waller (38) struck a few lusty blows to almost achieve parity, before giving Khan his sixth wicket of the innings when he holed out to Barr at deep midwicket.
Their final total of 187 gave the Warriors what seemed an unlikely first innings lead of three, but they were dealt a blow when it emerged that skipper Andy McBrine wouldn’t be able to bat with a shoulder injury. There was some good news though as special regulations in force for the three-day games meant the Warriors could play substitute William McClintock in his place, rather than batting with just ten.
The Warriors had a tricky 40 minute period just before lunch to survive, but David Barr (0) and Scott Campbell (4) lasted just 15 balls, both falling to Allen Coulter (2-17). The Civil Service North paceman however left the field shortly after, suffering from shin splints, and didn’t bowl in the remainder of the day. Niall McDonnell (37) and Ernest Kemm (24) led the recovery, as they shared a third wicket stand of 68 to lay the foundations for a sizeable NW total before the wheels came off their innings in spectacular fashion.
Left-arm spinner James Cameron-Dow (2-32) removed both in quick succession, before Shane Getake (2-25), then dismissed Johnny Thompson and Andrew Riddles in the space of three balls. A promising 76 for 2 had suddenly become 79 for 6, and the Warriors innings was in tatters. Ricky-Lee Dougherty (41) and Gary McClintock (23) battled bravely adding 54 for the 7th wicket, but once Nathan Waller achieved the break-through, the tail folded quickly, ending on 150 all out.
Waller’s impressive spell saw him achieve the excellent analysis of 4 for 24, making full use of his height to garner extra bounce from the Stormont track. Chasing 154 for victory, the Knights reply got off the worst possible start after Chris Dougherty was stumped for 0 by Ricky-Lee Dougherty after straying out of his crease.
Nick Larkin and Craig Ervine soon nullified the pace threat of both Young and Khan, as the bright evening sunshine seemed to negate the prodigious movement of the morning session. Larkin (37) was trapped lbw by Kemm late in the day, but Ervine (34no) and Andrew White (6no) saw the Knights safely to the close on 85 for 2, and they will be the strongest of favourites to complete the win on Thursday morning.
NEWSTALK INTER-PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP (Stormont) – DAY TWO CLOSE
NW WARRIORS 190 (67.2 overs, S Campbell 51, J Thompson 40, A Riddles 27, G McClintock 20, S Getkate 4-25, A White 2-27) and
150 (RL Dougherty 41, N McDonnell 37, E Kemm 24, G McClintock 23, N Waller 4-24, A Coulter 2-17, S Getkate 2-25, J Cameron-Dow 2-32)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 187 (N Larkin 40, N Waller 38, A White 35, C Ervine 21, Tabish Khan 6-55, J Thompson 2-37) and
85-2 (N Larkin 37, C Ervine 34no)
Northern Knights need 69 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand when play resumes at 11am on Thursday.