After a delayed start to allow for the pitch to dry, the Northern Knights beat the North-West Warriors by 103 runs in the opening Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Cup match of the summer.
After a wet build up to the match, the sun shone through at Stormont on Monday morning, meaning that despite a short delay, no overs were lost. Warriors skipper Andy McBrine, who passed a late fitness test before taking his place in the side, won the toss and quickly opted to bowl first, hoping to take advantage of the damp conditions.
Nigel Jones and Chris Dougherty had other ideas though, putting on a 50 partnership before Jones, who had been dropped once and bowled from a no-ball in the opening five overs, was eventually caught by William McClintock from the bowling of Andy McBrine for 32. Dougherty followed a few overs later, also for 32 bringing James Shannon to the crease to partner Russie van der Dussen. It was not long before Lee Nelson was called upon, with van der Dussen bowled by McCarter.
Shannon impressed and was batting well before he was caught at deep square leg trying to pull a short one from Stuart Thompson. Departing for 46, it was clear that Shannon was disappointed not to have taken the opportunity to make more. When Shannon fell the score was 159 and the Knights still looked to be in a strong position with wickets in hand, but that soon changed as Shannon’s wicket triggered a spell of five wickets falling for just 23 runs between the 35th and 45th overs.
In the last 15 overs the Warriors restricted the Knights to just under 50 runs, the home side finishing on 208 all out when Phil Eaglstone was run out in the final over.
North-West Warriors never really seemed to get going in reply, with Stuart Thompson the only batter to pass 20 runs (in fact Extras was top score with 24) as wickets fell regularly throughout the innings. Phil Eaglestone struck early to remove David Rankin (6) LBW and although both Craig Averill (19) and David Barr (11) faced more than 50 balls each, neither made it to 20 runs before they were accounted for by Peter Eakin and Eaglestone respectively.
Thompson (21) showed some brief resistance, but ducks from McBrine, Ricky-Lee Dougherty, McCarter and Rishi Chopra meant the Warriors were never in contention. Eaglestone finished with 3-20, but was overshadowed by Gary Kidd, with finished with figures of 4-26.
The Warriors just made it passed 100 before the last wicket fell in the 35th over to end the match and secure a 103-run win for the Knights in the first Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Cup match of the season.
Monday 4th May (Stormont)
Northern Knights 208 (49.1 overs, C Dougherty 32, N Jones 32, J Shannon 46, C Young 2-34, G McCarter 2-35, A McBrine 2-24)
North-West Warriors 105 (34.3 overs, Extras 24, P Eaglestone 3-20, G Kidd 4-26, J Cameron-Dow 2-17)
Northern Knights beat North-West Warriors by 103 runs