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Lightning set to strike for the fifth time in a row as Knights slump

 

By Ian Callender

Leinster Lightning need just 224 runs today to win the inter-provincial championship for the fifth time in five years after another dominant day.

This time the hapless Northern Knights batsmen were on the receiving end as they were bowled out for 195 in less than 56 overs on the first day at Clontarf, with only captain James Shannon standing up to the onslaught.

Shannon was dismissed 14 short of a deserved century, but only three of his team-mates reached double figures, and the last five wickets, after the skipper was caught at deep mid-wicket, added just 18 runs.

It was young Clontarf paceman David Delany who ripped through the tail, after Tyrone Kane had made the early inroads, and he then came back to tempt Shannon into one big hit too many.

Kevin O'Brien helped himself to two wickets on a green pitch where George Dockrell did well to get even one, some consolation after being hit for two sixes in successive overs by Shannon.

Although the entire morning session was lost while the outfield dried out after heavy overnight rain, Lightning still had time to face 10 overs before the close which Ed Joyce and Jack Tector negotiated without too many alarms, although Tector played and missed more often than he would have liked.

It could have been worse for the Knights if Joyce had not dropped John Matchett at slip when the CIYMS batsman had made just six and Eddie Richardson was also the unlucky bowler when Chris Dougherty was missed at third slip by Dockrell.

Dougherty though was caught behind in the next over after facing 28 balls for a solitary single.

Matchett, however, took full advantage and hit six fours, including three in succession off O'Brien in an electrifying post-tea session when the Knights appeared to remember they had to win to deny Lightning the title.

Shannon brought up his 50 with his first six when he smashed Delany back over his head. Matchett edged to second slip and, when Shannon's innings was ended, it all folded rapidly, leaving Lightning three batting bonus points from the title.

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