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O'Brien puts down an impressive marker ahead of England clashes

 

By Ian Callender

Kevin O'Brien proved his fitness for this weekend's one-day internationals against England with a man of the match performance in the opening inter-provincial of the season against North West Warriors at The Hills.

In his first innings of the season - following his hamstring injury on Ireland's tour against Afghanistan - O'Brien hit 75 from 49 balls with seven fours and four sixes in the holders' total of 286.

He then took two wickets in the first three overs - including his brother Niall on his Warriors debut - to reduce the visitors to 90 for six, and there was no way back from that.

Eight of the Ireland squad on duty at Bristol this Friday and at Lord's on Sunday were in action yesterday, and Craig Young with four wickets and Peter Chase with an even more impressive 2-40 gave watching coach John Bracewell plenty to think about before choosing the opening bowling partner for Tim Murtagh.

George Dockrell also took two wickets in his first three overs and he finished the match in his last to wrap up an emphatic 105 runs victory.

Only Bready professional Irosh Samarasooriya held up the rampant attack, his 77 coming off 95 balls with 13 fours, but they needed more from their other internationals Stuart Thompson (5), Niall O'Brien (16) and skipper Andy McBrine who was leg before first ball to O'Brien.

Fortunately for Warriors, Ed Joyce, on his Lightning debut, lasted only 34 balls, the first victim for the classy Johnny Thompson.

The Hills: Leinster Lightning 286 (49.2 overs, K O'Brien 75, S Singh 70 not out, J Anderson 40, A Balbirnie 40, E Joyce 23; C Young 4-50, S Lazars 2-44, J Thompson 2-46) North West Warriors 181 (44.2 overs, I Samarasooriya 77, R-L Dougherty 24; G Dockrell 3-37, K O'Brien 2-24, P Chase 2-40). Lightning won by 105 runs.

Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup: At The Lawn, Waringstown beat North Down by seven wickets. North Down 146-6 (R Pretorius 65, N Burns 37, S Khan 3-21). Waringstown 149-3, 17.2 overs (J Hall 50, A Dennison 33, G Thompson 23 no).

At Shaw's Bridge, Instonians beat CSNI by three wickets: CSNI 148-3 (M Amjad 74, G McCarter 35). Instonians 149-7, 20 overs (Nikolai Smith 45, O Metcalfe 27, S Bunting 26, M Foster 2-30).

At Middle Road, CIYMS beat Carrickfergus by nine wickets: Carrickfergus 154-6 (R Eagleson 30 no, M Gilmour 28, I Parkhill 31, J Holmes 20, N Jones 2-32). CIYMS 156-1, 18.2 overs (C Dougherty 83, N Jones 38, M McGillivray 22 no).

At Wallace Park, Muckamore beat Lisburn by 4 wickets: Lisburn 155 (A Berry 50, R Rankin 42 not out, R Simpson 20, R Haire 2-28, N Gill 2-35) Muckamore 158-6 (19.3 overs, K Rapulana 55, R Haire 46, M Berry 2-27, G Browne 2-28)

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