Red-hot Joyce turns on the style to leave Warriors facing uphill battle
North West Warriors will have to bat until well into the final session today if they are to avoid a likely defeat in the Inter-provincial Championship game at Oakhill, as Leinster Lightning continue to hold all the aces.
With a first-innings lead of 130, Peter Chase, Eddie Richardson and George Dockrell have already taken a wicket apiece to reduce the Warriors to 44 for three at the close. The one positive for the visitors is that Niall O'Brien and Steve Lazars will resume in the morning, and Stuart Thompson, Andy McBrine and Jonny Thompson have still to come, but on a third-day pitch it looks a huge ask to save the game.
Put bluntly, they have no-one of the class of Ed Joyce. who has been the difference between the teams so far, his innings accounting for all and more of Lightning's advantage.
Resuming on 49 not out, he hit the first ball of the day to the boundary and was 95 not out at lunch. Three balls after the interval he reached his first century for Lightning and celebrated by hitting four of his next 10 balls to the boundary.
And he didn't stop there. Joyce brought up his 150 with his third six, to go with 23 other boundaries, before finally, on 156, holing out to extra cover.
Young still finished with three wickets, as did opening partner David Scanlon and captain McBrine, who claimed the big scalp. Indeed, Joyce's team-mates contributed only 190 and, after his dismissal, although Lorcan Tucker and George Dockrell added 61 for the fifth wicket, the next five wickets fell for 35 runs.
It could have been worse for the Warriors because Andy Balbirnie did not bat due to a minor injury, but it didn't seem to matter as Irosh Samaraoriya was caught on the square leg boundary, Andrew Austin, on his first-class debut, completed a four-ball pair and Ross Allen was caught at slip to leave the Warriors on 28 for three.
However, extras are still the innings' top score after 17 overs and the variety and talent in the Lightning bowling line-up have led most to expect them to complete victory on a day certain to be overshadowed by the announcement from The Oval - with first-class cricket and hopefully Test matches about to become the norm.
Balbirnie, meanwhile, was last night named as captain for all three of Ireland Wolves' three-day games next month. In the absence of any senior cricket until August, the teams include no fewer than 10 members of the current squad, with even Ed Joyce playing in the one home game against Scotland A in Dublin.
IRELAND WOLVES v Gloucestershire II (at Rockhampton CC, July 4-6): A Balbirnie (capt), P Chase, D Delany, J Mulder, J McCollum, J Shannon, S Singh, Nat Smith, J Tector, S Terry, L Tucker, C Young.
v Scotland A at Claremont Road, July 11-13): Balbirnie (capt), J Anderson, Chase, Delany, E Joyce, Mulder, Shannon, Singh, Smith, Tector, Tucker, Young.
v MCC YC at Southgate CC, July 26-28): Balbirnie (capt), Anderson, Chase, Dockrell, A McBrine, K O'Brien, N O'Brien, Shannon, Smith, Terry, S Thompson, Young.
SCORES: At Middle Road, MCC 1st innings 282-8 dec (D Delany 71, A Cowden 68 not out, C Kelly 45, C McMorran 36; M McCord 3-42, C Moorhead 2-48) Emerging Knights 1st innings 128-5 (M Topping 60, J Matchett 25, A Berry 21). Today 11am-6pm.
North West Warriors 1st innings 235 (A McBrine 67, D Rankin 47, S Thompson 31; S Singh 3-59)
LEINSTER LIGHTNING 1ST INNINGS
E Joyce c Lazars b McBrine 156
J Tector c O'Brien b Young 27
J Anderson c O'Brien b McBrine 29
S Singh c Scanlon b McBrine 27
L Tucker b Scanon 56
G Dockrell b Scanlon 27
E Richardson c McBrine b Scanlon 3
G Delany b Young 11
P Chase not out 9
M Neville lbw b Young 1
Extras (5b 5lb 1w 8nb) 19
Total (9 wkts dec, 101.3 overs) 365
Did not bat: A Balbirnie
Fall: 1-91 2-149 3-215 4-269 5-330 6-342 7-347 8-355 9-365
Bowling: C Young 24.3-5-70-3, D Scanlon 19-3-79-3, A McBrine 21-3-91-3, S Thompson 11-2-38-0, R Allen 8-1-24-0, J Thompson 11-2-31-0, S Lazars 7-1-22-0
NORTH WEST WARRIORS 2ND INNS
I Samarasooriya c Delany b Chase 5
R Allen c Joyce b Dockrell 6
A Austin lbw b Richardson 0
N O'Brien not out 16
S Lazars not out 0
Extras (8b 2lb 5w 2nb) 17
Total (3 wkts, 17 overs) 44
Fall: 1-21 2-22 3-28
To bat: D Rankin, S Thompson, A McBrine, J Thompson, C Young, D Scanlon. Today: 11am-6.30pm