Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Lightning are struck twice by Knights' armoury

The Northern Knights maintained their 100% home record against Leinster Lightning despite an untidy day in the field and kept alive their outside hopes of winning the RSA inter-provincial Cup.

Admittedly they are relying on the North West Warriors beating Lightning – which on this season's evidence looks very unlikely – but for six weeks they are top of the table and have now proven twice that the seemingly invincible Lightning team are beatable.

Indeed John Mooney, standing in as captain for Kevin O'Brien in Saturday's game at The Lawn admitted if it wasn't for his Ireland colleague's innings at The Hills in the opening game, the Knights would have won that as well and "we would have been in trouble in this competition".

"Hundreds win games," said Mooney, "30s and 40s are not good enough.

"We scored only 40 in the last eight overs which is not good enough, we were up to 40 runs short.

"I thought our bowlers did well, but our batters left them with too much to do.

"The NCU played really well, they batted superbly and credit has to go to them."

Lee Nelson top scored for the Knights with 62 from 64 balls but Nick Larkin's 61 and Greg Thompson's 38 not out were all useful contributions and trumped Eddie Richardson's 74 which was more than twice as many as the Lightning's next best individual score and, as Mooney said, that was their problem.

It could have been different if Richardson, described by his representative and North County captain as "in the form of his life" had not been run out with 11 overs to go, but he was the victim of a rare piece of brilliant fielding by the Knights on a day when they gave up around 20 runs in the field, and that's not counting the three dropped catches, including Richardson on 41.

The Knights' determination to succeed was the difference with Nigel Jones, the best bowler and Peter Eakin following up his three wickets with 28 not out from 15 balls to hurry the home side to victory with 11 balls to spare.

The inter-pro season continues tomorrow when the Warriors host Lightning in the three-day game at Bready. A maximum points victory for the Leinster side will clinch the championship with one game still to play.

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