A much improved batting display by both sides could yet ensure an exciting finish to the Newstalk Inter-provincial Championship series with the Northern Knights needing another 107 runs on the final day at Eglinton to beat the North West Warriors, with five wickets remaining.
The dismissal of Nicolai Smith, brought into the team for the injured James Shannon, four minutes before the close last night probably swung the contest back towards the Warriors, leaving the Knights with three debutants and three lower-order batsmen to win the game today.
The pitch has become a spinners' paradise and Ernest Kemm and captain Andy McBrine have already bowled 35 of the 59 overs in the final innings and, along with debutant slow left armer Ross Allen, have taken all five wickets so far.
Despite the Warriors totalling 250 in their second innings – an improvement of 113 on their first innings effort – the star of yesterday's action was North Down's James Cameron-Dow, who finished with seven for 107 from a marathon 34 overs, just one wicket short of his career best.
He still had to work for his wickets as Stuart Thompson, Johnny Thompson and Ricky-Lee Dougherty all made half-centuries, with international Stuart showing his class in a 69-ball innings which included five fours and two sixes.
It was also encouraging to see him bowling again and although he did not take a wicket in his three overs yesterday, his first day spell of six overs, two for 13, was just what national coach Phil Simmons would have ordered.
Shannon will have an X-ray today but, as he left on crutches, it's likely that Instonians will have to do without him for the league triple header this weekend.
Scores: North West Warriors 137 (46 overs, G McClintock 57; A White 3-31, J Cameron-Dow 3-49) and 250 (75.1 overs, J Thompson 53, S Thompson 50, RL Dougherty 50, A McBrine 32; J Cameron-Dow 7-107) Northern Knights 119 (50.5 overs, C Dougherty 37) and 152-5 (59 overs, N Smith 46, J Terrett 36, N Larkin 28, J McCollum 18 not out; A McBrine 2-22, E Kemm 2-39). Today 11am-6.30pm.
England descended to a miserable 133-run defeat against India in Cardiff to concede a 1-0 Royal London Series lead.
Alastair Cook's team paid for a patchy display as Suresh Raina hit a century in India's 304 for six.
Then England mustered only 161 all out in 38.1 overs, after a rain break between innings left a revised target of 295 in 47.