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Battling Knights are boosted by a stubborn batting display

By Ian Callender

This was a day of what many would call "real cricket" as Northern Knights showed true grit and dug in to bat for 79 overs, scoring 193 runs and losing only two wickets in their inter-provincial championship game at Clontarf.

Put into bat by Leinster Lightning after rain had wiped out the first session, the NCU side recovered from the loss of James McCollum in the fifth over with a partnership of 132 between the Instonians pair of Nikolai Smith and Knights skipper James Shannon.

It wasn't pretty for long periods with Shannon having already faced 224 balls, only six of which reached the boundary, although he did hit the day's only six.

Smith was much more attacking although even his strike rate was less than 50.

The Instonians skipper hit 12 boundaries in his 77, after taking over the opener's slot from Chris Dougherty who was forced to pull out because of a groin injury.

Muckamore's Jamie Magowan was brought in as wicket-keeper.

The third Instonians player in the squad, Stephen Bunting, was named as 12th man to allow Knights to play Jacob Mulder as the second spin bowler.

Holders Lightning also had to make a late change when Max Sorensen reported to the ground with a sickness bug, reducing their international representation to six.

Peter Chase followed Eddie Richardson into the wicket-taking column thanks to a splendid catch by Simmi Singh in the gully but he sent down four lots of four byes which gave debutant keeper Jamie Grassi no chance.

Resuming with Shannon this morning is Waringstown skipper Lee Nelson who has scored 17 from 68 balls, a pretty fair reflection of a solid, unspectacular day's work for the Knights which they will hope to improve upon today.

Northern Knights 193-2 (79 overs, N Smith 77, J Shannon 62 not out) v Leinster Lightning. Today 11.00-6.30pm

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