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Brave Knights put to the sword by cool Anderson

 

By Ian Callender

Normal order was restored as Leinster Lightning hit the top of the Inter-Provincial Championship with a superbly timed chase to beat Northern Knights by five wickets at a sun-kissed Comber.

John Anderson, with his second century for Lightning, steered the champions home with 12 balls to spare after Shane Getkate's sporting declaration had set them 268 in 61 overs.

It was another first-class match worthy of the name after the high-scoring draw between Lightning and North West Warriors last month, and the Knights, the weakest of the three teams in the series, played their part to the full.

James McCollum scored his second 80 of the match, James Shannon looked a million dollars scoring 66 off 60 balls, and Neil Rock was again unbeaten with a bright and breezy 22, taking four fours off Tyrone Kane in the last over.

The bowling, though, just wasn't good enough to back up the declaration; in the first innings they had taken the last seven wickets for 83 runs but, although they got three of the top four this time for 172, Anderson would not be moved on a pitch which was still in the batsman's favour after three days.

The unsung hero in Lightning's chase was wicket-keeper Lorcan Tucker, who scored 42 from 41 balls, including two sixes off James Cameron-Dow which ultimately proved so decisive.

Knights can hardly blame the absence of Nikolai Smith, who is nursing a leg injury, because the visitors had to cope without Jarred Barnes for the last two days with a groin problem, and this time Getkate could not get the breakthrough, so all but 10 overs of the fourth innings was slow bowling.

Although the end of the match was bathed in sunshine, the start of the final day had been delayed an hour by overnight rain.

McCollum and Chris Dougherty took their second-wicket partnership into three figures before the latter holed out to mid-on.

Shannon, though, dominated the next 20 overs and the rate of his scoring forced the Knights to revise the timing of their declaration - determined not to be slated for leaving it too late.

It was the dreaded reverse sweep which led to Shannon's downfall and Harry Tector followed in similar fashion to give Simi Singh his third wicket in the space of six overs.

The first of his trio was McCollum, who was unlucky to miss out on a deserved century, driving a ball straight back at the bowler and, more by reflex than ability, it stuck in both hands.

The declaration left Lightning 70 minutes to bat before tea and it was dominated by Anderson and Jack Tector, who had 83 on the board without the hint of a chance by the interval.

James Magee was hit out of the attack after four overs and Gary Kidd, in the absence of Smith, was given the new ball at the pavilion end.

Getkate had used five bowlers by the 21st over, with Harry Tector, despite having the most impressive first-innings figures, last into the attack.

But it was not to be his day, his six overs in two spells going for 32 runs, and it was his older brother who had taken centre stage, beating Anderson to his 50, although only because he had seen more of the strike.

It was Cameron-Dow who made the breakthrough, breaching the defence of Jack Tector, but not before the Ireland hopeful had made 70 in the first-wicket stand of 129.

The CIYMS slow left armer also has Ireland ambitions, and four overs later he had the big wicket of Andrew Balbirnie leg before for just eight. Singh, caught at deep mid-on, and Terry, run out by the length of the pitch after Anderson turned down a single, followed to leave Knights feeling in control at 182 for four with 14 overs remaining.

But Tucker proved an inspired choice at No.6 and, after Anderson brought up his 100 from 143 balls (nine fours and a six), there was only one conclusion, the centurion celebrating with four more boundaries before George Dockrell hit the winning runs.

Northern Knights 1st innings 263 (J McCollum 87, S Getkate 70; P Chase 3-38, J Barnes 3-46)

Leinster Lightning 1st innings 268 (J Anderson 66, S Singh 56, A Balbirnie 48; H Tector 3-28, J Cameron-Dow 3-64

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2ND INNINGS

(overnight 83-1)

C Dougherty c sub b Chase 36

J McCollum c and b Singh 84

J Shannon lbw b Singh 66

H Tector lbw b Singh 22

S Getkate not out 13

N Rock not out 22

Extras (3b 15lb 2w 4nb) 24

Total (5 wkts dec, 62 overs) 272

Fall: 1-7 2-108 3-197 4-220 5-241

Bowling: T Kane 15-3-71-0, P Chase 9-2-26-2, G Dockrell 15-1-71-0, S Singh 12-1-39-3, A Balbirnie 4-0-8-0, D Delany 7-1-39-0

LEINSTER LIGHTNING 2ND INNINGS

J Tector b Cameron-Dow 70

J Anderson not out 123

A Balbirnie lbw b Cameron-Dow 8

S Singh c Ellison b Kidd 5

S Terry run out 6

L Tucker c McCollum 42

G Dockrell not out 4

Extras (1b 6lb 3w) 10

Total (5 wkts, 59 overs) 268

Fall: 1-129 2-161 3-172 4-182 5-254

Bowling: J Magee 4-0-31-0, G Kidd 21-2-100-2, J Cameron-Dow 22-2-72-2, S Getkate 6-0-20-0, H Tector 6-0-38-0

Leinster Lightning (23 pts) beat Northern Knights (7 pts) by 5 wickets.

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