Knights are sweating on McCollum fitness
Northern Knights were last night hoping that James McCollum will be fit for the Inter-Provincial Championship game against Leinster Lightning, starting at Comber today (11am).
The Waringstown batsman was forced to pull out of yesterday's 50-Over Cup game against North West Warriors with a groin strain, but the Knights were giving him every chance to recover to play in their first three-day game of the season.
The NCU side are still awaiting their first win and, based on yesterday's evidence, they will start huge underdogs against the powerful Lightning side which, even without the unavailable Kevin O'Brien, can still field eight internationals.
The Warriors had only six yesterday - to the Knights' four - but the gap was enormous as the North West side romped home in the sunshine by eight wickets with 21 balls to spare.
It could have been even more but, chasing the home side's underwhelming 226 - it was a pitch where 300 was a par score - there was no hurry, especially after William Porterfield and David Rankin had put on 158, a record for the first wicket in the Inter-Pro Cup.
The Ireland captain batted throughout, and flawlessly, to finish 110 not out, while Rankin finally showed the form which earned him two Ireland T20 caps three years ago, scoring 84 from 86 balls, with 12 fours and a six.
Rankin was dismissed in the 28th over, caught off the leading edge at backward point, and after that it was a formality. The remaining 69 runs took 18 overs as Porterfield cautiously reached his century from 132 balls - he hit only four boundaries in his second 50 from 74 balls - but the powerhouse of the Warriors batting was not even required.
Niall O'Brien was 10 not out and Stuart Thompson and skipper Andy McBrine could sit back and watch in the sun.
The one bright spark for Knights was a Dubliner, Ireland Under-19 captain Harry Tector scoring 84 from 111 balls, the only batsman who seemed to remember this was a 50-over game.
Knights were 71 off 10 overs, continuing in the reckless T20 mode which cost them defeat last Friday, which would have been perfectly acceptable had they lost, say, only one wicket.
But they lost three, including James Shannon for 41 off 45, and again failed to use up their overs.
Today's teams: Northern Knights: S Getkate (capt), C Dougherty, J Cameron-Dow, M Ellison, G Kidd, J McCollum, J Magee, J Mulder, N Rock, J Shannon, Nik Smith, H Tector
Leinster Lightning: G Dockrell (capt), J Anderson, A Balbirnie, J Barnes, P Chase, D Delany, S Doheny, T Kane, S Singh, J Tector, S Terry, L Tucker