Knights hang on but face an uphill task to overturn Lightning
Northern Knights have done enough in the first two days of their Interprovincial Championship game at Sydney Parade to avoid defeat but it will take a herculean bowling effort if they are to force victory against Leinster Lightning.
A maiden first-class century by Harry Tector put the NCU side in a commanding position after the first innings, but a run-rate of three runs an over, having already lost three hours' play, should ensure Lightning get out of the game with a draw.
Leinster start the final day still trailing by 173 but with seven first innings wickets left and Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin on course to match Tector's 'daddy hundred', he is 82 not out.
Mark Adair, after his efforts in the Lord's Test last week, is not allowed to bowl for Knights this week, but David Delany stepped up to the mark yesterday with the fastest bowling of the match.
The 21-year-old from Clontarf was considered surplus to requirements for Lightning this season and was snapped up by Knights.
Injury and exams delayed his debut until this week, but he steamed in from the Sandymount end and was a constant threat.
McLaughlin-Gavin had to take a time out after being hit on the ribs and Delany arguably saved his fastest of the day for the last, just missing the helmet of The Hills opener.
Delany has also taken two of the three wickets to fall, coming from successive balls with virtually identical deliveries. Jack Tector was the first to go, edging an away swinger to Gary Wilson, and Stephen Doheny then played the same shot with the same result.
The pace man couldn't produce the same delivery with the hat-trick ball, it was too full and straight and Lorcan Tucker clipped it off his legs for a couple of runs.
Tucker was the other batsman who failed to survive the 40 overs after tea, losing his off stump to a pitch perfect delivery from Matthew Foster. But Simi Singh, after spending three days on the Lord's balcony watching his fellow Ireland squad members playing England in the Test match, finally got a chance to get back out in the middle and has looked good.
Singh resumes on 26 not out, having already hit four boundaries from just 24 balls, but Knights skipper Gary Wilson wanted him to face six more from Delany in his pomp, bowling the last over.
However, the day ended in confusion because although the umpires had indicated to Wilson that there was another over to be bowled, the scorers alerted them that, in fact, the 104 required in the day - 64 had been bowled in the Knights innings from the start of the day - had already been completed.
So it was an angry captain who reluctantly led his team off after the umpires returned to the field, following a discussion with the scorers, to take out the stumps to signal and end to the day.
The first two sessions of a mostly sunny day were dominated by Harry Tector, although he should have been back in the pavilion before he had added to his overnight 29, but Tucker spilled the chance down the leg side.
Tector also gave a difficult chance to Singh at slip on 42 but took full advantage to ease past his previous best first-class score of 52, bring up his 100 from 152 balls - with 11 fours and three sixes - and, after adding four more boundaries, finish with 146, a total only Adam Dennison and Nick Larkin have bettered for the Knights.
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1ST INNINGS
(overnight 136-4, M Ellison 36)
H Tector c O'Brien b Singh 146
S Getkate lbw b Dockrell 56
M Adair c Tector b O'Brien 1
J Cameron-Dow c Singh b Dockrell 7
D Delany c Dockrell b Singh 17
J Manley not out 1
M Foster c Tucker b Singh 6
Extras (4b 8lb 1w 8nb) 21
Total (106.5 overs) 332
Fall: 1-27 2-48 3-81 4-86 5-210 6-231 7-254 8-319 9-325
Bowling: T Kane 18-2-40-1, P Chase 14-1-86-1, J Little 15-4-49-1, B McCarthy 22-7-53-1, G Dockrell 17-3-48-2, S Singh 10.5-1-24-3, K O'Brien 10-0-20-1
LEINSTER LIGHTNING 1ST INNINGS
J Tector c Wilson b Delany 34
C McLoughlin-Gavin not out 82
S Doheny c Wilson b Delany 0
L Tucker b Foster 13
S Singh not out 26
Extras (1lb 2nb 1w) 4
Total (3 wickets, 40 overs) 159
To bat: K O'Brien, G Dockrell, B McCarthy, T Kane, J Little, P Chase
Fall: 1-58 2-58 3-113
Bowling: J Manley 5-0-18-0, S Getkate 3-0-24-0, J Cameron-Dow 14-2-40-0, D Delany 7-1-21-2, H Tector 6-0-24-0, M Foster 5-0-31-1