Knights trio in groove ahead of Ireland duty
As a final competitive warm-up for Monday's first one-day international against Zimbabwe, it couldn't have gone much better for Gary Wilson, Mark Adair and Shane Getkate.
The Northern Knights captain and his Ireland team-mates played the key roles in their comprehensive seven-wicket victory over holders Leinster Lightning in yesterday's Inter-provincial Cup game at Pembroke.
Wilson was there at the finish, 35 not out, after Adair had smoked 27 from 17 balls in his new role as opener having taken two wickets with the new ball.
Getkate, who hopes to win his first ODI cap in the three-match series, continued his superb form with the ball, taking three wickets in the space of six deliveries to reduce Lightning to 80 for six, after they had won the toss and decided to bat.
They managed only another 34 runs, all out more than an hour before the scheduled lunch interval, and Knights chased down the target inside 22 overs to move within a point of their vanquished opponents at the top of the table.
James McCollum, the other member of the Ireland ODI squad who will be reporting for duty this weekend, was out for seven and he has opted to play for Waringstown in their Challenge Cup quarter-final tomorrow "to have another hit". But on the day, his early wicket caused barely a ripple in the Knights camp, which is oozing with confidence at the moment.
On the back of three wins in the T20 Trophy, they had Lightning reeling at 4-3 at the start of the fourth over with Adair having the woefully out-of-form Jack Tector caught at third slip and Lorcan Tucker - another Ireland squad member - caught behind from a poor shot to only his fifth ball.
In between, Graham McCarter found the edge of Gareth Delany's bat for another third slip catch and indeed Wilson thought Rock should have held an edge from Simi Singh, off Adair, but it just clipped his fingers above his head.
Fortunately for Lightning, Singh survived or it could have got very embarrassing. As it was, Andrew Balbirnie, who had been watching the early mayhem from the other end - it was 15 minutes before he faced a ball - and Singh put on 71 for the fourth wicket.
But when Getkate was introduced, the Instonians all-rounder needed only 12 balls to dismiss Singh and Kevin O'Brien.
George Dockrell followed three overs later and when Jacob Mulder came on, the leg spinner took three wickets in his first 15 balls to wrap up the innings.
In the 11 overs before lunch, although an impressive Peter Chase took two wickets and Barry McCarthy one, Knights were halfway to their target and Wilson and Harry Tector shared nine boundaries to hurry the NCU side to their first one-day win over Lightning since 2013, when they won the trophy.
Meanwhile, despite Matthew Humphreys taking eight wickets in the match, Ulster Schools lost their annual two-day game against Southern Schools by a total of 116 runs.
Scores: Southern Schools 227 (D O'Halloran 56, N McGuire 46, S Stanton 43; M Humphreys 4-57) and 180 (N McGuire 48, S Stanton 38; M Humphreys 4-54, R Malone 3-9) Ulster Schools 168 and 123 (J Hunter 37; C McDonnell 4-15). Southern Schools won by 116 runs.
J Tector c Rock b Adair 3
G Delany c Rock b McCarter 0
A Balbirnie b Mulder 41
L Tucker c Wilson b Adair 1
S Singh lbw b Getkate 44
K O'Brien c Wilson b Getkate 0
G Dockrell c C-Dow b Getkate 1
T Kane b Mulder 10
B McCarthy c Wilson b Mulder 3
J Little lbw b Cameron-Dow 4
P Chase not out 1
Extras (4b 2w) 6
Total (35.3 overs) 114
Fall: 1-3 2-3 3-4 4-75 5-75 6-80 7-104 8-107 9-112
Bowling: G McCarter 10-0-33-1, M Adair 7-1-19-2, S Getkate 6-1-19-3, J McCollum 3-0-12-0, J Cameron-Dow 7-0-22-1, J Mulder 2.3-0-5-3
J McCollum c Tucker b Chase 7
M Adair c Delany b Chase 27
M Ellison b McCarthy 8
H Tector not out 35
G Wilson not out 35
Extras (2lb 1w) 3
Total (3 wkts, 21.5 overs) 115
Did not bat: G Thompson, S Getkate, N Rock J Mulder, G McCarter, J Cameron-Dow
Fall: 1-12 2-41 3-44
Bowling: P Chase 7-0-36-2, T Kane 6-0-29-0, B McCarthy 5-0-20-1, G Dockrell 3-0-19-0, G Delany 0.5-0-9-0
Northern Knights won by 7 wickets