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Mac shines but Warriors in command

 

By Ian Callender

James McCollum was the headline act on the first day of the inter-provincial championship game at The Green but the North West Warriors were the happier side at the close.

The Waringstown batsman scored his second first-class century to help get Northern Knights up to a third batting bonus point but it still looks an under-par total after winning the toss on a good pitch.

Warriors have already reduced the deficit to 177 for the loss of just two wickets and, ominously for the NCU side, William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien are the not out batsmen, with the Ireland Test captain's last innings in the competition of 207 - against a much stronger Leinster Lightning bowling attack - still fresh in the memory.

But McCollum certainly enjoys batting at Comber. Last month, also against Lightning, he was disappointed to get out twice in the 80s, but this time he made no mistake, taking full advantage of a friendly full toss from Ross Allen to bring up his century.

It took him 205 balls but, after coming to the middle in the fourth over and seeing three partners dismissed by the 10th over, when the scoreboard read 13-4, it was a rescue mission which he had to undertake.

The recovery started in a fifth wicket stand of 73 with Shane Getkate, and he received even greater support from James Cameron-Dow, with whom he put on 79 crucial runs for the ninth wicket. And it was the CIYMS bowler who hit Craig Young for three fours in the first over with the second new ball to take Knights to 250.

It was Young who caused the early mayhem with a superb opening spell. He conceded only a single off the bat and a harshly judged wide in his first six overs while also having Chris Dougherty caught at second slip and, two balls later, Harry Tector edged to third slip.

Young's Bready team-mate Davy Scanlon had made the initial breakthrough, and Stuart Thompson dismissed John Matchett with his second ball, the CI batsman getting a starting berth because James Shannon was declared unfit due to the quad injury he sustained in the 50-over game on Sunday.

Mark Adair and Phil Eaglestone, on his recall to the Knights' bowling attack, have claimed the first two wickets, but the big guns are at the wicket and with Stuart Thompson, Andy McBrine and David Rankin still to come, Warriors will be confident of gaining a significant first innings lead under cloudless skies.

Scores: Northern Knights 250 (J McCollum 116, J Cameron-Dow 39, S Getkate 38, J Mulder 22; C Young 3-62, S Thompson 2-19, G Kennedy 2-31, D Scanlon 2-65) North West Warriors 73-2 (W Porterfield 31 not out). Today 11am-6.30pm

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