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McCollum stars but Knights face battle


By Ian Callender at Stormont

James McCollum scored his maiden first-class hundred but Leinster Lightning enjoyed the better of the first day of their Inter-provincial Championship game against the Northern Knights at Stormont.

McCollum's superb 119 not out kept out the formidable Lightning attack for more than five hours after his Waringstown team-mate Adam Dennison was dismissed in the fourth over of the day. But there was nothing McCollum could do to stop wickets falling at the other end and he ran out of partners with only 233 on the scoreboard.

It didn't help that James Shannon suffered a back spasm after sharing a third-wicket stand of 60 and, when he returned at the fall of the sixth wicket, he could only add another four runs.

But Robert McKinley carried on where he left off at Eglinton last week and added another 77 runs with McCollum, but the total still looks woefully inadequate and, indeed, Lightning's openers Ed Joyce and Jack Tector had already reduced the deficit by 22 before rain ended play for the day, half an hour early.

McCollum's chanceless knock included 15 fours, and he was particularly impressive against Peter Chase and Eddie Richardson, who shared seven wickets.

John Matchett made an encouraging first appearance for the Knights, the CIYMS batsman facing 43 balls for his 15, but he was overshadowed on his first-class debut by Gareth Delaney, the Leinster all-rounder, who proved yet again that the majority of batsmen here cannot play leg spin. He took three wickets in the space of seven overs while conceding just nine runs.

Meanwhile, there will be a repeat of last year's Bank of Ireland Senior Cup final at the quarter-final stage after Donemana were paired with Coleraine in yesterday's draw.

Draw: Ardmore v Fox Lodge, Ballyspallen v Strabane, Newbuildings v Bready, Donemana v Coleraine. Ties on June 17.

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