Porterfield has a blast as Warriors fight for title glory
North West Warriors need just eight wickets today to claim the coveted Inter-Provincial Championship for the first time after bouncing back to top form at Bready yesterday.
Class rose to the surface as Ireland Test captain William Porterfield topped 150 for the second successive three-day game and Niall O'Brien passed 9,000 first-class runs to put their side in a winning position.
Their third wicket stand of 118 took just 24 overs and, after the Warriors had taken the last eight Northern Knights wickets for 92 in the morning session, it allowed Andy McBrine to declare with a lead of 341 and give his bowlers nine overs last night to make a breakthrough.
David Scanlon needed only nine balls to remove both openers and, although a last day target of 314 from 104 overs could be considered generous, McBrine will back himself and his team to get the eight wickets first.
The way the captain was turning the ball in his only over augurs well and, indeed, it would have been three down but for Stuart Thompson dropping Harry Tector in that last over.
The pre-lunch session could not have gone any better for Warriors and they took that momentum into the rest of the day.
Scanlon, the workhorse of this Warriors side, deservedly finished with four wickets as the Knights subsided following the dismissal of Mark Ellison for 65, having added just three to his overnight total.
Mark Adair - who walked for his lbw decision - was the only batsman to reach 20 as Craig Young and Graham Kennedy claimed three wickets each.
But the afternoon belonged to Porterfield. He made his career best 207 in the second innings against Lightning here last month and looked just as invincible with metronomic 50s recorded from virtually the same number of balls, with his 15 fours and five sixes also equally divided.
Even his dismissal, after 174 balls, was the same as his first innings, hit straight to extra cover, but by then Warriors were in declaration mode.
Unfortunately for Knights, most of their bowling yesterday was of the declaration type, with the slow bowlers, despite taking five of the wickets, bowling much too short. Against two batsmen with 15,000 career runs between them, it was a harsh lesson.