Shane Getkate came to the party as North West Warriors moved within four points of leaders Munster Reds in the T20 inter-provincial table after the opening day in Bready yesterday.
The Ireland international had contributed only 21 runs in the three games at Comber last month but with 46 off 26 balls he hurried Warriors to victory over Northern Knights.
There were only five balls to spare when they completed a six-wicket victory but it was much more comfortable than that, after rain had reduced their target to 109 in 14 overs.
Getkate reached 30 for the first time in 28 innings for Ireland on his last appearance, at the T20 World Cup qualifying final in February, so still needs some consistent form to consolidate his place in the side and with India next up in just two weeks’ time, there is a huge incentive for all the players.
With that squad being selected tonight, and as the man in possession, it was perfect timing by the Instonians all-rounder who hit three fours and three sixes in a partnership of 80 for the second wicket with Stephen Doheny (35 off 34), after the retirement of Nathan McGuire, who had a dead arm after being hit by Mark Adair in the second over.
All eyes, though, were on another Warriors player who should be an automatic choice for Ireland’s first international of the summer as Craig Young returned to action after a three-month absence because of damaged ligaments in his right thumb.
He got through all four overs unscathed, with the wickets of Morgan Topping, in his first over, and Neil Rock, in his last, to skied catches more important to his confidence than the 39 runs conceded.
He will sit out this afternoon’s match against Munster Reds with the plan to return tomorrow for the finale against Leinster Lightning.
The second match of the day ended in confusion with the scores tied but the umpires ruled that with rain in the air they couldn’t get out in time to decide the match with a Super Over.
Reds, set a revised target of 138 in 16 overs, needed eight off the last against Leinster Lightning, but Ireland opening bowler Josh Little bowled Tyrone Kane with his first ball and, after conceding a single to Fionn Hand, restricted Curtis Campher to three twos,
Harry Tector’s throw from the boundary from the final ball was good enough to run out the Ireland international, who had hit 29 off 15 balls.
There was a blow for Ireland Women on the eve of their first game in the ICC Women’s Championship against South Africa at Clontarf, with Celeste Raack leaving the squad due to a family illness.
It places more responsibility on Waringstown leg spinner Cara Murray, who will take on the role of lead slow bowler.
Scores: Northern Knights 148-7 (J McCollum 49, R Pretorius 30, M Topping 20; A McBrine 2-22, C Young 2-39, R Adair 16) North West Warriors 111-4 (13.1 overs, S Getkate 46 not out, S Doheny 35; J Manley 2-35).
Warriors (set 109 in 14 overs) won by 4 wickets (DLS).
Leinster Lightning 149-8 (18 overs, G Hoey 39, H Tector 33, S Lynch 21, A Balbirnie 19, B McCarthy 12 not out; G Delany 2-18, C Campher 2-39) Munster Reds 137-5 (16 overs, PJ Moor 40, C Campher 29, M Ford 22, G Delany 20, K O’Brien 12; G Hoey 2-24).
Match tied with Reds set 128 in 16 overs.