Warriors down Knights to secure title success as Lightning’s long run ends
North West Warriors are the three-day inter-provincial champions, clinching the title in style 45 minutes after lunch on the final day of their game against Northern Knights at Bready.
It ended Leinster Lightning's five-year reign although it wasn't coincidence that Ireland Test captain William Porterfield played every match and Boyd Rankin's appearance in the first game, when they got the better of a draw at Pembroke, undoubtedly helped.
Niall O'Brien's experience has also proved an invaluable addition, with the gloves, bat and in the dressing room and, as the Warriors have always said, when they get their best team on the field they can beat anyone on the day.
Against a vastly under-strength Knights side, it was always likely they would seal the title on their home ground this week and the trophy, unbeknown to the players, was on site and Cricket Ireland president Aideen Rice was also present to hand it over to skipper Andy McBrine as the sunshine continued to beat down.
The only thing missing was the champagne, but the squad seemed well satisfied when North West CU general manager Peter McCartney produced a box of bottled beers.
McBrine led his players off the field after just missing out on a maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket but his spell of 4-23 before lunch effectively won the game and left his side the formality of taking the final two wickets after lunch.
Unselfishly, rather than continue after the break, he brought back Craig Young at the pavilion end and, for the first time this week, Ross Allen was given a bowl at the other end.
It delayed the inevitable as they conceded 40 off their combined six overs with Carrickfergus debutant Matty McCord enjoying himself, scoring 46 from 40 balls, with six fours and a six.
McCord must have been wondering why he was not called on for a second spell in either innings, especially after an impressive new ball spell in the second, but he proved here he can bat as well and, no matter who is available for the last match against Lightning in September, he deserves another game.
But this was Warriors' day and apart from Allen only Graham Kennedy failed to take a wicket.
David Scanlon claimed his third of the innings to end Shane Getkate's 89 balls of resistance and Stuart Thompson took the last two, a reward for a much more accurate and, at times, unlucky first spell by the Irish international.
North West Warriors 1st innings 226 (N O'Brien 45, W Porterfield 41, R Allen 34; J McCollum 5-32, M Adair 3-33)
Northern Knights 1st Innings 188 (M Ellison 65, M Adair 32; D Scanlon 4-61, G Kennedy 3-36, C Young 3-47)
North West Warriors 2nd Innings 303-7 dec (W Porterfield 152, N O'Brien 65; H Tector 4-70)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2nd INNINGS
J McCollum b McBrine 48
H Tector c Barr b Young 19
S Getkate lbw b Scanlon 31
M Adair lbw b McBrine 17
A Wright b McBrine 1
N Rock b McBrine 5
J Cameron-Dow c O'Brien b Thompson 15
M McCord c Allen b Thompson 46
P Eaglestone not out 0
Extras (1b 1w 10nb) 12
Total (57.2 overs) 201
Fall: 1-2 2-7 3-46 4-95 5-121 6-125 7-135 8-139 9-201
Bowling: C Young 13-0-62-1, D Scanlon 10-3-39-3, A McBrine 16-5-35-4, G Kennedy 5-2-16-0, S Thompson 10.2-1-25-2, R Allen 3-0-23-0
North West Warriors won by 140 runs