Warriors take stride towards first Inter-pro crown
North West Warriors are in pole position to end Leinster Lightning's reign as Inter-provincial champions after completing a 10-wicket victory at Comber yesterday.
They need only 23 points from the return game against the Northern Knights at Bready this month to clinch the Championship crown for the first time and they will be big favourites if they can keep this team together.
Craig Young was the match-winner here as he claimed career-best first-class figures of 8-122 as the Knights were dismissed for 209 in their second innings, just in time to leave Warriors with the formality of scoring 14 to win in the remaining seven overs. William Porterfield and Stuart Thompson, with the help of seven extras, needed only nine balls.
For long periods, though, it looked as if Warriors had missed an opportunity by not declaring on Tuesday night, with the possibility of taking a couple of wickets against a team that had spent nearly 100 overs in the field.
Instead, they opted to bat on yesterday and David Scanlon needed only three balls to bring up his maiden first-class 50 and, just for good measure, added a six in the next over. Indeed, the No.11 was 62 not out because it was Graham Kennedy who lost his wicket in the fifth over of the day to a boundary catch trying to emulate Scanlon's big hitting.
When Knights went in to bat again, Scanlon struck twice in his first three overs to remove Mark Ellison and first-innings centurion James McCollum and after Stuart Thompson ended Harry Tector's 30 overs of defiance - at lunch he had scored three off 56 balls - Young took centre stage.
James Cameron-Dow, promoted to No.5 because of his defensive qualities, was his first victim, to a catch at first slip, and after Shane Getkate had been snared in the gully, he ended the innings of Chris Dougherty, who had batted 62 overs for his 74, in the first over after tea.
It was a huge psychological blow and, although Phil Eaglestone hit him for two successive boundaries to force Warriors to bat again, Young fittingly took the last wicket to give him his third first-class five-wicket haul.
Tector has been named captain of the Ireland Wolves squad for next week's matches against Scotland 'A' in Dundee.
The squad, which will play two 50-over games on Tuesday and Wednesday and a T20 game on Thursday, also includes Warriors skipper Andy McBrine and Young to give the youthful side some experience, but Tector has been given the opportunity to improve his leadership skills following a successful Under-19 World Cup for Ireland in January.
Ireland Wolves squad: H Tector (capt), D Delany, G Delany, S Doheny, JJ Garth, S Getkate, A Gillespie, F Hand, T Kane, A McBrine, J McCollum, L Tucker, C Young.
Northern Knights 1st Innings 250 (J McCollum 116, J Cameron-Dow 39 not out, S Getkate 38; C Young 3-62)
NW WARRIORS 1ST INNINGS
(overnight 424-9, A McBrine 77, N O'Brien 68, W Porterfield 43, D Rankin 43)
G Kennedy c Matchett b Adair 63
D Scanlon not out 62
Extras (30b 27lb 4nb) 61
Total (128.1 overs) 446
Fall: 1-15 2-22 3-122 4-122 5-167 6-245 7-294 8-309 9-323
Bowling: M Adair 15.1-3-56-2, P Eaglestone 15-0-63-1, S Getkate 4-2-12-0, H Tector 43-9-94-2, J Cameron-Dow 35-7-101-5, J Mulder 16-0-63-0
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2ND INNINGS
C Dougherty c O'Brien b Young 74
M Ellison c Porterfield b Scanlon 0
J McCollum lbw b Scanlon 4
H Tector c O'Brien b Thompson 20
J Cameron-Dow c McBrine b Young 10
S Getkate c Gillespie b Young 14
J Matchett b Thompson 0
N Rock b Kennedy 19
M Adair c Kennedy b Young 36
J Mulder c O'Brien b Young 8
P Eaglestone not out 10
Extras (1b 2lb 1w 10nb) 14
Total (87.5 overs) 209
Fall: 1-2 2-14 3-72 4-104 5-124 6-126 7-133 8-157 9-186
Bowling: C Young 21.5-7-60-5, D Scanlon 13-3-53-2, S Thompson 18-6-38-2, A McBrine 20-10-29-0, G Kennedy 11-5-23-1, R Allen 4-1-3-0
NW WARRIORS 2ND INNINGS
W Porterfield not out 4
S Thompson not out 4
Extras (4b 2lb 1w) 7
Total (0 wickets, 1.3 overs) 15
Bowling: M Adair 1-0-5-0, P Eaglestone 0.3-0-4-0
North West Warriors won by 10 wickets