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Williams hits ton but Warriors face uphill battle

By Ian Callender

A century from Orain Williams ensured North West Warriors achieved their first objective of maximum batting points but Leinster Lightning are well placed to make it a hat-trick of inter-provincial trophies some time this afternoon.

After the first of the three scheduled days at Malahide was washed out, Leinster finished the second on 61 for two, still needing another 142 to avoid the follow-in in the final championship game of the season.

But on a pitch which is not taking appreciable turn, it will take a monumental bowling effort by Warriors, against the strongest batting line-up in the country, to take 18 wickets in a day, their only route to winning the match and the title.

Williams, the in-form West Indian professional, certainly played his part, especially in the afternoon session when he scored 111 from just 116 balls as Warriors recovered from 67 for four - after losing three wickets for two runs - to reach 243 for six at tea.

Partnering Williams for 23 overs was Ballyspallen's first Warrior, Graham Kennedy, who celebrated his 17th birthday with 28 runs on his debut in a stand of 90 for the sixth wicket. Earlier, Andrew Austin had taken advantage of a dropped catch by George Dockrell at first slip to score 27 off 50 balls and give the innings some momentum while Ross Allen played out 62 'dot balls' in his innings of 12.

Skipper Andy McBrine was out pulling, for a single, the first of three victims for Kevin O'Brien who was the most likely wicket-taker throughout the day.

A week before he could be making a return to the Ireland side, for their Intercontinental Cup game against Hong Kong, Dockrell looked anything but an international bowler as he conceded 28 in his first three overs but came back well with the older ball and had Kennedy lbw and Coleraine professional Suraj Randiv caught at point off the leading edge.

The most encouragement for Ireland came in the final hour with John Anderson reaching 40 from just 45 balls with seven, mostly cover-driven, boundaries and Craig Young, bowling with good pace, had Jack Tector snapped up by Kennedy at backward point and wrapped the knuckles of Simmi Singh.

North West Warriors: 302 (O Williams 121, C Young 36, G Kennedy 28, A Austin 27, S Thompson 20; K O'Brien 3-35, G Dockrell 2-64) Leinster Lightning 61-2 (J Anderson 40 not out). Today 11am-6.30pm

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