Heart-breaking Finish on Day 3 At Stormont
After two days of watching the rain, an Inter-Provincial Championship match broke out and the Lightning ended up on the wrong end of a bonus point draw with the Northern Knights by ten match points to nine.
Entering the final over of the day, both sides were deadlocked on nine points apiece and with the light fading fast at 8.10pm, Knights captain Gary Wilson had to bowl spin.
Harry Tector, bowling his only over of the 54 over innings, had George Dockrell surrounded by fielders when a faint edge flew to Ellison at slip leaving the Lightning seven wickets down and giving the Knights that crucial extra bonus point.
No one could have predicted the drama that would unfold on arrival at the ground on Thursday morning.
The rain of the previous days had left its mark and no play was possible until 1.45 on Thursday. The Knights resumed on 72/1 intent on pressing on for batting bonus points.
However, James McCollum (44), Gary Wilson (21) and Ruhan Pretorius (2) fell in the first 90 minutes of play as the Lightning secured the first bonus point of the match for taking three wickets.
Harry Tector’s unbeaten 31 followed by the only three that Shane Getkate hit took the Knights to 150/4 and a batting bonus point, at which they immediately declared.
The Lightning would have 38 overs before the final hour to bat out, trying to gain batting bonus points if possible but perhaps more importantly keeping wickets in hand to deny the Knights bowling bonus points.
Despite losing McLoughlin-Gavin early, Andrew Balbirnie (81) showed why he is Ireland’s established number three with a composed and assured innings. Simi Singh (41) also showed glimpses of his fine current form in tandem with Balbirnie.
With the fall of Singh and Balbirnie, Gary Wilson was unlikely to approach George Dockrell to shake hands while there was still time to take wickets and snaffle bonus points.
The Lightning middle order batted manfully and went oh so close to seeing the day out.
Nigel and Mark Jones will look to lift the side ahead of the next Inter-Provincial action against the North West Warriors starting on Monday August 12th at North County Cricket Club.
InterProvincial Championship, Northern Knights v Leinster Lightning
At CSNICC, Stormont;
Northern Knights 150/4 41.3 overs (J McCollum 44, H Tector 31*; B McCarthy 15-1-56-1, T Kane 14-3-38-1, P Chase 6.3-2-19-1, K O’Brien 5.4-2-16-1)
Leinster Lightning 217/7 53.4 overs (A Balbirnie 81, S Singh 41; D Delany 3-48, M Adair 1-22)
Leinster Lightning – 9 Points
Northern Knights – 10 Points