Ireland Inter-Provincial Trophy:North West Warriors win just and Munster Reds stay top
North West Warriors pulled off a remarkable victory and Munster Reds down the hosts to stay top on a drama-filled day in the race for the Inter-Provincial Trophy at North Down Cricket Club today.
This is Day Two of the first of three T20 Festivals for 2022 with the weekend’s fixtures being:
- 27/05/2022 Northern Knights v North West Warriors (Warriors won by 7 wickets)
- 27/05/2022 Leinster Lightning v Munster Reds (Reds won by 6 wickets)
- 28/05/2022 North West Warriors v Leinster Lightning (Warriors won by 1 run)
- 28/05/2022 Munster Reds v Northern Knights (Munster Reds won by 3 wickets)
- 29/05/2022 North West Warriors v Munster Reds (start 11am)
- 29/05/2022 Northern Knights v Leinster Lightning (start 3.30pm)
Game 1: North West Warriors v Leinster Lightning
The first game of the day will go down as one of the most dramatic in Inter-Provincial Trophy history, with the North West Warriors prevailing by the barest of margins.
After being sent in to bat first, the Warriors opening pair started in starkly contrasting fashion – where Nathan McGuire struggled early to get his innings going, Stephen Doheny continued the form he showed yesterday in his innings of 74*. McGuire played out a maiden in the first over and was on 3 from 12 balls at one stage, but Doheny blasted his second ball through point to the boundary to open his account, then struck a six over the cover boundary in the next over, moving swiftly to 20 off his first 12 balls. However, the introduction of spin in the 5th over, courtesy of Simi Singh then George Dockrell, saw McGuire free his arms and three boundaries ensued, seeming to give his innings a renewed impetus.
McGuire looked determined to hit himself into form, but was caught by Tim Tector shortly afterwards for 21, giving young legspinner Gavin Hoey (3-30) his first wicket of the day. With the Warriors on 47-1 in the 8th over, the batting side had one eye on the run rate and looked to up the ante. 24 runs flowed from the next 11 balls, with Jared Wilson smashing a long hop by Hoey over the players tents on the mid-wicket boundary, and Doheny clearing the long-off boundary off left-arm seamer Mikey O’Reilly.
But just as the Warriors were pressing the scoring accelerator, Lightning captain George Dockrell had Hoey switch ends, and bowling into a light breeze the legspinner responded two quick wickets – Wilson (12) and Doheny (46) – both caught at long-off by Barry McCarthy. The first catch, being the more eye-catching saw McCarthy nicely judge a running boundary rope catch but fearing his momentum would carry him over the rope he lobbed the ball up, ran back into the field of play and completed the catch.
Shane Getkate struck a bright and breezy 14 from 7 balls, before O’Reilly dug one in short which the batter top-edged to Dockrell in the covers – and at 99-4 in the 14th over the Warriors needed an injection of runs in the death overs to post a competitive total on a ground that had seen almost 700 runs scored across the two games yesterday.
William McClintock (22*) and Warriors skipper Andy McBrine (9) looked busy, but it wasn’t until Graham Hume (29* off 10 balls) entered the fray that the runs began to flow late getting the Warriors over the 150 mark. Hume punished Dockrell’s last over taking 26 off the last six balls – including two sixes and three fours to push the North West side to 159-5 from their 20 overs.
The start of the Lightning response did not go well for the southern side losing Andrew Balbirnie for 7 and Tim Tector for 0 – both wickets falling to the young Brigade pace bowler Ryan Macbeth. Both wickets could, in part, be credited to the decision of wicketkeeper Doheny to stand up to the stumps for the pace bowlers – keeping the Lightning batters hemmed in their crease. Balbirnie was caught trying to force a shot through gully, while Tector was caught in two minds on coming forward or staying back to a ball that angled in, beat the bat and rattled his stumps.
Simi Singh (25) and Harry Tector put on 35 for the third wicket, until Singh was trapped in front by Hume off the last ball of the powerplay – leaving Lightning on 48-3, requiring exactly eight an over to win.
Tector was joined by Lorcan Tucker and the pair started to pick the run rate up. Their partnership of 44 came from just 27 balls and the international teammates looked to be wrestling control of the game away from the Warriors, but on 41 Tector nicked off to Conor Olphert and the match pendulum swung back to the Warriors.
Tucker was determined to put the pressure back once more on the Warriors attack and began to strike boundaries seemingly at will. Four fours flowed from his bat in the 13th over from the bowling of Olphert, and despite losing Dockrell for 1, the Lightning batters moved their side back in the box seat. However, the game was to swing back to the Warriors advantage when on 44 Tucker picked out the deep square leg fielder, McCarthy was bowled for 5 and Hoey was caught by Getkate courtesy of a diving catch running in from the deep square leg boundary to grasp the ball just inches from the turf.
Needing 10 runs to win off the last 12 balls with two wickets in hand, the Lightning lost Jack Carty for 2 in the 19th over, before Greg Ford top-edged a bouncer from Hume over the keeper’s head for a boundary. Four was needed off the last over with one wicket in hand, and the North West’s never-say-die skipper McBrine chose to bowl himself for the last over. Two singles ensued from the first three balls, before the Warriors captain squeezed a yorker under O’Reilly’s bat and knocked back middle-and-off to earn the Warriors a nail-biting one run win – the first-ever result by that margin in Inter-Provincial Trophy history.
Hume’s telling contribution with bat and ball was rewarded with Player of the Match recognition, but McBrine’s decision to take the last over and his ability to prise out the last wicket will be a memorable moment that those spectators will remember for years to come.
North West Warriors v Leinster Lightning, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Comber, 28 May 2022
Warriors 159-5 (20 overs; S Doheny 46, G Hume 29*; G Hoey 3-30)
Lightning 158 (19.4 overs; L Tucker 44, H Tector 41; G Kennedy 3-30)
North West Warriors won by 1 run
Game 2: Munster Reds v Northern Knights
In the second game of the day, the Munster Reds made heavy weather of a small run-chase but secured the points with a three-wicket win over the Northern Knights.
Losing the toss and being sent in to bat first, the Knights’ openers started confidently – Max Burton (6) slog-sweeping Mike Frost to the boundary off the second ball, while James McCollum played a stunning ramp shot for six off Curtis Campher’s first delivery. However, Burton fell with the score on 27 when he tried to pull a half-tracker from David Delany and feathered an edge through to the keeper PJ Moor.
Ruhan Pretorius briefly blazed with the bat – hitting a six and four in an 8-ball innings of 12 – before advancing down the track to attack Fionn Hand but missing the in-swinger and being clean bowled. McCollum (25) gave Hand his second wicket soon after with an attempted ramp shot that was played straight to the keeper.
The Knights’ captain Mark Adair plundered his first ball over the mid-wicket boundary for six off Frost, but a checked drive in the air from his second ball flew straight to Campher at long-off, and the Knights were 59-4 in the 8th over.
After a 35-run stand between Jeremy Lawlor (13) and Morgan Topping (27), Reds captain Moor then turned to his legspinning option Gareth Delany who almost immediately delivered with three wickets in two overs, while conceding just three runs in the process. Delany first had Topping caught at long-off by Tyrone Kane, then bowled Lawlor and trapped Tom Mayes in front (0) as part of a double-wicket maiden. Delany’s pace-bowling cousin David returned to the bowling crease in the next over and immediately accounted for Ross Adair bowled for 1 and Ben White LBW for 1.
Having lost 5-6 in the space of three overs, the Knights were staring down the barrel of the lowest team total this season, and they duly succumbed in the 19th over, all out for 108.
The Munster bowlers had delivered a quality display of disciplined and accurate bowling – Gareth Delany (3-10), David Delany (3-13) and Fionn Hand (2-12) the stand-out performers.
With a small target of 109 required, in the second over the Reds’ opener Murray Commins flashed at a ball outside off stump from Josh Manley and was sensationally caught at point by Lawlor leaping into the air and grasping the fast-moving ball in two hands. Manley delivered again in his next over, bowling Moor for 13, and the Reds were 23-2 in the 4th over.
Gareth Delany struck three boundaries off the bowling of Mayes in the 5th over, but the Knights were soon back in the wickets removing Kane (6) and Gareth Delany (22) in consecutive balls at the end of the 6th and start of the 7th overs.
Manley, with three wickets to his name, was steaming in with vigour and his captain backed him by keeping him on to bowl out his spell, and Manley duly rewarded that faith by bowling Kevin O’Brien for 7. There had been some interplay between Manley and O’Brien earlier in the over when Manley fielded a ball struck by O’Brien off his own bowling and threw the ball at the striker’s stumps. O’Brien responded by pulling the next ball over square leg for six, but Manley had the last laugh by knocking back O’Brien’s stumps the next ball. The paceman finished with 4-23 from his four overs, and walked back to his position at fine leg to the appreciative applause of the home fans.
Despite the low total required, the Reds were making heavy weather of the run chase and at 62-5 in the 8th over they required a steady hand. Campher (18) had been trying to provide that until Mayes found a near unplayable line and hit the top of Campher’s middle stump. Mayes struck again next ball, nicking David Delany off and the Knights were incredibly right in the contest.
With 10 overs gone, the Reds were 73-7 – the sun was out, the crowd was growing, and the home side sensed an upset win. But the Reds were in no mood to roll over, with Matt Ford (15*) and Hand (21*) first navigating a tricky period to stabilise the innings, and then gradually they took control saw out the run-chase without further loss of wicket with Player of the Match Hand hitting the winning runs with a six.
Munster Reds v Northern Knights, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Comber, 28 May 2022
Knights 108 (18.1 overs; M Topping 27; G Delany 3-10, D Delany 3-13)
Reds 110-7 (16.2 overs; G Delany 22, F Hand 21*; J Manley 4-34)
Munster Reds won by 3 wickets