Odran Flynn (CricketEurope)
North-West Warriors rebounded from last Saturday’s disappointing opening day defeat by Leinster Lightning to claim their first points in the 2021 IP50 campaign with a five wicket win over Munster Reds in Eglinton.
The bare bones of the result would suggest that it was a comfortable win, but the truth is somewhat different.
Munster Reds were making their debut in the longest form of the white ball game and they produced a very creditable performance.
A combination of inexperience and a degree of naivety ended up costing them dearly but hopefully they will learn their lesson from this and come back stronger.
In a match reduced to 43 overs per side by early morning rain that resulted in a wet outfield, Warriors put the debutants in to bat and the Reds made a very circumspect start. After six overs they had crawled to just 14 runs and shortly afterwards lost their opener Seamus Lynch caught behind off Graham Hume for 8.
The other opener Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin was joined by South African Murray Commins who is in the process of qualifying for Ireland. Together they added 62 runs over the following 14 overs in a partnership highlighted by two enormous slog-sweeps by McLoughlin-Gavin off Andy McBrine that cleared the boundary by some distance.
After he fell edging Stuart Thompson through to Doheny, Curtis Campher joined his fellow South African born teammate, and they added an entertaining 64 runs from the next 50 deliveries. Campher as usual was very busy at the crease and he has that invaluable knack of piercing the gaps in the field.
Campher fell to a quicker ball from left arm spinner Ross Allen's second delivery having stroked five fours in a 30 ball 34.
Reds skipper Tyrone Kane then joined Commins but after they had added 22 at a run a ball, Commins inexplicably pushed a simple return catch to Boyd Rankin. The irony was that Rankin, much as he did last Saturday, looked out of sorts but a bowler will gladly accept a wicket no matter how it comes.
Although he had given a couple of chances Commins looks the real deal and he times the ball superbly as his five 4’s and a six demonstrated. His 74 ball 61 was the highest innings in the match.
Greg Ford joined Kane and he immediately set about Rankin striking him for three successive fours and when Craig Young replaced the Bready man, he also conceded three boundaries in an over, two of them to Kane. Four overs brought 37 runs and with seven overs left in the innings and Reds 199-4 a total in the region of 260 looked possible.
Then the wheels came off and thanks largely to the spin of Allen and McBrine Munster lost their six wickets for a meagre 20 runs and did not even make it to the last over. Without taking risks there should have been at least another 50 runs added. This is where the lack of experience kicked in as an epidemic of rash shots effectively cost Reds the match.
Allen with 3-40 and McBrine with 2-36 took most of the wickets but the lid was kept on the Reds innings by another fine display of medium pace bowling by Hume whose 8 overs only cost 18 runs while claiming two more victims.
Relieved to be chasing 30-40 runs less than expected, Warriors went on the attack and by the end of 15 overs had already got to 82 with the only hiccup the loss of Doheny for a quickfire 20. William Porterfield brought back memories of his heyday with an innings of 38 off 56 balls including two impressive sixes to go with four fours.
McBrine’s decision to move to three in the batting order has boosted his confidence and his ambition. Together with Thompson, who also looks in much better touch, the pair took the Warriors to within 86 runs of victory. Thompson in particular played several majestic shots including two perfectly times strokes that cleared the ropes.
Although both batters fell within a couple of overs of each other, any nervousness in the dressing room was quickly dispelled by a 58 run a ball partnership by a composed Graham Kennedy and an aggressive knock from Shane Getkate.
While Kennedy fell within touching distance of the finishing line, Getkate saw them home in jig time. The Reds served up too many half volleys and long hops and will need to tighten up their lines and lengths before they travel to Pembroke on 20th May to take on the reigning champions and current table toppers Leinster Lightning.
Kane, Josh Manley and Aaron Cawley were the pick of the attack and the Reds also need to consider the balance of their side as their spinner Amish Sidhu was entrusted with just three overs compared to the combined figures of 5-76 from Allen and McBrine.
The Warriors will be pleased at the improvement in their performance especially as they had a very consistent batting display. They will also realise that Lightning still have to travel to the North-West.
There is a 10-day break in the competition as next week Ireland Wolves play three 50 over matches against Netherlands A in Oak Hill with the games being comprehensively covered by CricketEurope.
Munster Reds 219 a.o. in 42 overs (M. Commins 61, R. Allen 3-40, G. Hume 2-18, A. McBrine 2-36) lost to North-West Warriors 220-5 in 38.3 overs by 5 wickets. (S. Thompson 42, W. Porterfield 38, J. Manley 1-23)