NORTH West Warriors head coach Gary Wilson will have been delighted by a solid all-round team performance as they bounced back from their opening-day defeat to win their first home match in the Inter-provincial Cup against Munster Reds at Eglinton.
Although no batsman got to 50, everyone reached 20 as Warriors chased down their target of 220 with 27 balls and five wickets in hand in a game reduced to 43 overs after rain had delayed the start until 12.30pm.
The game was effectively won and lost in the last seven overs of the visitors’ innings as Munster collapsed from 199 for four to 219 all out, with six balls unused.
It was the unsung Ross Allen — the one change from Saturday’s team that lost to Leinster Lightning — who made the vital breakthrough, bowling the dangerous Greg Ford — who had just hit Boyd Rankin for three successive fours — to end a threatening fifth-wicket partnership with new Reds captain Tyrone Kane.
Allen’s success prompted Andy McBrine to bring himself back on at the pavilion end and he had an instant impact, removing his opposite number with his fifth ball and following up two balls later with the wicket of PJ Moor.
The collapse was now in full swing and it took only two overs to finish the innings with Allen picking up his third wicket and Graham Hume, Waringstown’s new signing, completing the job after an economical eight overs.
The classiest batting of the day came from Murray Commins, who did not know last night if he would be allowed to feature for his club side CIYMS.
Cricket Ireland gave him the go-ahead to play for the Reds and, after being dropped by Craig Young at extra cover on 14, he took advantage, like all good batsmen do, to hit 61 from 74 balls with five fours and a six before he was undone by a slower ball from Rankin.
But it was another disappointing day for the big pace man who conceded 33 runs in his four overs and it wasn’t much better for Young, his former international team-mate, who was wicketless and went for more than seven runs an over.
Curtis Campher, the one current Ireland international in the Munster side, scored 34 off 30 balls but took only one wicket in his nine overs at a cost of 50 runs.
Kane was the pick of the Reds’ bowlers but all five pace bowlers were restricted to a wicket apiece with their lone spinner bowling only three overs.
Stuart Thompson and Graham Kennedy both scored at a run-a-ball — the latter, who will make his debut for CI tomorrow, hitting seven fours in his 36 — but it was Shane Getkate who finished the game in a hurry, with five fours and a six in his 35 from just 37 balls.
McBrine, who came in again at the fall of the first wicket, was named man of the match.
The inter-provincial action takes a 10-day break now with the Ireland Wolves taking centre stage next week in a three-match series against Netherlands ‘A’.
Former Ireland captain William Porterfield will be among those looking to impress the watching selectors and he enjoyed a much-improved performance yesterday with 38 including two pulled sixes off Campher before he was caught behind off left-armer Josh Manley, who will be Rankin’s new ball partner at Lisburn this season.