TWO Donemana players, past and present, ensured victory for North West Warriors in the inter-provincial Cup match against Northern Knights at Stormont.
Warriors head coach Gary Wilson asked his batsmen to ‘go big’ and William Porterfield and William McClintock responded with the side’s first two half-centuries of the season, the decisive innings in their emphatic 62 runs victory.
Porterfield, the long-time Ireland captain, started his senior career with Donemana and after a series of low scores for Ireland Wolves last week, needed a significant one to keep his name in the frame for Ireland selection.
As good players invariably do, they perform under pressure and despite having to retire with the “start of a migraine” at the first drinks break, he returned to more than double his score before he fatally changed his mind in mid-stroke and lobbed a gentle catch to mid-wicket.
McClintock, the current Donemana captain, had just joined him in the middle but he then took over, scoring in double quick time and hitting six fours and five sixes. He was 72 not out, from just 46 balls when the overs ran out, but the visitors were more than happy with a total just two shy of 300.
No total is ever safe when Paul Stirling is in the opposition but yesterday he lasted only 16 balls before falling to a superb catch by Stuart Thompson who held on, despite hitting the ground when diving forward, running in from the square leg boundary.
The bowler was Craig Young and it was the first of four wickets for the Ireland opening bowler – and every one of them giving Warriors vital breakthroughs. His second was the always dangerous Ruhan Pretorius but the big one was Jeremy Lawlor who, for the second successive game was Knights’ top scorer.
Before his match-winning 80 on Sunday against Leinster Lightning he had never reached 50 in nine previous List A games, but he went even bigger yesterday before Young, in the first over of his third spell, trapped him lbw, five runs short of a deserved century.
With him went the Knights’ last hope of victory – they then needed 105 from the last 10 overs with just three wickets left - and although John Matchett, the replacement for the unavailable Graeme McCarter, hit a defiant 20 from 13 balls, he was comprehensively bowled by the first ball of Young’s fourth spell.
Meanwhile, Curtis Campher has been ruled out of Ireland’s World Cup Super League series with an ongoing ankle problem and will undergo surgery.
Campher left the field during Ireland Wolves opening match against Netherlands A and after seeing a specialist yesterday, it was agreed that surgery was needed to resolve the issue long term. He will begin rehab immediately afterwards with the intention of being available for the home summer.