THE day after posting their lowest total in the T20 inter-provincial Trophy, Northern Knights hit their highest as they became the first team to score more than 200 this year.
It was no coincidence that Paul Stirling, in his third innings, finally came good, scoring 46 from 23 balls, as the Knights brought up the highest powerplay total of the season (72 for two). Despite a second wicket stand of 83 in 49 balls between the Ford brothers, Matt and Greg, Munster Reds fell 23 runs short, although they had the satisfaction of beating their previous best score in the competition.
After an underwhelming series of T20 games, the final match of the second festival weekend, in Bready, finally gave a noisy crowd something you would expect from the shortest format.
The Knights certainly had something to prove after being bowled out for 97 in their 70 runs defeat by Leinster Lightning on Saturday, and Strling, having faced just five balls in his first two innings of the weekend, took 14 off the first over yesterday, including the first of his four sixes.
He had added five other boundaries when he was caught at the second attempt, at backward point by Mike Frost but the platform was laid and the bowlers were under pressure.
Carrick’s Jeremy Lawlor took full advantage to score 81 off 42 balls (11 fours, four sixes) and Ruhan Pretorius and Ross Adair plundered 28 off the last nine balls as the Knights finished on 221 for six – only Lightning have scored more in the nine years of the competition.
The Knights are still in third place in the table and will have to win all three games when they host the final festival in September if they are to have any chance of claiming the title, and they will start it in third place, six points behind North West Warriors.
However, Lightning closed the gap on the leaders to four points after their 16 runs win in the first game of the day – a game which was for the Warriors to win after restricting the holders to 127 for eight.
Skipper George Dockrell carried the Lightning batting with 55 from 44 balls as wickets fell around him with Andy McBrine, Craig Young and Ryan Macbeth taking seven of them .
But the Warriors batting flopped from the start, losing three wickets in the first three overs and William McClintock’s top score of 35 was nowhere near enough.