Knights end T20 on winning note
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
THE Northern Knights ended the Twenty20 inter-provincial series on a winning note to deny the North West Warriors any chance of lifting the trophy, but Leinster Lightning made no mistake in Cork to make it three titles in a row.
Lightning dismissed the Munster Reds for 119 and needed less than 14 overs to claim a five wickets victory to ensure they could not be caught at the top of the table.
The action at Belmont was slower but, ultimately just as predictable as Warriors total of 123 never threatened to be enough to force victory and although the Knights had to wait until the last over to reach their target, the victory was never in doubt.
James Shannon once again led from the front, a second successive half century setting up the victory and although his 62 from 43 balls was not as fast as his innings in their previous T20 against the Reds at Carrick, it was more than good enough.
The skipper was dismissed 14 runs from the winning post but a six from Greg Thompson and the winning single from Shane Getkate eased their side home.
The Warriors innings started promisingly enough with 41 coming in the powerplay but David Rankin chopped on from the last ball of the sixth over and it lost its way thereafter.
David Barr’s 41 used up 48 balls and included only one boundary while even Johnny Thompson faced 11 balls for five before he holed out in the penultimate over. Stuart Thompson stayed to the end of the innings but it needed skipper Andy McBrine to hit 13 off the last over just to give the Knights a target of more than a run-a-ball.
David Scanlon struck with his second ball to dismiss Nikolai Smith but newcomers John Matchett, with five boundaries in his 21 and then Adam Berry, not so impressively, stayed with Shannon until the 100 came up in the 16th over, which was actually only six balls quicker than the Warriors.
Four of the players involved will be back in T20 action tomorrow at Ulster Cup finals day with Greg Thompson and Gary Kidd, the most impressive Knights bowler, turning for Waringstown in their semi-final against Coleraine at Saintfield (11am) and Rankin and Scanlon for Bready in the other semi-final against North Down at Comber.