It was a quiet weekend on the domestic cricket front this time as all four Premiership ties in the Premier Division were postponed to facilitate the Interprovincial T20 Blitz in Dublin.
The Warriors went into the three-day jamboree in a decent position; indeed, had it not been for a really frustrating 5-run defeat by Leinster Lightning at Bready last month, Ian McGregor’s charges would have been favourites to win it outright.
As it was they had work to do to catch the hosts, and holders, and a poor start on Friday pretty much ended their chances of glory straight away.
Despite travelling light due to a few unavailabilities, Andy McBrine’s side would have been expected to cope against the Munster Reds in their first outing of three.
A disappointing early showing from the top order had the Warriors playing catch-up in the middle overs before a 97-run stand between McBrine and Aaron Gillespie put them back on track.
The skipper hit 2 fours and 3 sixes in his quick-fire 37 but Strabane all-rounder Gillespie was in full flow at the other end as he made an unbeaten 80 off just 55 balls (9 fours, 2 sixes). Yaqoob Ali and Gareth Delany shared 4 wickets for the Reds as the batting side closed on 162-7.
It was a decent recovery, but it was to count for little as the southerners chased the target down comfortably. Stephen Doheny led from the top as the 19-year old, who had previously played with Leinster Lightning in this competition last season, batted superbly to make 64.
Robert Forrest chipped in with 36 and despite a couple of wickets for Donemana spinner McBrine, Munster had a full 6 wickets and 3 overs in hand when the winning runs were scored.
That made Saturday’s clash with the cup holders all the more important, however it was to be a similar story here as the Warriors’ hopes were extinguished in this format at least.
An unbroken century stand between John Anderson and George Dockrell was to be the difference this time; Anderson hitting 4 fours and 5 sixes in his 41-ball 76 while Dockrell added a slightly more composed 40 (3 fours).
Graham Kennedy was the pick of the visitors’ bowling; however, fate was to take a hand in their reply as both Davy Scanlon and Varun Chopra were unable to take their place in the batting line-up following earlier injuries.
Chopra was bothered by a shoulder problem, but Scanlon may now be forced into some much-needed rest after his back spasms returned to end his tournament.
David Rankin (36) and the in-form Gillespie (34) gave their side early hope in the reply but it didn’t last as the reply closed on 141-8.
With all due respect to the absent batsmen it is highly unlikely they affected the result as the North West were still 46 runs behind with just 10 deliveries left when stumps were pulled to end the day’s events.
McGregor’s charges were in action against the Northern Knights in the final match of three yesterday afternoon (Sunday) however they were by then playing solely for pride.
INTERPROVINCIAL T20 CUP BLITZ
North West Warriors lost to Munster Reds by 6 wickets
North West Warriors 162-7 (20 overs; A Gillespie 80*, A McBrine 37, Y Ali 2-27, D Delany 2-30)
Munster Reds 163-4 (17 overs; S Doheny 64, R Forrest 36, A McBrine 2-32)
North West Warriors lost to Leinster Lightning by 46 runs
Leinster Lightning 182-3 (20 overs; J Anderson 76*, G Dockrell 40*, G Delany 28, A Balbirnie 21, G Kennedy 2-20)
North West Warriors 141-8 (18.2 overs; D Rankin 36, A Gillespie 34, S Thompson 20, E Richardson 2-20, G Dockrell 2-22)