Ireland hopeful Jack Tector hit a century for Leinster Lightning as the holders made it two wins out of two in the inter-provincial Cup against an under-strength North West Warriors.

Missing William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin, Stuart Thompson and Andy Britton, it always looked mission impossible against a Lightning side with five of the Ireland squad in this summer’s internationals plus Peter Chase and Simi Singh.

As it turned out, it was all but game over after 42 overs of the Lightning innings as Tector and Andrew Balbirnie put on a record second wicket stand of 182 and although Warriors did well to restrict the visitors to 51 from the remaining eight overs, it was always going to need something – or someone – special to get close to a victory target of 272.

A top three of David Barr, Marcus Poskitt and David Rankin against Tyrone Kane, Peter Chase and George Dockrell looked an unfair contest and, sure enough, Poskitt, playing on his home ground at Bready, was bowled by Kane in the seventh over and Barr was dropped by the Dockrell in Kane’s next over.

The partnership survived another 10 overs but then, enter Gareth Delany, first with a sharp bit of fielding to run out Barr and then with the ball in hand the Leinster leg spinner ripped through the middle order with three wickets in 20 balls to leave Warriors on 82-5.

That skipper Andy McBrine was the middle of the trio, caught and bowled either side of lbw decisions against Aaron Gillespie and William McClintock, ended any hope of even a plucky challenge
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Tector and Balbirnie had set the standard for the day which no-one else threatened to match. After a fourth over dismissal in Lightning’s opening game against Northern Knights in La Manga last month, Tectoir knew this was another opportunity to impress watching Ireland Head Coach Graham Ford and he did just that with his first List A century, a chanceless 110 from 141 balls with 13 fours and a six.

Batting with Balbirnie for 32 overs undoubtedly made it a lot easier as Ireland’s in-form No 3 built another fluent innings. He hit only five boundaries in his first 50 from 73 balls but celebrated by hitting David Scanlon for 4-4-6 in successive balls; the charge to the finish was on.

A legside glance brought up Tector’s 100 in the 41st over but the return of Coleraine professional Graham Hume, who had dismissed Stephen Doheny with his second ball on his Warriors debut, broke the big partnership and the big surprise was that it was Balbirnie who holed out to long-off six runs short of his expected century.

Craig Young then removed Lorcan Tucker (two fours and a six in his 14) and Tector with successive balls and the powerful middle order of Simi Singh, Kevin O’Brien and Dockrell were restricted to 33 runs from 30 balls. But the damage had been done.

David Rankin finished as Warriors top scorer with a innings which can be divided into two extreme parts. His first 27 runs came off 55 balls with one four and then, with the required run-rate up to nine an over, he hit his next 28 runs off 11 balls, including another four fours and a straight six off Delany.
It was Dockrell who got him, beaten by a sharp turning ball, which gave the Lightning skipper his first wicket in 40 overs for Ireland and Lightning since his three-for in La Manga.

Hume enjoyed himself at No 9, to finish 39 not out but by that stage Lightning knew they had the points in the bag.

The good news for Warriors is that Porterfield, rested by Cricket Ireland yesterday, and, possibly Rankin, who faces a fitness test today on his troublesome hip, will be back for next week’s action against Northern Knights, in the Cup at Stormont on Monday, and for the first three-day Championship game of the season at Comber, starting on Tuesday.

Thompson is targeting the T20 Festival at Pembroke on the third weekend in June but is expected to be allowed to play as a batsman for Eglinton sometime before that.