HOLDERS North West Warriors enjoyed a wonderful, if abbreviated, first day in their Interprovincial Championship clash against Leinster Lightning, taking six wickets before lunch and another two before rain forced an early close at Balrothery.

On a bowler-friendly surface, which is unlikely to get any easier, Lightning struggled to 119-8 but, yet again, Warriors were frustrated by the weather in this rain-ruined series.

The first four games all ended in draws but the Championship title remains in Warriors’ hands as they are playing in both the last two games. This impressive start has confirmed they’re in no mood to relinquish their title without a fight.

It was the Lightning top order which was blown away yesterday by Craig Young, Graham Hume and Graham Kennedy, and then, after superb fielding from Ireland captain William Porterfield had dismissed top scorer Simi Singh, Brigade opening bowler Ryan MacBeth joined in the mayhem to claim his maiden first-class wicket and leave the home side reeling on 94-6 at lunch.

Between the showers, which curtailed the afternoon session to eight overs, Young returned to have Lorcan Tucker and Barry McCarthy out to successive deliveries. The hat-trick ball came off Josh Little’s pads but was superbly taken by Will Smale who, given the gloves ahead of Brendon Louw, held five catches on his first-class debut as the bowlers repeatedly found the edge.

Tucker was the most fortunate, seemingly taking the mantra that ‘I’ve paid for all of the bat so I’m going to use it’ to at least the fifth degree, including a difficult chance to Smale off Andy McBrine and another to David Rankin placed in the gully.

Andrew Balbirnie gave the other chance, to Louw at second slip, but, unbelievably, then slashed at the next ball and this time Rankin made no mistake.

Probably only Porterfield could have executed the run-out which ended Singh’s 52-ball innings — no one survived longer — swooping in from mid-on, throwing in the same movement and making the classic direct hit.

The effects of the rain washed out the last session, but none is forecast for today and if the Warriors can bat as well as they bowled, they will be in an even stronger position tonight.