There is a very good reason why connoisseurs pay a lot of money for vintage wine. They know that they are guaranteed quality and a standard that is rarely seen.
Watching Kevin O’Brien bat in the autumn of his career is watching a whole series of vintage performances.
While 2011 will always live in the memory, in the past two years he has produced a whole sequence of innings that in their own way are equally as iconic.
(Kevin O'Brien on his way to 82: Pic Rodney Smythe)
This afternoon at Pembroke Cricket Ground, O’Brien was in a very different class to anyone else who held a bat other than that other veteran William Porterfield.
In a rain interrupted match he continuously accurately judged the pace to bat at, accelerating rapidly when having lost three overs at the start of the innings, another five were cut after further rain.
When he fell off the final ball of the innings for 82, he had faced just 37 deliveries and hit three fours and no less than eight sixes, four of them out of the ground.
I doubt that there will be a better shot played in domestic cricket this year than the soaring extra cover drive O’Brien assayed off Graham Kennedy’s first ball which sailed over the old pavilion.
Having been put into bat Leinster Lightning struggled against the canny seam bowling of Graham Hume whose 3-18 looked as if he had given the North-West Warriors a realistic chance of victory.
However, the further reduction in overs meant he couldn’t finish his allotment of overs and we will never know if that was a defining moment.
O’Brien then dominated a 93 run stand with Simi Singh off just 51 balls with Singh finishing with a run a ball 25.
A DLS adjusted target of 129 was always going to be a daunting task and a steady stream of wickets made it even more difficult.
Indeed if it had not been for an innings from Porterfield that brought back memories of his glory days in the format, the game would never have got as close and Lightning would have got a bonus point.
(William Porterfield on his way to his half century: Pic Rodney Smythe))
He hit three fours and four sixes and took a liking to the new kid on the block Curtis Campher who he hit for successive maximums.
Indeed Campher must be a bit confused that Inter-Pro’s appear much harder work than ODI’s as his five overs have seen an outcome of 1-56 and just 4 runs.
Once Porterfield fell to Singh one ball after he reached his 50 the result was in no doubt.
Singh 3-11 and Tyrone Kane 2-20 were both effective but it was the pace of accuracy of Peter Chase who really impressed, his 2-19 not doing justice to his bowling.
The final margin of 24 was definitive and puts the victors firmly in control of the trophy.
It wasn’t a completely successful day for O’Brien as one of his mighty sixes smashed through the rear window of his car.
(Kevin O'Brien smashed his own car window: Pic Andrew Leonard)
One further potential issue concerns social distancing. There are very strict guidelines around the holding of matches which includes the absence of spectators with only players, officials, ground staff and limited media allowed.
Yet at the Park Avenue end, for the final few overs up to a dozen people were congregated together without any social distancing or as far as I could see, few if any were wearing masks.
The situation is still too fragile to risk bringing everything to a grinding halt again especially given the sharp increase in cases over the past two weeks.