Leinster Lightning began their quest for a seventh straight interprovincial cup title with an emphatic 91-run win over MTB Northern Knights at Comber.

Having been put in to bat by the hosts, Lightning suffered an early setback with Jack Tector falling to Graeme McCarter to the first ball of the day.

However normal service was resumed as Stephen Doheny and Kevin O'Brien got the innings back on track with a second wicket stand of 78 in 15 overs.

O'Brien (44) greeted Harry Tector's first ball with a lofted six, but was trapped lbw sweeping from the next delivery.

(Stephen Doheny top scored with 79 for Lightning)

Doheny provided solidity as he shared stands of 55 with Lorcan Tucker (21) and 42 with Curtis Campher (26) as Lightning laid a solid foundation reaching 175 for 3 in the 35th over.

The Rush top-order man hit his best score at this level with 79 from 103 balls, which included nine boundaries.

He and Curtis Campher fell in successive balls and Knights had a glimmer of hope at 175 for 5.

However, after an initial period of consolidation, Malahide's Greg Ford and Simi Singh (26) pressed the accelerator in the final ten overs.

Ford smashed 43 from 36 balls, while the innings really went into top gear with Tyrone Kane (30 from 14 balls) and skipper George Dockrell (24 from 11 balls) plundering 46 from the last three overs.

(Greg Ford)

A total of 306 for 7 was the third highest in the eight seasons of the 50-overs cup and given the strength of the Lightning attack presented a formidable target for the Knights to chase.

Marc Ellison (12) survived a few nervy shots before slashing Josh Little to second slip.

Harry Tector survived one chance behind but didn't learn his lesson, edging a wide Little delivery to a grateful Lorcan Tucker who redeemed his earlier transgressions.

Indeed after his initial mistakes, the Pembroke gloveman pouched five dismissals - equaling Niall O'Brien's haul, and bettered only by Chris Dougherty's six.

(Another dismissal for Lorcan Tucker)

James McCollum fell soon after, trapped lbw by Curtis Campher and when skipper Gary Wilson edged Simi Singh to Tucker, things were looking bleak at 72 for 4.

The Knights regrouped and with Ruhan Pretorius and Shane Getkate sharing a fifth wicket stand of 79 in 13 overs, there was an outside chance despite the climbing run rate.

Pretorius however fell to an injudicious shot off Campher (2-33) after reaching his half century and thereafter the target got more and more unlikely.

Mark Adair (18) added 38 with Getkate, but his dismissal precipitated  a quick end as scoreboard pressure told.

Debutant James Hunter was bowled by Little (3-32), while Simi Singh  (4-42) then wrapped up proceedings by accounting for David Delany, Graeme McCarter and a valiant Shane Getkate (73) in quick succession.

(Successful appeal by Curtis Campher)

215 all out meant a 91-run victory and with it a bonus point which takes them to the top of the table.

Indeed if they can repeat a bonus point win on their trip to face the Warriors next Tuesday at Bready, they will seal the title with two matches remaining.

Who would bet against them on this form ? The Lightning juggernaut rolls on.

TABLE, SCORECARDS, PHOTOS, AUDIO

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