IT will not be a match long remembered but at least it got the 2021 season up and running.
Leinster Lightning started, as they so often do, with a victory, unspectacular but efficient, chasing down North West Warriors’ under-par 204 in the opening Inter-provincial Cup game at Pembroke yesterday.
Jamie Grassi, only in the team because Andrew Balbirnie is in quarantine after his county stint with Glamorgan, took the Ireland captain’s position at No 3 and did it proud, dismissed just seven short of the winning post for 82.
It wasn’t chanceless – he was dropped on 15 by William Porterfield of all people, and a more difficult chance to wicket-keeper Stephen Doheny, standing up to Graham Kennedy’s slow left arm – but he took his chance and will get another go on Tuesday with Balbirnie also ruled out of the game against Northern Knights at the same venue.
Grassi came to the middle in the sixth over after Kevin O’Brien got a bottom edge off Graham Hume and he also lost Jack Tector, caught at mid-off and Lorcan Tucker held by Porterfield at slip, the over after he had been dropped by Doheny.
But if Warriors thought they had a chance at 92 for three, Grassi and his new Phoenix team-mate, Lightning captain George Dockrell, dispelled them with a partnership of 106, comfortably the highest of the day.
The best Warriors could manage was 44 for the eighth wicket between Hume, who looked their best batsman, and Nathan McGuire, one of only three Warriors players who play their club cricket in the union.
William Porterfield, still based in England, faced 23 balls for his four runs before he was Barry McCarthy’s first victrim, although he looked unlucky as he was given out leg before from around the wicket.
Skipper Andy McBrine took over the digging in duties before he hit JJ Garth’s first ball for Lightning, a full toss, straight to long leg – O’Brien didn’t have to move!
McCarthy was the pick of the home bowlers, reflected by figures of four for 32, unlike opposite number Craig Young was did everything but did take a wicket for Warriors in an impressive hostile few spells.
Scores: North West Warriors 204 (48.5 overs, G Hume 44, A McBrine 38, S Doheny 29, S Getkate 21; B McCarthy 4-32, G Dockrell 2-47) Leinster Lightning 207-4 (47.3 overs, J Grassi 82, G Dockrell 51 not out, J Tector 34; G Hume 2-39). Leinster Lightning won by 6 wickets.