North-West Warriors went to the top of the IP50 table this afternoon at Stormont, as they convincingly beat Northern Knights by 62 runs.

William McClintock was deservedly named man of the match for his game defining innings of 72 not out from just 46 deliveries which included 6 fours and 5 sixes. One of those sixes cleared the Stormont pavilion. He has always been a talented batter, but he never really progressed from being a successful under-19 international and has been out of favour for the past couple of years.

Indeed, there was raised eyebrows in some circles when Gary Wilson brought him back into the Warriors setup. That decision now appears to have been very astute based on today’s performance and it was good to hear McClintock, in his post-match interview, declare his desire to play for the full Ireland side. A middle order hitter is always welcome.

McClintock is just 24 years old, but it was a man who is at the other end of his career who is equally as intent in wanting to make it back to the top table in Ireland cricket. William Porterfield today did what he has done consistently throughout his long career. He ensured that there would be no early collapse against a Knights attack that had stifled Leinster Lightning last Sunday.

Although he was forced to temporarily retire because of a developing migraine, he returned to see his side through to the fortieth over and past the two hundred mark. His innings of 73 from 97 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes gave McClintock the freedom to make hay in the final powerplay. As no other opener this year has stood up to convince the selectors that they should partner Paul Stirling at the top of the Ireland order, Porterfield may only be one innings away from being that man.

Shane Getkate has impressed with the bat both for the Warriors and the Wolves and he took only 44 deliveries to make 47 hitting 5 fours and 2 sixes.

The determined and at times flamboyant batting saw the Warriors reach the highest total in the tournament to date, some 47 runs more that Lightning’s total against the Knights two weeks ago.

Knights suffered from the absence of Graham McCarter as he has consistently tied down the opposition batsmen and his economy rate of 3.31 is a full run an over better than any other seamer in the Knights squad. Mark Adair was comfortably the best Knights bowler with 2-33 of his ten overs while Ben White continues to push himself to the front of the leg spinners queue, his figures today being 2-53.

The pace and movement of Craig Young and the miserly precision of Graham Hume ensured that there would be no repeat of the blistering start that the Knights had inflicted on Lighting two days ago. Stirling looked in the mood to repeat his heroics of Sunday but fell to a stunning one-handed diving catch at deep square-leg by Stuart Thompson, having made a run a ball 16.

All ten dismissed batsmen got into double figures but only one scored more than 22 and this sowed the seeds of defeat. The one man who gave the Knights some hope was Jeremy Lawlor who doubled down on his maiden List A fifty on Sunday and deserved to get a first century but unfortunately for him he was plumb LBW to Young for 95, out off the final ball of the fortieth over. He faced 117 balls with 10 fours and one six and with his dismissal any remaining optimism in the Knights camp ebbed away.

He is now finding his feet at this level and the confidence generated from these back-to-back innings may well see him kick on and fulfil his Ireland ambitions.

Young with 4-55 and Warrior’s skipper Andy McBrine 2-39 were the leading bowlers and they built on the pressure exerted by Hume, who although he went wicketless, only conceded 32 runs from his full allocation. I am glad that young Conor Olphert was brought back at the death, having been removed from the attack after going for 14 in his only over. He showed his potential with his first ball of that recall when ripping out White’s middle stump with a searing yorker.

It what is now a wide-open competition, Thursday’s match in Pembroke between Lightning and Munster Reds takes on added significance. Were Reds to inflict more damage on a wounded Lightning side it would make the second half of the tournament even more exciting than the first. Unfortunately, Reds have suffered a major loss with news that Curtis Campher is going to have surgery on an ankle injury and his loss will also require a rethink in the makeup of the Ireland squad.

North-West Warriors 298-7 in 50 overs (W. Porterfield 73, W, McClintock 72*, M. Adair 2-33) beat Northern Knights, 236 all out in 48.1 overs (J. Lawlor 95, C. Young 4-55, A. McBrine 2-39) by 62 runs.