IT was a bounce back day for Northern Knights and Munster Reds as they proved the vagaries of T20 action by beating the first day winners Leinster Lightning and North West Warriors.
The first inter-provincial festival weekend in Pembroke has only underlined that on their day any team is a match for the others but while the shortest format is most definitely a batsman’s game, the highest first innings total after four games is an underwhelming 174 for seven.
That total by the Knights in the first match yesterday was enough for a 22 runs victory over Leinster Lightning, the holders’ first defeat since they lost to Knights two years ago. But it was an accumulation of individual totals rather than a stand-out innings which made up the total and sums up an unsatisfactory first two days.
Seven Knights batsmen reached 15 but none passed 31 although Ross Adair ran out of overs because he has, surprisingly, been dropped down the Knights batting order, now in the role of ‘finisher’.
The CSN opener has been so destructive in the powerplay, both for club and province, but with so many openers in the team, the Knights have gone down the Luke Georgeson-James McCollum route albeit in a batting order which is totally inter-changable all the way down to No 8.
The Knights team will pick itself for their game against Munster Reds today because Jeremy Lawlor is ruled out with an ankle problem, which he injured on Friday, and Graham McCarter has left the squad to attend his best friend’s wedding today.
The other absentee today will be Reds skipper Tyrone Kane who failed to last the first over of their game against Warriors, after badly spraining his ankle, which made his side’s victory over a resurgent North West side all the more remarkable.
But William Porterfield was already back in the players’ tent, after pulling his third ball straight to deep mid-wicket and before the six-over powerplay had been completed he had been joined by the rest of the top four, with only 31 runs on the board.
The Donemana captains, William McClintock and Andy McBrine led the fightback, but here too, no batsman could stay for longer than 30 balls, although Jarred Wilson, in his first innings in Warriors colours, needed only 12 to score 28, hitting his first three balls to the boundary and clearing it with his fifth.
But a total of 146 always looked inadequate, even without Kane batting and although both openers were dismissed by the start of the fourth over, Murray Commins maintained his impressive form although even he could not reach a fifth 50 of the summer, caught at deep backward square, six runs short.
The Ford brothers, however, eased the Reds to their first victory in the competition since 2019, hitting three sixes off Wilson’s 17th over and Matt Ford struck the winning boundary off the first ball of the next.
As for Kevin O’Brien, who announced his retirement from the one-day international arena on Friday due to a lack of form, his woes have continued this weekend into the T20 format, with scores of two and four.