NORTHERN Knights packed their batting line-up for the final inter-provincial Cup game of the season but it was their bowlers who were found wanting in a high-scoring game at Stormont.
Murray Commins hit a superb 125 for Munster Reds but, just as crucially, received significant help from Matt Ford and Fionn Hand at the end (51 between them from 27 balls) as the visitors hit the third highest total in the competition.
Luke Georgeson topped Commins’ effort by three runs – the second highest individual score – but his dismissal, caught in the deep with 21 wanted from eight balls, put the pressure on Ross Adair and John Matchett.
A superb final over, consistently mainly of yorkers, by Hand was just too good and the Knights had to be satisfied with the highest total by a side batting second and only the fifth to make 300.
Commins and Jack Carty, who was bowled by Ruhan Pretorius for 97, shared a second wicket stand of 220 for the Reds – the highest for any wicket in the competition – as the Knights toiled for 38 overs without the hint of a chance.
In reply, Paul Stirling faced 20 balls for his 20 runs and Harry Tector 86 for his 57 but when Neil Rock popped up with 39 from 25, it was still game on, until Josh Manley claimed his third and crucial wicket.
SCORES: Munster Reds 309-4 (M Commins 125, J Carty 97, M Ford 26 not out, F Hand 25; R Pretorius 1-37, L Georgeson 1-65, M Adair 1-69) Northern Knights 300-8 (L Georgeson 128, H Tector 57, N Rock 39, J Lawlor 21, P Stirling 20; J Manley 3-51, A Cawley 3-60, M Frost 2-52). Munster Reds won by 9 runs.