A heroic 87 from captain Andy McBrine couldn’t prevent the North West Warriors from suffering a brave defeat to Leinster Lightning in the Newstalk Inter-Provincial match at Malahide yesterday.
The Donemana all-rounder underlined his burgeoning reputation in Irish cricket as he battled manfully to save the game in the fourth innings.
He was eventually last man out as the Warriors were beaten by 65 runs, having faced 120 balls and struck eight fours and two sixes.
The North West team had been set a target of 293 in a minimum of 97 overs, with Leinster having added 40 runs in 29 balls to their overnight 116 for one in their second innings before declaring.
Fintan McAllister was the wicket to fall, having made 71, with Railway Union’s Pat Collins unbeaten on 45.
There have been two familiar tales from the two matches between the sides in three-day cricket this summer. The first the uncanny resistance shown by two last-wicket Leinster partnerships and the second the brittle nature of the Warriors top order.
Just as they did in the first innings, the Warriors lost a succession of early wickets. This time it was 11 for three with David Rankin, Jason Milligan and Scott Campbell the men dismissed.
It was 63 for five shortly after lunch when Ireland international Stuart Thompson (34) was dismissed. To their credit, the Warriors battled back, led by McBrine, who together with Johnny Thompson (42) added 62 for the seventh wicket to reach 173 for six.
With Thompson striking six boundaries in his 42 from 61 balls there was still an outside chance they could snatch the unlikeliest of wins.
However there was to be no fairy-tale run chase as Thompson was bowled by John Mooney (3-71) and both Ricky-Lee Dougherty and Craig Young went cheaply.
McBrine battled on, and with last man Jarred Barnes providing stubborn resistance - he didn’t scored a single run from 25 balls faced - the 10th-wicket pair stayed together for 10 overs.
However, McBrine was eventually removed by former Derriaghy spinner Albert van der Merwe (4-74) as the Warriors were dismissed for 227 in the 68th over. With that showing McBrine must have cemented his place in the Ireland squad for the action later this month.
Van der Merwe’s haul completed an excellent all-round performance for the former Irish international, following his match-winning batting heroics in tandem with Max Sorensen.
The teams now switch to T20 mode, with the first round-robin round of matches taking place at Bready on Sunday (11am). The Northern Knights last night called up left-arm spinner Zach Rushe into the squad.
The Instonians man replaces Nigel Jones of Civil Service North.