A spectacular batting collapse prevented the North West Warriors from finishing Sunday’s Twenty20 Interprovincial games with a 100 per cent winning record.
The hosts produced a brilliant performance to beat the Leinster Lightning in their opening match at Magheramason.
And they were in a powerful position in the second game against the Northern Knights as Bready batsman David Rankin struck his second half-century of the day.
With four overs remaining, the Warriors were 134 for two and a big total was there for the taking. But what followed was a scarcely believable as Rankin’s dismissal precipitated a remarkable collapse.
Andrew White took three wickets and Peter Eakin four as the Warriors lost seven wickets for just 15 runs in the space of 24 balls. Their final total of 149 for nine offered the Knights batting line-up a getable target they simply wouldn’t have envisaged likely just a few overs previously.
They took the opportunity with glee, Chris Dougherty and Nick Larkin (29) added 45 in four overs for the first wicket. The Knights were always up with the rate and although Dougherty eventually fell for 58 from just 52 balls on his former home ground, they got home with five balls to spare. White, the captain, was unbeaten on 26 from just 19 balls.
The disappointing aspect for the Warriors is that the seven-wicket defeat will take the gloss off what was an almost perfect performance earlier in the day.
The North West men were flying from the start as Rankin and his opening partner Stuart Thompson put the Leinster bowling to the sword. The Lightning’s troubles were probably summed up by Max Sorensen, the Ireland bowler, who was pummelled for 42 in just three overs.
The opening partnership was 119 in 14.5 overs before Rankin eventually fell for 62 from 50 balls. He struck seven fours and two sixes. Thompson followed for 60 from 50 balls, including six fours and two sixes, and the momentum probably went out of the Warriors innings in the closing stages.
A final total of 167 for three was still an intimidating one however, and the Lightning’s reply was soon in tatters.
Kenny Carroll and Bill Coghlan, the opening batsmen, fell to Johnny Thompson and Craig Young respectively, before Coleraine spinner Rishi Chopra claimed the prize scalps of full internationals Andrew Balbirnie, Andrew Poynter and Sorensen. With John Mooney run out for just a single the Lightning were 26 for five and in deep trouble.
Rain reduced their target to 141 in 16 overs but despite 34 from 24 from Barry McCarthy, one of just two Leinster batsmen to reach double figures, they were all out for 110,
Chopra finished with three for 31 while fast bowler Young and captain Andy McBrine claimed two wickets apiece. The winning margin was 30 runs on Duckworth-Lewis.