An Oraine Williams century was the highlight of Day Two in the final match in this season’s Hanley Energy InterProvincial series as Leinster Lightning entertained the North West Warriors at a sun-drenched Malahide.
With no play possible on Tuesday it was to be a simple enough equation for the hosts- a bonus point draw over the next two days would mean a second consecutive clean sweep of the Interprovincial trophies for the dominant Dubliners.
The Warriors though were in no mood to roll over, and after what was a turgid start to proceedings in the first session, Williams showed his quality with a superb knock.
Andrew Austin (27) fared best of the top order as early wickets from Kevin O’Brien, Simi Singh and Tyrone Kane saw the visitors reduced from 65 for 1 to 67-4 just before lunch.
The afternoon session speaked into life with Williams and his Eglinton team-mate Stuart Thompson (20) adding 48 for the 5th wicket before the West Indian teamed up with debutant Graham Kennedy.
The Ballyspallen teenager - coincidentally celebrating his 17th birthday today - never looked out of place for a moment as the pair added 110 for the 6th wicket- Williams by some way the aggressor as he raced to his century in good time.
Kennedy made 28 before being trapped in front by George Dockrell while Williams finally went for a 150-ball 121 than included 12 fours and 2 sixes. It was the 11th time since the series was re-vamped that a player has gone to three figures in the longer format and the third by a North West batsman - Kyllin Vardhan and Stuart Thompson are the others.
Craig Young’s excellent 36 from just 34 balls late on (4 fours and a 6), plus 19 from Suraj Randiv allowed the Warriors to edge over the 300-mark and claim the 4th batting point, however having been bowled out, that meant the required bonus points were also now in the bag for Lightning.
O’Brien (3-45) was the pick of the attack although Dockrell (2-64 from 17), Singh (1-26 from 10) and Eddie Richardson (1-32 from 14) all bowled well.
Realistically the Lightning batsmen just had to avoid the follow-on from there (target 203) but they got a very early scare at the start of their reply as Young had Jack Tector caught by Kennedy at backward point from just the second ball of the innings.
Skipper Anderson refused to let the bowlers settle however as he found the rope regularly before Thompson then trapped Singh in front for 4. That left the score 29-2 but Andy McBrine’s men were unable to build on their bright start as Anderson (40*) and Sean Terry (7*) saw Leinster through to the close on 61-2 from 16 overs.
The final day’s play at Malahide starts on Thursday at 11am with the home side now needing just to avoid defeat to claim the title.
HANLEY ENERGY INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
At Malahide, Day 2 close of play
NW Warriors 302 all out (85.4 overs, O Williams 121, C Young 36, G Kennedy 28, A Austin 27, S Thompson 20, K O’Brien 3-45, G Dockrell 2-64)
Leinster Lightning 61-2 (16 overs, J Anderson 40*)