Lightning Disappointed in Bid for Victory
For the second day running Lightning were frustrated by William Porterfield as the Warriors batted through the entire day to secure a draw that had seemed so unlikely after their first innings capitulation.
Porterfield scored his maiden double-hundred (207) but was ably assisted by first Aaron Gillespie (48) and secondly Davy Rankin who also hit a record First Class score of 86.
The Lightning bowlers tried everything in their powers to take the seven wickets they needed to set up a final day chase. Two things frustrated those ambitions, a patient, skilful batting line-up and a track that offered less and less to the bowlers as the warm sun baked down throughout the final day.
“After winning the toss and getting to bowl first when it was very damp, and it was doing a lot was a big part of the game,” said Lightning captain George Dockrell at the close.
“We knew the pitch was flattening out a bit, but we still felt there was enough in there. Credit to Purdy (William Porterfield) and a lot of their guys, they batted really well, and his innings was almost chanceless.
“The patience they showed today was pretty impressive. We came back this morning thinking that if we got a couple of early wickets and got their middle order out we could maybe have something to chase but they put it out of reach fairly early.”
Porterfield added 64 runs in the morning session but perhaps just as importantly the Lightning took just two wickets in that period. Niall O’Brien who used up over 15 overs for his 37 and Andy McBrine who chopped on a delivery from Balbirnie for 10 the only ones to fall.
The Lightning trailed by just 135 at Lunch and quick wickets after the interval could still have set up a successful chase. However, Porterfield and Rankin had plenty of runs to make yet.
The duo put on 118 for the sixth wicket and the prospect of a Lightning victory receded. The Warriors weren’t scoring at a particularly quick rate either, so a declaration wasn’t likely.
Instead, Porterfield scored the second highest score in three-day InterProvincial cricket in Ireland passing Adam Dennison by one run.
After that the only issue to be decided was if Davy Rankin could reach a century of his own as the game began to meander towards its inevitable conclusion.
The Lightning bowlers ran in for every one of the 175 overs they bowled in the second innings determined to take wickets and produce the goods, something not lost on Dockrell either.
“Credit to our guys for coming here and getting out on the better side of the draw with all the bonus points. Especially with Josh Little having to sit out, Barnesy, Max and Chaser took on that load, I thought they were outstanding and charged in all day, in every single spell
“We threw everything we had at them but some days you’ve just got to appreciate a good knock that they’ve put together. Pity not to get the win but plenty of positives to take from the game,” Dockrell felt.
“The heart and application the guys showed was fantastic. Everyone has had a busy few weeks between club, interprovincial and international cricket and I knew there’d be a few sore bodies,” Dockrell acknowledged.
“Everyone just put that behind them though, gave it their all and it was impressive that the guys toiled away through all those overs and spells.”
Dockrell himself moves back to the T20 format with Ed Joyce’s Testimonial on Sunday before the two-match series against India in Malahide next week.
“We had a promising week in Holland. A disappointing couple of losses against the Netherlands but then I thought we played some really good cricket against Scotland and were unlucky not to get two wins in those games.
“T20 is so exciting and very different from what we’ve just played here, and I can’t wait to get into that with the lads,” he concluded.
With that, the Lightning players left Bready disappointed having not been able to force a victory but happy that the first innings performance had secured a bonus point advantage over the Warriors. Happy too that the team spirit and camaraderie engendered in the group was displayed in the hard toil throughout a tough day in the field today.
InterProvincial Championship at Bready
Day 3 Close
North West Warriors 80 39 overs (P Chase 5-24, M Sorensen 4-27)
Leinster Lightning 273 70.4 overs (G Dockrell 92, A Balbirnie 35; D Scanlon 4-70, S Thompson 3-72)
North West Warriors 460/9d 175 overs (W Porterfield 207, D Rankin 86; A Balbirnie 3-50, S Singh 3-64)