McBrine steers Warriors to top

12 May 2022; Andy McBrine of North West Warriors makes a run as Ruhan Pretorius of Northern Knights looks on during the Cricket Ireland Inter-Provincial Cup match between North West Warriors and Northern Knights at Bready Cricket Club in Magheramason, Tyrone. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The North West Warriors completed a 63-run victory over the Northern Knights at Stormont, to go joint top of the Inter-Provincial Cup table.

Chasing a target of 305 was always going to be tough for the Knights, and the Warriors bowlers made sure runs were hard to come by early on, as Ryan Macbeth and Graham Hume bowled tidily to limit the Knights to 22 runs off the first ten overs – James McCollum (7) was the only batter to fall in that time, caught behind chasing a rare wide delivery off Macbeth.

Ruhan Pretorius (1) fell soon after to Conor Olphert, the Bready man getting a ball to explode from a good length, with the ball hitting the top of the batter’s handle and ballooning to Graham Kennedy who took a tidy catch at backward point.

Jeremy Lawlor (8) and Knights captain Mark Adair (19) both fell to Graham Kennedy’s wily left arm spin as the Knights slumped to 87-4 in the 26th over. The only bright spot for the Knights at that stage was Aniruddha Chore, who batted with poise in compiling 65 off 85 balls, including three fours and a six, before he perished trying to clear mid-on as the Knights found themselves 131-5 in the 32nd over, and in danger of subsiding as the asking rate increased.

However, Neil Rock and Ross Adair had other ideas, launching a vicious counterattack in a partnership of 64 off 36 balls. During a chaotic half hour, Olphert forced a top edge off Adair who was dropped at mid-wicket before the batter then bludgeoned the subsequent seven balls Olphert bowled to him for 36 runs. At the other end Neil Rock was enterprising, hitting Hume for two sixes and a four in a single over, while Andy McBrine went for dots and singles at the other end.

It was Hume who got the vital breakthrough however, when Adair failed to clear mid-on in trying to execute his sixth maximum, falling for 45 off 22 balls. Neil Rock continued to take the attack to the Warriors bowlers, the 21-year-old wicketkeeper batter hitting his second List A half-century. He would soon fall for 62, and Olphert soon picked up his third wicket to finish with 3-83. Soon after the Knights were all out for 241 as the Warriors claimed a valuable bonus point for their efforts.

Earlier in the day, the Knights made one change to the side that lost by 19 runs against the Munster Reds in Cork nine days ago, with Matthew Humphreys named as 12th man and seamer Tom Mayes getting a List A debut after bowling impressively during the IP20 Festival in Comber last weekend. Meanwhile, the Warriors swapped Nathan McGuire for Scott Macbeth, the 17-year-old righted handed batter selected for his third List A appearance.

For the Knights, the match was an opportunity to return to form after a winless IP20 Festival weekend and they had a perfect start as William Porterfield pulled a back of a length ball from Mark Adair into the gleeful hands of James McCollum at midwicket off the second ball of the game.

Any attempts at making further inroads were scuppered as Warriors Captain Andy McBrine joined Stephen Doheny, and the pair batted with total assuredness in accumulating 240 runs over the next 41.3 overs, the second highest partnership in the competition’s history and helping the Warriors set a mammoth total.

Andy McBrine was the main aggressor, his innings marked by resplendent drives through cover and mid-off when the bowlers erred too full and peppering the square boundaries when the Knights dropped the slightest bit short. Ben White was the victim of three late cuts in the space of eight balls, first to the left and then right of backward point, and one clipped fine just before arriving in the wicketkeeper’s gloves in a passage of play that underlined McBrine’s form and ability to toy with the fielders.

McBrine brought up his second List A century in as many games, in the 36th over, off just 113 balls, with a pull shot to the midwicket boundary. As is typical of the man, McBrine would barely interrupt his focus to acknowledge the landmark and soon after he hit towering sweeps for a six and four as the Warriors hurtled along.

Conventional cricket looked unlikely to disturb McBrine and it would take a run-out to dismiss him for 117, with Doheny tapping one to point that was swiftly picked up by Jeremy Lawlor whose direct hit at the non-striker’s end found an over-committed McBrine well short of his ground.

Up to that point Doheny had batted steadily, offering the strike to McBrine at will in bringing up his half century off 81 balls. Doheny scored all but one of his eight boundaries through the cover and point region, unlocking width by staying slightly leg side of the ball and utilising his touch to nudge ones and twos. He will be frustrated to have missed out on a much-deserved first List A century, falling for 97 when a Mayes bouncer cramped the 23-year-old whose pull shot ballooned to square leg where Ben White took a smart catch running in.

Shane Getkate (8) came and went before Graham Hume put the icing on the cake for the Warriors along with Jared Wilson (21*), by scoring 27* off 15, including two fours and a six straight over Ruhan Pretorius’ head and over the sightscreen to bring up the Warriors 300 off the last ball of the innings.

To their credit, the Knights chopped and changed their bowling in search of breakthroughs and fought bravely with the bat, but the Warriors were just too strong on the day. The IP50 Competition continues on Tuesday when the Munster Reds host Leinster Lightning at the Mardyke in Cork County.


Northern Knights v North West Warriors, Inter-Provincial 50 over Trophy, Stormont, 2 June 2022

North West Warriors 304-4 (50 overs; A McBrine 117, S Doheny 97; T Mayes 1-44)

Northern Knights 241 (46.1 overs; A Chore 65, N Rock 62; C Olphert 3-83)

NW Warriors won by 63 runs