Inter-Provincial Cup: Leinster take win over Northern Knights

Leinster's Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien top-scored for Leinster with 89 not out as his side saw off Northern Knights

Inter-Provincial Cup holders Leinster Lightning saw off Northern Knights at Stormont as they won by six wickets with more than six overs to spare.

The Knights were 115-4 off 30 overs at one stage and should have accumulated more than their final total of 221.

Greg Thompson top-scored for the hosts with 61 while Jamie Holmes made 42.

In reply, the visitors ended on 226-4, with Kevin O'Brien and Andrew Poynter combining for a brilliant undefeated fifth wicket partnership of 148.

O'Brien ended his innings on 89 not out, with Poynter unbeaten on 56 after 43.4 overs of Leinster's reply.

Knights in trouble early on

After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Knights soon found themselves in trouble as Eddie Richardson (3-40) struck in his second over to dismiss both Nigel Jones (2) and Lee Nelson (4) to leave the Knights 6-2 in the third over.

Civil Service North professional Mansoor Amjad only managed 11 on his Inter-Provincial debut, with Chris Dougherty (32) and the in-form Holmes leading the recovery for the Knights as they took their time and ensured there was a platform from which to build a big total.

Once Dougherty and Holmes departed it seemed like the Knights might struggle to post a competitive total at 154-6, but an excellent innings Thompson helped push the Knights past the 200 mark with time to spare.

Two wickets in an over from Kevin O'Brien (2-32) stemmed the flow of runs, allowing Tyrone Kane (2-32) to pick up the final wicket and finish the innings two balls early, leaving the Lighting needing 222 to win.

Leinster off to flying start

Dom Joyce opened the batting for Leinster and got off to a flying start, striking five boundaries on his way to 30, before he was dismissed by Knights debutant Graeme McCarter, who, after a short rain delay also picked up the wicket of John Anderson (5).

Simi Singh lasted 11 balls but failed to trouble the scorers before he was dismissed, and when opener Fintan McAllister also fell for 30 the Knights suddenly found the momentum swinging in their favour, with three quick wickets after the restart leaving their opponents 78-4.

With changeable weather still around and the threat of Duckworth-Lewis-Stern coming into play, experienced Ireland internationals O'Brien and Poynter steadied the ship for the Lightning and then quickly blasted their way ahead of the par score to relieve pressure and force the Knights into attack.

With the home side desperately in search of a wicket to break the O'Brien-Poynter partnership, opening bowler Phil Eaglestone could not hold on to a caught and bowled opportunity after Poynter hit one back at him, the chance coming at a crucial point when a wicket could have seen the Knights come back into the game.

It was not to be for the Knights though, and the pair took control of the game and other than that one chance never really looked to be in trouble.

Ulster Knights 221 (50 overs) G Thompson 61, J Holmes 42, E Richardson 3-40

Leinster Lightning. 226-4 (43.4 overs) K O'Brien 89 n.o, A Poynter 56 n.o, G McCarter 2-35