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Warriors Edge Out Knights In T20 Thriller

Cricket Ireland

The NW Warriors kept alive their hopes of retaining the Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy with a thrilling 13 runs win over the Northern Knights in front of a large crowd at Belmont. Chasing 137, Knights skipper Lee Nelson's breezy knock of 37 from just 21 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes) had reduced the equation to 73 needed off 12 overs with 8 wickets in hand.

What should have been a formality quickly became an all too familiar collapse for the Knights despite opener Chris Dougherty top scoring with 40 from 38 balls (5 fours). The other five batsmen of their top seven shared a combined total of just 12 runs as the Warriors bowlers, backed by an athletic fielding display, turned the screw.

The Knights cause wasn't helped by having the talismanic James Shannon run out without facing a ball, while Greg Thompson (7) was also the victim of some sharp fielding. Peter Eakin (14) struck a few lusty blows but Irish internationals Craig Young (2-13), Andy Britton (2-20) and Graeme McCarter (2-26) all picked up a brace as the Warriors held their nerve to secure a 13 runs verdict.

A solid rather than spectacular batting effort saw the Warriors post 136 for 7 with five of their top six reaching double figures. David Rankin - the 2014 Twenty20 player of the year - top scored with 35 from 34 balls, sharing an opening stand of 46 with Ricky-Lee Dougherty (20).

Stuart Thompson hit 16, but the real impetus came from both Graeme McCarter and William McClintock. McCarter struck 2 sixes and a four in an entertaining 30 from 23 balls, while McClintock's quickfire 20 from 11 balls (2 fours, 1 six) was to prove crucial in the final analysis.

Zach Rushe (2-19) was the pick of the Knights attack, with Peter Eakin, Phil Eaglestone (1-21), Nigel Jones (1-21), and Lee Nelson (1-30) the other successful bowlers.

The win takes the Warriors to 8 points, needing a bonus point win against top of the table Leinster Lightning in the final game at Eglinton on June 26 if they are to have any hope of keeping the trophy.

The next action in the series, is a 50 over contest between Lightning and the Warriors at Rathmines on Sunday (10:45am).

North West Warriors 136-7 (20.0 overs) 
D Rankin 35, R Dougherty 20, G McCarter 30, W McClintock 20, Z Rushe 2-19

Northern Knights 123 all out (19.3 overs)
C Dougherty 40, L Nelson 37, G McCarter 2-26, C Young 2-13, A Britton 2-20

North West Warriors beat Northern Knights by 13 runs