Records come tumbling down: North West Warriors dominate against Leinster Lightning
Stuart Thompson and Niall O'Brien hit unbeaten centuries as they shared a record-breaking partnership of 265 on a day dominated by the NW Warriors against defending champions Leinster Lightning.
It all looked very different in the first hour as Warriors struggled against the new ball after being inserted under gloomy Dublin skies at Sydney Parade.
Ireland skipper William Porterfield was bowled by Tyrone Kane without playing a shot for just two, while fellow opener David Barr was caught behind off the bowling of Peter Chase for 16.
The score at that stage after an hour’s play was 26 for 2, but Warriors fought back with Ireland Under-19 international Aaron Gillespie leading the way with a flurry of boundaries on his way to an entertaining half century.
The Strabane all-rounder struck six fours and cleared the ropes once on his way to 57, before being well caught by Kevin O’Brien off Chase (2-101).
That was to be the end of any success for an increasingly beleaguered Lightning attack who toiled away as Thompson and O’Brien timed their innings to perfection.
The records tumbled along the way as the pair grew in confidence throughout their near 65 overs in the middle. Thompson scored his maiden first-class hundred, finishing on 136 not out from 198 deliveries (18 fours, 1 six).
O’Brien made his maiden Championship century - the 16th player to reach the landmark - on his way to his 15th first-class hundred, ending the day on 129 not out (13 fours, 1 six).
Their unbroken stand of 265 is also a tournament record, beating Bill Coghlan and Fintan McAllister’s 196 at Castle Avenue in 2015.
A clearly delighted Warriors coach Ian McGregor said afterwards: “I don’t think there have been too many better days for North-West cricket since the interprovincials were revived in their current format.
“There’s a lot of hard work which has gone on over the winter, and we’ve all been lifted by the presence of the internationals. We’ve a very strong squad now with seven senior internationals and having Boyd Rankin and William Porterfield involved has given everyone a real lift.
“This is an important game for a lot of people with obviously places up for grabs in the Test team. It’s great to have senior players at the top of their game in amongst our good, young local players is a great mix.
“Stuart and Niall both batted superbly and a word of praise for Aaron Gillespie who didn’t look out of place amongst all those internationals.
“That’s testament to him and the work he’s put in over the last 18 months.”
The second day gets under way on Wednesday at 11am.
D Barr c Tucker b Chase 16
W Porterfield b Kane 2
A Gillespie c K O’Brien b Chase 57
N O’Brien not out 129
S THompson not out 136
Total (3 wkts, 104 overs) 358
Fall: 1-7 2-26 3-93
Bowling: T Kane 22-5-69-1; P Chase 21-3-101-2; K O’Brien 15-3-38-0;
G Dockrell 21-2-77-0; S Singh 24-7-60-0; J Anderson 1-0-3-0