Leinster Lightning set sights on elusive interprovincial title
North West Warriors oppose at Strabane in attempt to upset title-chasing southern outfit
Andrew Balbirnie: his unbeaten 103 helped Leinster claim the reverse fixture at Milverton at the beginning of May. Inpho/Presseye/Rowland White
After defending their three-day title with a weather-affected draw against the Northern Knights during the week, Leinster Lightning will set their sights on the only interprovincial title they have yet to win when they take on the North West Warriors at Strabane Park (10.45am).
Leinster claimed the reverse fixture at Milverton at the beginning of May, when a stunning unbeaten 103 from Andrew Balbirnie and a whirlwind 98 from 67 deliveries off the bat of Kevin O’Brien helped them secure a 19-run Duckworth-Lewis victory.
O’Brien will miss out today despite ending his participation in this year’s Caribbean Premier League last Wednesday when his side Trinidad and Tobago were knocked out by Jamaica, but Balbirnie has the weekend off from Middlesex and will travel to Strabane.
Durham’s Stuart Poynter is set to make his interprovincial seasonal debut and will add clout to the middle order in the absence of O’Brien.
Barry McCarthy has spent time in the Durham second team with Poynter this year, but faces a battle for a starting spot in a squad full of talented all-rounders.
The Warriors are missing several players including wicketkeeper Rickie-Lee Dougherty, who is also on the books of Irish League side Institute, who play at home to Coleraine this afternoon. Bready wicketkeeper Andrew Austin is called up, while fellow teenagers Rishi Chopra, Ross Allen and Gary McClintock are all included in the 12-man squad.
Five of Leinster’s 12-man squad will be in action in Sunday’s rearranged RSA Irish Senior Cup semi-finals, with Balbirnie and McCarthy playing for Pembroke at home against Clontarf. Although Poynter is registered to play for ’Tarf, the club have stuck with the players that have already claimed the Leinster Senior Cup title.
Max Sorensen and Cormac McLoughlin will travel home via north Down, with The Hills taking on the NCU side in their bid to reach the decider.
Sunday could also see the RSA Leinster League Division One title decided. YMCA need to win well over Merrion at Anglesea Road to secure their first league title since 1993.