Nick Larkin scored a magnificent double century, as Northern Knights posted an imposing 412-3 on the first day of their RSA Inter-Provincial Championship 3-day game with Leinster Lightning at Waringstown.
North Down batsman Larkin finished the day unbeaten on 200*, from 299 balls, with Ireland batsman James Shannon also at the crease on 28* from 54 deliveries.
Larkin’s double ton is the first ever scored in Inter-Provincial cricket, beating the previous record of 198 scored by Alf Masood for North Leinster in 1983.
Larkin put on 169 for the first wicket with Chris Dougherty, before the CIYMS batsman was finally dismissed for 88, lbw to Lightning skipper John Mooney.
Dougherty was the stand-out Knights player in the first 3-day game between the sides at College Park in June, carrying his bat for 60 runs from 127 balls in the first innings, then adding another 69 runs when following on in the second innings in an almost seven-hour stint at the crease.
It was an example followed by his opening colleague in the return match at Waringstown, as Larkin occupied the crease for all 98 overs of the day.
He was well backed up by Craig Ervine, who scored 50 in 84 balls in a second-wicket stand of 145 in 195 deliveries, before he was bowled by Tyrone Kane. The Merrion youngster was the eighth of nine bowlers Mooney turned to on a tough day in the field for the Lightning.
Larkin’s scoring rate was far from funereal, and he bought up his ton in 143 balls with his 13th four, in an over where he plundered 18 runs off Lightning bowler Peter Chase.
Lightning could have dismissed Larkin in the 35th over, but wicketkeeper Ben Ackland shelled a straightforward edge off the bowling of Max Sorensen.
It was a mediocre day in the field for Lightning all round. Ervine was dropped in the slips off Chase when he had scored just 13, then substitute fielder Paul Lawson put down Nigel Jones on the long-on boundary off John Anderson in the 80th over, the final delivery before the new ball was taken.
Jones was eventually dismissed for 23 from 23 balls with a ball from Mooney that nipped back off a length.
Larkin and Shannon then put on an unbroken stand of 56 in 15.2 overs for the fourth wicket, with Larkin completing his double century off the third ball of the 97th over.
RSA INTER-PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
At Waringstown, Day 1 close of play
Northern Knights 412-3 (98 overs, Nick Larkin 200*, Chris Dougherty 88, Craig Ervine 50, James Shannon 28*, Nigel Jones 23, John Mooney 2-50) v Leinster Lightning.