NORTHERN Knights enjoyed one of their best ever days in the inter-provincial championship when they dismissed holders Leinster Lightning for 77 at Castle Avenue with Ireland international Graeme McCarter leading the way with five wickets.

It was McCarter’s best figures in the competition and Lightning’s lowest total, comfortably beating their own tournament record of 101, in the opening match on this ground last season. Ominously for Knights, the Leinster side posted 367 for five in the second innings against North West Warriors, but of the top seven in that match only John Anderson and Andrew Poynter are in this under-strength line-up.

That should not detract from a marvellous sustained spell of new ball bowling, admittedly in helpful conditions, by McCarter and Waringstown’s Phil Eaglestone who played the last of his 16 internationals in 2011.

Eaglestone dismissed both openers, Dom Joyce and Jack Tector, in his first four overs to reduce Lightning to 11 for three with McCarter claiming the big wicket of skipper Anderson in between.

The Civil Service opening bowler, in only his second match for the Knights, then ripped through the middle order with Simmi Singh, Poynter and Eddie Richardson scoring just 34 between them; Joe Carroll at No 7 was top scorer with 15.

In the first half of the day, curtailed by 18 overs due to rain and bad light, the Knights batsmen enjoyed themselves before James Shannon declared on 371-8, the second highest three-day total.

The captain, resuming the second day 62 not out, added 23 more before he was leg before after batting for 351 minutes, but it was the seventh wicket stand of 96 which put Knights in control. Shane Getkate scored 64 from 79 balls with seven fours and a six and McCarter, his new club team-mate, hit 43 off 52 with five fours and two sixes.

With a first innings lead of 294, the follow-on was enforced and Knights should have a full day to finish the job.

Northern Knights 1st inns 371-8 dec (J Shannon 85, N Smith 77, S Getkate 64 not out, G McCarter 43, J Holmes 25 L Nelson 23; G Dockrell 2-52, P Chase 2-57, J Carroll 2-61)

Leinster Lightning 77 (J Carroll 15; G McCarter 5-24, J McCollum 2-4, P Eaglestone 2-22) and 1-0 (0.2 overs). Today 11am-6.30pm