Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and Leeward Islands Hurricanes cast off their lowly standing in the homestretch of the first-time West Indies Cricket Board’s Professional League of four-day matches when topping higher-placed teams in ninth-round action ended yesterday.
After eight defeats Leewards who remain sixth and last on the standings recorded their first win of the competition, beating Jamaica by four wickets at Warner Park, St Kitts.
Trinidad and Tobago with two wins a draw and five losses and in fifth place on the table topped standings leaders and champions-declared Guyana Jaguars on first innings in a drawn encounter in Guyana.
Guyana had trumphed Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by an innings and 60 runs in their first-round meeting at the Queen’s Park Oval last November.
Leewards chased down a target of 165 for the win, anchored by a knock of 99 not out from captain Devon Thomas. Thomas had come at 11 for 2, with both openers gone, and the team on very shaky ground. He did not get any solid support from the middle or lower order either, as none of the other batsmen made more than 13, until No. 8 Jeremiah Louis who remained unbeaten on 18 and combined with Thomas for an unbroken 59-run stand.
Jamaica had batted first and were shot out for 175 with pacer Gavin Tonge leading Leewards’ charge, with 4 for 34. Leewards had looked like they would take a massive lead at 142 for 1, with opener Sherwin Peters hitting a century, but seamer Damion Jacobs thwarted those plans with figures of 7 for 54. Leewards were bowled out for 285, but Jamaica’s batsmen could not kick on from starts in the second innings – the only contribution of note came from Chadwick Walton, who made his second half-century of the game – and were bowled out for 274. Spinners Anthony Martin and Rahkeem Cornwall were the destroyers-in-chief the second time round for Leewards, sharing nine wickets between them.
The Leewards come to Trinidad for their last match against the Red Force starting this Friday at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva,
Guyana drew with Trinidad & Tobago, taking seven points from the match, to ensure they go into the final round of games with a comfortable lead of 22 points over second-placed Barbados. They play their final game against Windward Islands, also starting Friday when Jamaica will host Barbados.
Guyana chose to bat and got 291 courtesy contributions all through their order – five of their top eight scored between 44 and 63. T&T had similar contributions from their top and middle order, with three batsmen getting 70 or more – with getting to a hundred – to give them the first-innings lead despite Devendra Bishoo’s six-for. For the third time in the match, there were contributions through the top order without anyone kicking on in Guyana’s second innings, helping them to 266 for 5 declared. That gave T&T a target of 218. They got to 99 for 3 in 32 overs before stumps were called on the match.
Barbados and Windward Islands, Nos. 2 and 3 on the points table, began the round separated by two points. They ended the round no different, picking up eight points apiece in a draw. They go into the final round 22 and 24 points behind Guyana respectively.
Barbados chose to bat and were set up by a maiden first-class double-century from Shai Hope and a maiden first-class century from Sharmarh Brooks. The pair added 237 after Barbados made a terrible start, being reduced to 2 for 2. That partnership was the rock on which their total of 480 was built. Windwards made a fist of getting the first-innings lead, though, themselves enjoying a fine partnership early in the innings: Devon Smith and Tyrone Theophile added 269 for the opening wicket, both getting to hundreds. However, there was something of a collapse thereafter, as Windwards lost all 10 wickets for 147 runs. Barbados scored a brisk 167 for 5 declared in their second innings, setting Windwards 232 in a bid to extend their lead on the points table. It didn’t quite come off, but they did more than half the job, Windwards falling to 101 for 6 in 45 overs before the end of play.