Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Scorpions stay in contention against Red Force

Jamaica Scorpions pacer Nicholson Gordon turned in a big performance against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in their bottom-of-the-table fixture of the 2018-2019 West Indies Championship, at the Brian Lara Cricket Ground.

Gordon followed up his destruction of the Red Force top-order batting the previous day by leading the demolition of the bottom half, finishing with career-best figures, before the Scorpions’ stayed in contention with defiant batting before stumps were drawn on the second day of their rescheduled first round match on Friday.

Gordon claimed three of the last five Red Force scalps – including top-scorer, West Indies international Jason Mohammed for 94 – to end with an impressive 7-70 from 22 overs.

Starting the day on 338 for five, the home team could find little stability from the rest of the batting, after Mohammed was dismissed in the second over of the day. They were eventually bowled out for 389.

Part-time leg-spinner Nkrumah Bonner brought the innings to a close, when he trapped West Indies strike bowler Shannon Gabriel lbw for nine, finishing with 2-43 from 10.5 overs.

In their reply, Jamaica Scorpions reached 282-6 at stumps, 107 runs behind.

Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood propped up the top order of the Scorpions batting with 66 – his third half-century of the season – and shared the same number for the fourth wicket with Guyanese left-hander Assad Fudadin.

But the visitors stumbled to 187 for five and required a stand of 81 – unbroken – between Bonner, not out on 42, and Brandon King to beef up their total.

King fell form 59 in the fourth-last over before the close, as Gabriel and new-ball partner Anderson Phillip ended the day with two scalps apiece.

Scores in the match heading into Saturday's third and penultimate day are:- Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 389; Jamaica Scorpions 282-6.

OVER AT THE SIR VIVIAN RICHARDS CRICKET GROUND IN ANTIGUA: A bizarre second innings declaration by Leeward Islands Hurricanes captured the headlines on the day.

The Hurricanes – trailing by 101 on first innings – declared their second innings on 83 for two about 40 minutes after lunch in their rescheduled fourth-round match, thus conceding defeat and handing Barbados Pride an innings and 18 runs victory.

More importantly, Hurricanes’ bid to hold onto second place in the Championship failed, as the result moved the Pride into that position on 134.2 points – a mere 0.2 more than their hosts – who will secure third place, regardless of the outcome in the match between Jamaica Scorpions and Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.

Opener Montcin Hodge was not out on 40 – carrying his aggregate for the season to 711 and second only to the 745 of veteran Windward Islands Volcanoes left-hander opener Devon Smith – and Akeem Saunders was not out on five when the decision to declare was taken.

The Hurricanes had lost Keacy Carty caught at second slip off Marquino Mindley for four in the second over, and almost an hour later, Devon Thomas was caught at first slip off Keon Harding for 21 – and were probably looking to rebuild before their bizarre decision.

Earlier, starting the day on 154 for four in reply to Hurricane's first innings total of 90, the Pride declared their first innings on 191-8, after the first 45 minutes’ play.

Captain Shamarh Brooks finished with the top score of 82 – after resuming on 79 – and overnight partner, West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich was dismissed without adding to his overnight 28.

Keon Harding made 21 and was only one of the remaining batsmen that got into double figures, as West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph ended with 4-28 from 12.5 overs and his captain, champion off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall finished with 3-86 to end with a Championship-high 54 wickets.

Final scores in the game: the Leeward Islands Hurricanes 90 & 83-2 declared; Barbados Pride 191-8 declared.

Guyana Jaguars were on Thursday confirmed as five-time winners of the West Indies Championship.

This followed a career-best spell from Keon Harding that triggered a batting collapse by the Leeward Islands Hurricanes – their nearest rivals – to give Barbados Pride the upper hand on the first day of their match.

More importantly, Hurricanes blew the highly improbable, if not impossible chance they had of making a last-ditch grab for the Headley/Weekes Trophy, the symbol of supremacy in the West Indies first-class game, as they needed the absolute maximum 24 points and failed to get a single batting bonus point.

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