Match drawn but Jamaica crowned champs
Gros Islet, St. Lucia, (CMC) – Two promising batsmen, Jermaine Blackwood and Sunil Ambris, featured prominently with breakthrough hundreds before Jamaica claimed the Headley/Weekes Trophy with a tame draw against Windward Islands in the Final on Tuesday here.
Blackwood completed his maiden first-class hundred of 118, propping up the Jamaicans’ batting, as they were dismissed for 200 in their second innings about half-hour before lunch on the last day of the finale to the Regional 4-Day Tournament.
This left the Windwards to chase a highly improbable, if not impossible target of 376 on a docile Beausejour Cricket pitch, and Ambris used the relaxed atmosphere to carve out his second first-class hundred of 102, as Windwards reached 204 for six in their second innings when play ended an hour before the scheduled close.
The result meant that the visitors clinched the Trophy by virtue of accumulating a higher number of points in the match. They ended with eight, including two batting points and three bowling points, while the Windwards finished with five.
The Headley/Weekes Trophy was inaugurated five years ago in honour of the late Jamaica and West Indies batting legend George Headley, and living Barbados and West Indies batting legend Sir Everton Weekes.
Blackwood, a graduate of the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre, struck 15 fours and two sixes from 170 balls in 3 ¾ hours.
He reached his hundred from 159 balls, when he dragged a delivery from left-arm medium-fast bowler Kenroy Peters into square leg for a single.
Blackwood shared two vital tail-end stands – 33 with Damion Jacobs for the eighth wicket and 30 with Sheldon Cottrell for the last wicket – before being caught at straight mid-wicket off Windward captain Liam Sebastien, bowling his off-spin, to bring the Jamaica innings to a close.
Peters was the most successful Windwards bowler with 6-66 from 17 overs, Mervin Matthew grabbed 2-35 from 11 overs and Sebastien grabbed 2-46 from 18 overs.
Ambris, a highly-regarded former Young West Indies batsman, batted almost 2 ½ hours, faced 120 balls and struck 13 fours and one six.
He reached his hundred from 118 balls, when he lofted Andre McCarthy, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, over long-on for his only six.
Along the way, he put on 58 for the third wicket with veteran left-handed opener Devon Smith and shared 83 for the fifth wicket with his elder brother Romel Currency before he was caught behind chasing a delivery from McCarthy.
Smith hit 40 and fellow opener Tyrone Theophile got 22, but no other Windwards batsman made it to 20.
McCarthy ended with 2-13 from five overs and leg-spinner Jacobs finished with 2-75 from 22 overs.
There was a bizarre twist to the day, when the players seemed content to end play at tea-time with both teams meeting halfway between their respective dressing rooms for the typical post-play shake of hands.
Ground-staff had extracted the stumps and started to water the outfield, but were soon informed that play would resume as scheduled after the break.
Under tournament rules, play on the last day could not be ended until 75 overs had been bowled on the day or 4 p.m. East Caribbean Time (Jamaica minus an hour), whichever is the later.
Jamaica 1st Innings: 392 All Out (147.4 Overs). Jermaine Blackwood 94, Nkrumah Bonner 88, Nikita Miller 64*, Andre McCarthy 62; Mervin Matthew 31-8-68-3, Kenroy Peters 27-7-59-3, Shane Shillingford 16.1-0-55-2, Liam Sebastien 47.3-7-103-1.
Windward Islands 1st Innings: 217 All Out (79 Overs). Devon Smith 111, Tyrone Theophile 59, Liam Sebastien* 11*, Kenroy Peters 10; Damion Jacobs 22-6-47-8, Nikita Miller 27-11-48-1, Tamar Lambert 5-1-12-0, Jerome Taylor 12-1-41-0.
Jamaica 2nd Innings: 200 All Out (58 Overs). Jermaine Blackwood 118, Damion Jacobs 21, Tamar Lambert* 20, Carlton Baugh+ 14; Kenroy Peters 17-3-66-6, Liam Sebastien 18-6-46-2, Mervin Matthew 11-0-35-2, Shane Shillingford 11-1-33-0.
Windward Islands 2nd Innings: 204/6 (58 Overs). Sunil Ambris 102, Devon Smith 40, Tyrone Theophile 22, Romel Currency 18; Andre McCarthy 5-1-13-2, Damion Jacobs 22-4-75-2, Jerome Taylor 8-2-25-1, Sheldon Cottrell 7-1-22-1.
Match Drawn ~ Jamaica won the Headley/Weekes Trophy