ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – The oldest rivalry in the history of first-class matches in the Caribbean will have special meaning, as the Digicel 4-Day Championship hits the halfway stage with fifth round matches, starting tomorrow in Guyana, St. Kitts and Jamaica.
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All six franchises will be looking to give cogent proof that last weekend’s break in the tournament for rest and recovery was beneficial, as they continue to chase the Headley/Weekes Trophy, symbol of regional 4-Day supremacy.
Front-runners and three-time reigning champions Guyana Jaguars and traditionally-strong Barbados Pride started it all in the first-ever, regional first-class match more than 150 years ago, and there will be plenty at stake when they renew this bitter, long-standing rivalry in the feature match of the round.
Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, two teams that suffered setbacks in the previous round, will face each other looking to get back on track, and Jamaica Scorpions will target their second straight victory against a revamped Windward Islands Volcanoes, yet to win this season.
Jaguars vs Pride at the Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana
Jaguars are currently the only unbeaten side in the Championship and hold a double-digit lead over the Hurricanes, their nearest rivals. A woefully depleted Pride missed a few tricks in their first two matches, but have gradually regained their composure, moving into third place.
The objectives for both are quite clear: For the Jaguars, win and forge further out of reach of the rest of the pack, putting them on course for a fourth straight title; for Pride, win and slow the roll of the Jaguars in the hope of making a title run down the stretch.
A review of the key performance indicators in the last three seasons point to how competitive the two sides have been over the past three seasons, as the Pride have finished runners-up on each occasion.
The two sides have each won once in three matches at the Guyana National Stadium in the Professional Cricket League era, with the other match ending in a draw last year, and in the six matches during the PCL era, they have led each other on first innings three times apiece.
The only advantage is that the Jaguars have won twice and Pride once in the six matches in the PCL era between the two sides.
For the Pride however, they have an extra reason to play a little harder: Tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of Barbados achieving independence from Britain and a victory would be a fitting gift to the island – but the Jaguars have a far more established side and this should put them over the top.
JAGUARS (from): Leon Johnson (captain), Anthony Bramble, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Keon Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Akshaya Persaud, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Vishaul Singh
IN-Persaud, OUT-Rajendra Chandrika
PRIDE (from): Shamarh Brooks (captain), Anthony Alleyne, Jonathan Carter, Justin Greaves, Keon Harding, Aaron Jones, Shayne Moseley, Ashley Nurse, Mario Rampersaud, Shamar Springer, Kevin Stoute, Jomel Warrican, Kenroy Williams
IN–Springer, OUT–Hayden Walsh, Jr
UMPIRES: Zahid Bassarath, Verdayne Smith (Jamaica)
MATCH REFEREE: Reon King
RESERVE UMPIRE: Imran Moakan
Hurricanes vs Red Force at Warner Park in Basseterre, St. Kitts
Both sides suffered crushing blows to their confidence in the previous round and will be looking to regain their poise.
This is also expected to be a keen affair which pits the well-served Hurricanes bowling attack against a solid Red Force batting line-up.
This match is likely to be decided by how well the Hurricanes batting handles the steady, if not fearsome Red Force attack, which includes leg-spinner Imran Khan, one of the season’s most successful bowlers.
Recent history favours the Red Force in this contest: They have won four of the six matches the two sides have contested in the PCL era, including all three at the venue for this weekend’s match.
HURRICANES (from) – Rahkeem Cornwall (captain), Elvin Berridge, Sheeno Berridge, Shane Burton, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Chesney Hughes, Jeremiah Louis, Akeem Saunders, Stanny Simon, Devon Thomas, Gavin Tonge, Terence Warde
IN–Elvin Berridge, Burton, Tonge, OUT–Nkrumah Bonner, Keacy Carty, Mervin Matthew
RED FORCE (from) – Denesh Ramdin (captain), Yannic Cariah, Bryan Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Kyle Hope, Amir Jangoo, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Khary Pierre, Roshon Primus, Jeremy Solozano, Daniel St. Clair, Tion Webster
UMPIRES: Johnaton Blades (Barbados), Leslie Reifer, Jr (Barbados)
MATCH REFEREE: Stewart Rawlins
RESERVE UMPIRE: Carl Tuckett
Scorpions vs Volcanoes at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica
Scorpions won handsomely in the previous round, ensuring Volcanoes are the only side without a win this season, so this means there is plenty for which the two sides can play in this round.
For Scorpions, they will be hoping that the wet weather weeks stays away long enough for them to notch another victory to move further up in the standings, and for Volcanoes, it will be to capture that elusive maiden victory.
Bowling is the strength of both sides, so the deciding factor will be how their batting line-ups cope with the pressure.
Recent results highly favour Scorpions however, as they have won four of the six contests between the two sides in the PCL era, including all three at Sabina Park.
SCORPIONS (from) – Nikita Miller (captain), Fabian Allen, John Campbell, Assad Fudadin, Garth Garvey, Derval Green, Trevon Griffith, Damion Jacobs, Brandon King, Reynard Leveridge, Paul Palmer, Steven Taylor, Oshane Thomas
IN–Allen, OUT–Dennis Bulli
VOLCANOES (from) – Tyrone Theophile (captain), Audy Alexander, Miles Bascombe, Roland Cato, Kenneth Dember, Tarryck Gabriel, Donwell Hector, Delorn Johnson, Sherman Lewis, Kyle Mayers, Shane Shillingford, Dennis Smith, Devon Smith
IN-Bascombe, Dember, Hector, Johnson, Dennis Smith, OUT-Gian Benjamin, Kirk Edwards, Kavem Hodge, Ray Jordan, Liam Sebastien
UMPIRES: Christopher Taylor, Gregory Brathwaite (Barbados)
MATCH REFEREE: Denovan Hayles
RESERVE UMPIRE: Jacqueline Williams