By E. Glenford Prescott
The Windward Islands Volcanoes head into their final match of the 2014/15 regional first class season against new champions Guyana Jaguars at Windsor Park, still with a chance of snatching the number two spot from Barbados Pride.
The islanders will be hoping to erase the memories of a defeat against the champions in their first meeting in Guyana.
The Jaguars secured their first win against the Windwards since 2003 and this weekend they will seek to rewrite the record books with a first win in the Windwards in 13 years.
The WICB said prior to that second round defeat that the Volcanoes had won five of the previous seven matches against the Jaguars and have won the last two times the sides have played in Dominica.
Injury has forced the Volcanoes to bring uncapped Dominican batsman Jerlanie Robinson into their squad for SVG’s Miles Bascombe, but the visitors travelled with an unchanged unit, the WICB website reports.
The Windwards go into this weekend’s match still shadowed by their questionable team selection and poor batting display against Barbados Pride, thereby forfeiting their slight chance of copping the 2015 title. But as they entered that match separated from the Barbados Pride by two points — Barbados 100, Windwards 98 — the gap remains 108/106, after their drawn match at the Kensington Oval on Monday.
The Volcanoes though looked on course to suffer a shock defeat after being set 232 for victory, they fell to 29 for three before surviving some anxious moments to finish on 101 for six, to share the points from the contest. Keddy Lesporis continued his miserable season with his second failure of the match and is expected to lose his place for the final match.
Reports say they were undermined by left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, who grabbed five for 29-his third five-wicket haul against the Windwards after doing so twice at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, once for CCC and then for Barbados last year. However, Dalton Polius top scored with 32 and added 41 for the fourth wicket with Romel Currency who stroked 18, a partnership that repaired the damage.
Polius, whose place in the team seemed to have dumbfounded commentators as much as the omission of Miles Bascombe and Kenroy Peters, faced 88 balls in 97 minutes and with 4 fours, before he went LBW to Warrican at 73/5.
Captain Liam Sebastien, who seemed more occupied with time wasting than batting to survive, was bowled in comical fashion around his legs by Warrican playing no shot to leave the Windwards in some bother at 85/6.
But wicketkeeper Denis Smith, in only his second first class game, occupied the crease 49 minutes for his unbeaten 17 to quell Barbados’ quest for victory.
Earlier, the Windwards, who at one stage had passed the 300 mark with a solitary wicket down, were bowled out for 416 after resuming the day on 394 for 8, handing Barbados a first innings lead of 64.
Fast bowler Miguel Cummins picked up the last two wickets to end with 3 for 83 while off-spinner Ashley Nurse did not add to his tally of four for 98.
The hosts then got to 167 for 5 in their second innings before declaring, with Royston Chase top scoring with 65 off 97 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes. He made a century when the two teams met in the first match at the Arnos Vale Playing Field in December.
Shane Dowrich was unbeaten on 33 from 51 balls while Kevin Stoute hit 29 and Kraigg Brathwaite, 25.
Stoute and Brathwaite put on 52 for the first wicket before Barbados lost 4 quick wickets for 21 runs to slump to 73 for 4.
However, Chase and Dowrich put on 94 for the fifth wicket to tilt the balance back in Barbados’ favour.
Left-arm spinner Alston Bobb claimed three for 55 to take his season tally to 31 wickets and Shane Shillingford, 2 for 65 to take his to 32.