Rodger Gibson on Tuesday protests the exclusion of opener Desron Maloney. (Photo: E. Glenford Prescott)

By E. Glenford Prescott

Defending champions Dominica tighten their grip on the 2015 senior Windward Islands cricket title after a sound batting performance followed by very effective bowling when they took to the field on the opening day of the third and final round at the main Arnos Vale Playing Field on Tuesday.

The match also saw one protester showing his disappointed with the omission of opener Desron Maloney from the SVG final 11 for the third match in succession.

Rodger Gibson, a local cricketer, was seen displaying on the fringes of the boundary at the start of play a placard that read, “Desron Malone deserves to play”.

Gibson told I-Witness News that Maloney, who was the second leading runscorer in 2015 in the national premier division and the leading runscorer in 2014, was being hard-done since other people were failing and were still being retained in the team.

“It is really unfair what they are doing to young cricketers,” he shouted in his usual boisterous way.

Local cricket officials refused to comment on the matter, with one person just saying that Maloney was “just unfortunate”.

Liam Sebastien drives through the covers during his innings. (Photo: E. Glenford Prescott)
Liam Sebastien drives through the covers during his innings. (Photo: E. Glenford Prescott)

On the field — after winning the toss and electing to bat, the tournament leaders paced themselves admirably behind a well-compiled half century by captain Liam Sebastien to reach 232 then had the hometeam 88/3 when stumps were drawn.

The Vincentians, who trailed their opponents by eight points going into the final round 27/35, were set back early in their reply when the out of sorts Miles Bascombe (0) went second ball, caught at the wicket by Gian Benjamin off Mervin Mathew with the total on nought. Atticus Browne (11) and Sunil Ambris, surviving some anxious moments, took the score to 45 before Browne was adjudged LBW to one from Shane Shillingford that appeared to go straight on with the batsman just pushing from the crease. Ambris (48) and elder brother Romel Currency then added 27 for the third wicket before Ambris was adjudged LBW to Sebastien, pushing long forward but hit low on the front pad. The batsman looked disappointed and the shouts from the spectators with the decision told the story. He struck 6 fours and 1 six and batted 70 minutes and faced 60 balls.

Alston Bobb getting some treatment to injured hand. (Photo: E. Glenford Prescott)
Alston Bobb getting some treatment to injured hand. (Photo: E. Glenford Prescott)

Currency (9) and Gidron Pope (10), who returned to the side after the absence of fastbowler Delorn Johnson to a West Indies four-day fastbowlers camp, battled to the end with some close shaves and spilled chances, with their team still 144 runs in arrears.

Mathew has so far taken 1/8, Sebastien 1/13, and Shillingford 1/13 as well.

Earlier, Dominica, on winning the toss, chose to bat in conditions that gave the Vincentian new ball bowlers of Kenroy Peters and Darnley Grant some encouragement against Tyrone Theophile and Jerlarni Robinson.

Tyrone Theophile drives through the offside. (Photo: E. Glenford Prescott)
Tyrone Theophile drives through the offside. (Photo: E. Glenford Prescott)

Robinson (1) was the first to go with the total on 8, when a magnificent direct throw from grant at backward of square found him short as he attempted a second run. It was 2/17 when Kavem Hodge (0) touched a wide one from Peters through to wicketkeeper, Lindon James. Theophile, who has endured a terrible tournament to date, looked to be running into form with some 9 flowing shots as well as a six-over long-on off Peters. However, when he reached 39 — his best score of the tournament — he flashed at a wide one from Grant was comfortably taken at first slip chest high by Ambris to make the total 3/52.

Sebastien, who entered at the fall of Hodge’s wicket, was joined Kershaski JnoLewis and they took the score to 94 in quick time. Jnolewis (25) was then caught by Grant driving airily. Kevin James (16) then added 43 with his captain before being run-out advancing out of his crease enough for Pope to throw the ball back onto the stumps and catch him short.

Benjamin (14) then featured in a 50-run partnership with his captain before hitting a catch to Ambris off the bowling of legspinner Keron Cottoy at 187/6. Sebastien (86) was seventh man out when he was taken short in on the offside by Grant with score 192/. He struck 12 fours, batted 196 minutes and faced 147 balls. Cottoy then removed Oscar George (18) and Vincent Lewis (0) while Dember took the wicket of Shillingford (4) to end the innings, which had lasted 75.5 overs.

Cottoy finished with 4/44, Dember 2/44 with Grant 1/52 and Peters 1/54 sharing the wickets.

The tournament ends on Wednesday.