ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Every team has a reason to approach this weekend’s fourth round of matches in the WICB Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day Tournament with purpose.
Following the contest of these matches, the Tournament will take a near two-month hiatus due to the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season and the shift to the NAGICO Super50 Tournament, so teams will jostle to put themselves in a favourable position.
This round will test the relative strengths of each team against their opponents, as Windward Islands Volcanoes meet Barbados Pride at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex in St. Vincent, the Jamaica Franchise hosts Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Sabina Park and Trinidad & Tobago Red Force welcome leaders Guyana Jaguars at Queen’s Park Oval.
In St. Vincent: Both teams will be looking to ride the wave of victories in the previous match that spurred their season after early setbacks.
The Volcanoes rebounded from two straight defeats in their first two matches to roll over the Hurricanes in a home match at the Grenada National Stadium, and the Pride defied the weather that has dogged all three of their matches to stun the Jaguars with a sensational, two-run loss, defending a modest target of 69, at the Guyana National Stadium.
Recent results make this match very interesting, as the two teams have done well on each other’s briar patch which does not bode well for the hosts.
Four of the Volcanoes’ six victories over the Pride in the modern era of West Indies first-class matches have come since the turn of the century and all have been on the road in Barbados, where they have won the last two fixtures between the two sides.
But the Pride have won all but one of the seven matches the two sides have played in the Windwards since the turn of the century, including twice at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex.
The Pride travelled with an unchanged squad from Guyana, but the Volcanoes have brought in talented batsman Kavem Hodge following the elevation of veteran opener Devon Smith to the West Indies Test squad in South Africa.
In Kingston: Two sides at the opposite ends of the standings will seek the same result, but take different approaches.
The Jamaica Franchise, flying high from their victory over the Red Force in Port of Spain, face the Hurricanes, aiming to put together a complete performance that will turn their season around.
History favours the home team. They have won the last five matches between the two teams, including twice at Sabina Park.
But he visitors however, can take comfort in the knowledge that their previous victory over their hosts came at the same venue five years ago.
Both sides have made changes to their line-ups.
The Jamaica Franchise have brought left-handed opener John Campbell in to replace Nkrumah Bonner and Gavon Brown is included following the elevation of fellow left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell to the West Indies Test squad in South Africa.
Leewards have included former captain Steve Liburd and heavy-set all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall for a bit more experience, and spinner Colin Hamer has been called up for the first time. They replace Anthony Martin, Akeem Saunders and Jacques Taylor.
In Port of Spain: Both teams will be looking for a shot of confidence, following defeats in their previous match, when the Red Force sunk to a deflating, second straight defeat on home soil this season against the Jamaica Franchise and the Jaguars crashed to gut-wrenching, two-run loss against the Pride, chasing a modest 69 for victory.
Recent results favour the Red Force. They have won three of the 10 matches between the two sides over the last decade including twice at this venue and have held the first innings advantage in five of the six matches that ended in a draw, with the other ending in a no-result.
Also in favour of the Red Force is that the Jaguars have not won a match at any venue in the two-island republic for quarter of a century and, more precisely, at Queen’s Park Oval for 27 years. In fact, the Jaguars have just two wins in the modern era of West Indies first-class matches here.
The visitors have travelled with an unchanged squad from the previous round, but the hosts have welcomed back leg-spin all-rounder Yannic Cariah following a toe injury and he will replace the uncapped Kerwin Sirju.
Windward Islands Volcanoes vs Barbados Pride
(AT ARNOS VALE SPORTS COMPLEX, ST. VINCENT)
WINDWARD ISLANDS VOLCANOES (from): Liam Sebastian (captain), Sunil Ambris, Alston Bobb, Johnson Charles, Romel Currency, Andre Fletcher, Kavem Hodge, Keddy Lesporis, Mervin Matthew, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters, Shane Shillingford, Tyrone Theophile
BARBADOS PRIDE (from): Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Tino Best, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Kyle Corbin, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Ryan Hinds, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Omar Phillips, Dwayne Smith, Jomel Warrican
UMPIRES: Lennox Abraham (Dominica), Nandkumar Shivsankar (Guyana)
MATCH REFEREE: Selwyn Allen
RESERVE UMPIRE: Roger Davis
Jamaica Franchise vs Leeward Islands Hurricanes
(AT SABINA PARK, JAMAICA)
JAMAICA FRANCHISE (from): Tamar Lambert (captain), Carlton Baugh Jr, Dave Bernard Jr, Gavon Brown, John Campbell, Jon-Ross Campbell, Damion Jacobs, Andre McCarthy, Marquino Mindley, Horace Miller, Nikita Miller, Shacaya Thomas, Keno Wallace
LEEWARD ISLANDS HURRICANES (from): Devon Thomas (captain), Rahkeem Cornwall, Montcin Hodge, Jahmar Hamilton, Colin Hamer, Alzarri Joseph, Yannick Leonard, Steve Liburd, Jeremiah Louis, Orlando Peters, Austin Richards Jr, Lyndell Richardson, Gavin Tonge
UMPIRES: Christopher Taylor, Danesh Ramdhanie (Guyana)
MATCH REFEREE: Michael Hylton
RESERVE UMPIRE: Athol Hamilton
Trinidad & Tobago Red Force vs Guyana Jaguars
(AT QUEEN’S PARK OVAL, TRINIDAD)
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO RED FORCE (from): Rayad Emrit (captain), Yannic Cariah, Akeal Hosein, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Yannick Ottley, Nicholas Pooran, Marlon Richards, Lendl Simmons, Jeremy Solozano, Daniel St. Clair
GUYANA JAGUARS (from): Vishaul Singh (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Ronsford Beaton, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Rajindra Chandrika, Narsingh Deonarine, Trevon Griffith, Shimron Hetmyer, Keon Joseph, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymond Reifer
UMPIRES: Zahid Bassarath, Verdayne Smith (Jamaica)
MATCH REFEREE: Hayden Bruce
RESERVE UMPIRE: Lyndon Rajkumar