ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – One of the oldest rivalries in Caribbean sport will take centre stage, when reigning champions and second-placed Barbados Pride host front-runners Guyana Jaguars in the key match of the seventh round in the WICB Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day Tournament, starting on Friday at Kensington Oval.
Matches between the two sides date back to 1865 and have produced some of the most intriguing battles in the regional first-class game – and similar can be expected from this contest, since the outcome could have a heavy bearing on the destination of the Headley/Weekes Trophy of supremacy.
The two sides will keep a very close eye on developments at the Beausejour Cricket Ground which the struggling Leeward Islands Hurricanes will use as their home venue against regular home team and third-placed Windward Islands Volcanoes.
The other contest in the round brings together two teams that promised much before the season, but have lacked consistency, when Jamaica Franchise host Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at Sabina Park.
In Bridgetown, Barbados: The objective to win is the same for the Pride and the Jaguars – but there are extra-special reasons for both sides.
The Pride currently trail the Jags by 15 points and will want to either eliminate the gap or cut the deficit substantially in their bid to regain the title.
With such a healthy lead, the visitors want to put themselves out of reach of the rest of the competition including their hosts, as they make a push for their first R4Day title in 17 years.
Recent history favours the Pride – they have won three of the last four matches between the two sides – including their third round contest last November, when the Jaguars, chasing 69 for victory, were dismissed for 66.
This result will stick in the throat of the Jaguars and will be extra motivation, along with the knowledge that Ryan Hinds and Dwayne Smith, two of the main actors for the Pride in that match, will play no part, as well as their previous R4Day victory over the Pride came three years ago at the venue for this weekend’s encounter.
Both squads are unchanged.
In Gros-Islet, St. Lucia: The Hurricanes will hope they have a number of beautiful days, as the name of the ground suggests, as they fight to avoid their seventh straight defeat this season.
The Volcanoes, on the other hand, have hit a purple patch and have now become the side to watch and will be looking for their third straight victory in an effort to keep the pressure up under the two front-runners.
Results between the two sides have been pretty much even in their last nine matches, but the Volcanoes on form and their crushing nine-wicket victory in the third round last November in Grenada have the edge and will want a similar outcome.
The Volcanoes squad is unchanged, but the Hurricanes have brought Yannick Leonard, Steve Liburd and Lyndell Richardson in to replace Colin Hamer, Montcin Hodge and Hayden Walsh Jr in a bid to jump-start their batting.
In Kingston, Jamaica: The Franchisers and the Red Force will be locked in a battle to re-ignite their season.
When they met earlier in the season, the Red Force were second-placed and the Franchisers were third – but they have both fallen on hard times and will be looking to recapture the early momentum.
The hosts have typically dominated this fixture in the last 15 years, including a 37-run victory on the road in the third round – but the visitors can take comfort that they toppled the Franchisers when the two sides previously met two years ago at Sabina Park.
Both sides will be looking for their batting to click, following feeble performances last weekend with the Franchisers bringing opener Shacaya Thomas and uncapped Cassius Burton in to replace Nkrumah Bonner and veteran wicketkeeper/batsman Carlton Baugh Jr, while the Red Force have turned to recovering regular captain Rayad Emrit for injured left-hander Jeremy Solozano.
Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs Windward Islands Volcanoes
(AT THE BEAUSEJOUR CRICKET GROUND, ST. LUCIA)
LEEWARD ISLANDS HURRICANES (from): Devon Thomas (captain), Quinton Boatswain, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Yannick Leonard, Steve Liburd, Jeremiah Louis, Orlando Peters, Sherwin Peters, Austin Richards Jr, Lyndell Richardson,Akeem Saunders, Gavin Tonge
IN–Leonard, Liburd, Richardson; OUT–Colin Hamer, Montcin Hodge, Hayden Walsh Jr
WINDWARD ISLANDS VOLCANOES (from): Liam Sebastian (captain), Sunil Ambris, Alston Bobb, Johnson Charles, Craig Emmanuel, Andre Fletcher, Delorn Johnson, Keddy Lesporis, Mervin Matthew, Kenroy Peters, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Tyrone Theophile
UMPIRES: Nigel Duguid (Guyana), Zahid Bassarath (Trinidad & Tobago)
MATCH REFEREE: Patrick Felix
STANDBY UMPIRE: Francis Maurice
Barbados Pride vs Guyana Jaguars
(AT KENSINGTON OVAL, BARBADOS)
BARBADOS PRIDE (from): Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Tino Best, Carlos Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Kyle Corbin, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Kirk Edwards, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Kevin Stoute, Jomel Warrican
GUYANA JAGUARS (from): Leon Johnson (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Ronsford Beaton, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Rajindra Chandrika, Narsingh Deonarine, Shimron Hetmyer, Keon Joseph, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymon Reifer, Vishaul Singh
UMPIRES: Gregory Brathwaite, Steve O’Shaughnessy (England)
MATCH REFEREE: Ryan Willoughby
STANDBY UMPIRE: Carlyle Carter
Jamaica Franchise vs Trinidad & Tobago Red Force
(AT SABINA PARK, JAMAICA)
JAMAICA FRANCHISE (from): Tamar Lambert (captain), Dave Bernard Jr, Jermaine Blackwood, Gavon Brown, Odean Brown, Cassius Burton, John Campbell, Jason Dawes, Damion Jacobs, Brandon King, Horace Miller, Marquino Mindley, Shacaya Thomas
IN–Thomas, Burton; OUT– Carlton Baugh Jr, Nkrumah Bonner
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO RED FORCE (from): Jason Mohammed (captain), Yannic Cariah, Deron Davis, Shannon Gabriel, Akeal Hosein, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Evin Lewis, Kjorn Ottley, Yannick Ottley, Marlon Richards, Daniel St. Clair
IN–Emrit; OUT–Jeremy Solozano
UMPIRES: Patrick Gustard, Leslie Reifer Jr (Barbados)
MATCH REFEREE: Athol Hamilton
STANDBY UMPIRE: Michael Hylton