ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Front-runners and reigning champions Guyana Jaguars will look to runaway with the lead, when the WICB Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day Tournament resumes tomorrow following the early-season break.
The Jaguars play outside of their home territory for the first time this season, travelling to Port of Spain, where they will face hosts and joint third-placed side Trinidad & Tobago Red Force in a crucial fourth round match at Queen’s Park Oval.
At the same time, second-placed Jamaica Scorpions will try to keep the leaders within reach, when they host Leeward Islands Hurricanes, and Windward Islands Volcanoes and Barbados Pride aim to get their seasons back on track when they meet in Grenada.
In St. George’s, Grenada: Both teams enter the match in different frames of mind following their results from the previous round before the break.
The Volcanoes got a boost with a sensational, eight-wicket victory over the Hurricanes inside two days in a low-scoring affair, at the same time that the Pride were sliding to a nine-wicket defeat against the Jags.
Going into the game, the Volcanoes are further boosted by the return of Shane Shillingford as the only change to their line-up. The champion off-spinner has been a thorn in the side of the Pride’s batsmen on the last six occasions he has faced them, grabbing 58 wickets at 18.18 apiece, including seven hauls of five wickets or more.
The visitors line-up – unchanged from the previous round – has been decimated with the extraction of key players for the Tour of Australia by West Indies and how much of an impact their replacements can make will ultimately decide the outcome here.
Expect a competitive battle, as both teams have recent history upon which to hold. In their last five matches, both sides have won twice, but the Pride could take heart in the knowledge that their two wins have been in their opponents’ backyard, including a 2012 victory at the venue for this weekend’s contest.
In Kingston, Jamaica: A similar proposition confronts the Scorpions and the Hurricanes.
The Scorpions have shot up the table following a six-wicket victory over the Red Force – but the Hurricanes have continued to find the going rough, having lost all three of their previous matches.
History strongly favours the home team. They have won all but two of the 10 matches the sides have contested since 2008 – including four at the venue for this weekend.
But the visitors can hang their hat on a four-wicket victory at the tail-end of last season – albeit at their home base in St. Kitts – to give them the confidence that if they can get things right they can overcome.
Veteran wicketkeeper/batsman Carlton Baugh Jr returns to the Scorpions line-up after missing the previous match and West Indies left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell makes an appearance for the first time this season.
The Hurricanes too, have been fortified with the well-travelled left-hander Chesney Hughes and wicketkeeper/batsman Jahmar Hamilton gaining the nod for the first time this season which should immediately help to shore up the batting.
In Port of Spain, Trinidad: It will be the first time that the Jaguars will be returning to the Queen’s Park Oval following their crushing defeat in the NAGICO Super50 Tournament last season.
Unlike that occasion, the home team is not stacked with a number of household names and so the visitors will enter the contest supremely confident, looking to continue in the rich vein that has made them the most successful side in the past two seasons.
The Jaguars clipped the wings of the Pride in the previous round, at the same time their opponents let things slip against the Scorpions.
Complacency will be the only thing that Leon Johnson and company will have to resist, but the Jaguars have never given the impression that this is something which embeds itself in the way they operate.
The Red Force in the hope of finding the right combination to keep their season on course and fulfill the unenviable task of trying to slow the Jags, have taken the usual step of declaring a squad of 15 ahead of the game – including experienced batsman Jason Mohammed as captain and little-known, uncapped player Strassark Shankar.
The Jaguars welcome the return of Christopher Barnwell and can revel in the very recent history of matches between the two sides which shows they won the corresponding fixture last year by an innings and 60 runs.
Volcanoes vs Pride
(AT THE NATIONAL CRICKET STADIUM, GRENADA)
VOLCANOES (from): Liam Sebastien (captain), Sunil Ambris, Alston Bobb, Miles Bascombe, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Mervyn Matthew, Kevin McClean, Kenroy Peters, Dalton Polius, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Tyrone Theophile
IN–Shillingford; OUT–Kyle Mayers
PRIDE (from): Kevin Stoute (captain), Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Kemar Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Kyle Corbin, Miguel Cummins, Justin Greaves, Ashley Nurse, Mario Rampersaud, Hayden Walsh Jr
UMPIRES: Lennox Abraham, Peter Nero (Trinidad & Tobago)
MATCH REFEREE: Carlyle Felix
RESERVE UMPIRE: Deighton Butler
Scorpions vs Hurricanes
(AT KINGSTON, JAMAICA)
SCORPIONS (from): Paul Palmer Jr (captain), Carlton Baugh Jr, Dave Bernard Jr, John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Kirk Edwards, Nicholson Gordon, Damion Jacobs, Tamar Lambert, Andre McCarthy, Nikita Miller, Marquino Mindley, Devon Thomas
IN–Baugh, Cottrell; OUT–Jason Dawes, Chadwick Walton
HURRICANES (from): Steve Liburd (captain), Nelson Boland, Nkrumah Bonner, Rahkeem Cornwall, Daron Cruickshank, Colin Hamer, Jahmar Hamilton, Chesney Hughes, Alzarri Joseph, Shane Jeffers, Orlando Peters, Jacques Taylor, Gavin Tonge
IN–Hamilton, Hughes; OUT–Jaison Peters, Sherwin Peters
UMPIRES: Verdayne Smith, Nigel Duguid (Guyana)
MATCH REFEREE: Michael Hylton
RESERVE UMPIRE: Rushane Samuels
Red Force vs Jaguars
(AT QUEEN’S PARK OVAL, TRINIDAD)
RED FORCE (from): Jason Mohammed (captain), Yannic Cariah, Bryan Charles, Narsingh Deonarine, Kyle Hope, Kavesh Kantasingh, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Utman Mohammed, Kjorn Ottley, Yannick Ottley, Marlon Richards, Strassark Sankar, Jeremy Solozano, Daniel St. Clair
ADDED–Jason Mohammed, Sankar
JAGUARS (from): Leon Johnson (captain), Ronsford Beaton, Anthony Bramble, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Assad Fudadin, Shimron Hetmyer, Steven Jacobs, Keon Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymon Reifer, Vishaul Singh
IN–Barnwell; OUT–Javon Searles
UMPIRES: Joel Wilson, Patrick Gustard (Jamaica)
MATCH REFEREE: Michael Ragoonath
RESERVE UMPIRE: Kellman Kowlessar