Jaguars bat solidly against Pride before rain; Hodge, Mayers leads Volcanoes recovery against Red Force; Jacobs puts Hurricanes in a spin after Blackwood props up Scorpions

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Solid batting from Chanderpaul Hemraj and Leon Johnson gave newly-crowned champions Guyana Jaguars a strong start to their top-of-the-table clash with Barbados Pride in the Digicel 4-Day Championship today.

The left-handed pair shared a century stand for the second wicket to give the Jaguars’ innings backbone, but three wickets in the final session set them back before a torrent of rain brought an early close on the first day of their ninth-round match at Kensington Oval.

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Promising Windward Islands Volcanoes pair of Kavem Hodge and Kyle Mayers were both eyeing landmark hundreds after leading a recovery operation against Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at the Grenada National Stadium.

And, WINDIES “A” leg-spinner Damion Jacobs was leading a Jamaica Scorpions fight-back, after their batting crumbled against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Sabina Park.

Jaguars 184-5 vs Pride in Bridgetown, Barbados

Hemraj struck 10 fours and three sixes in 90 from 145 balls in just over 3 ½ hours at the crease and Johnson collected nine boundaries in 56 from 207 balls in a 4 ½-hour stay, after Jaguars were put in to bat.

Play started 40 minutes late, due to a couple damp patches close to the pitch on the eastern side of the ground.

Jaguars, whose victory over Jamaica Scorpions in the previous round confirmed them as champions for a fourth straight season, suffered an early setback, when left-handed opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul was bowled with the second ball of the match from West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach for a duck.

Johnson came to the crease and, for the next 3 ½ hours, defied a Barbados attack that comprised mainly four fast bowlers including Roach, fellow Windies star Miguel Cummins, Under-19 World Cup-winner Chemar Holder and uncapped Justin Greaves.

The two left-handers each survived a chance early in their knocks before knuckling down to plunder 148 for the second wicket and Hemraj looked set to hit his maiden first-class hundred, when Holder was brought back for a second spell inside the final half-hour before tea and had him caught down the leg-side by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.

After tea, Jaguars lost the wickets of Test batsman Vishaul Singh, Johnson and wicketkeeper/batsman Anthony Bramble, slipping from 175 for three to 182 for five in the space of 13 deliveries before a rainstorm swept across the ground and ended play for the day.

Volcanoes 270-4 vs Red Force in St. George’s, Grenada

Hodge was unbeaten on 87 and Mayers was not out 73, as they led a recovery for the hosts after they stumbled early on 37 for two.

Veteran left-handed opener Devon Smith made 46 to take his season-leading aggregate to 945 – 123 short of the single season record.

Unbeaten in their last three matches and looking to end the season strongly, Volcanoes made a shaky start when they lost their captain Tyrone Theophile and Test batsman Kirk Edwards cheaply.

But Hodge stood firm, sharing 81 with Smith for the third wicket before putting on a further 115 in an unbroken, fifth-wicket partnership with Mayers.

Scorpions (197) vs Hurricanes 60-4 in Kingston, Jamaica

Hurricanes failed to make a strong bowling effort count and were wobbling after Jacobs undermined them with 3-41 in 10 overs before the close.

Under-19 World Cup-winning batsman Keacy Carty was propping up the innings with an unbeaten 20 in partnership with WINDIES “A” wicketkeeper/batsman Jahmar Hamilton on 17 not out.

The pair have so far put on 32 for the fifth wicket after Jacobs triggered a collapse that saw him remove WINDIES “A” opener Montcin Hodge, WINDIES opener and Hurricanes captain Kieran Powell, and uncapped Akeem Saunders to leave the visitors tottering on 28 for four.

Earlier, Scorpions were driven by an innings of 81 from WINDIES batsman Jermaine Blackwood which lasted 98 balls and included 10 fours and two sixes. He passed the 4,000-run mark in his first-class career, when he scored 13.

Sheeno Berridge was the pick of the Hurricanes bowlers, taking 4-46 from 13 overs, off-spinner Chaim Holder supported with 3-50 from 18 overs and Jeremiah Louis captured 3-62 from 14.1 overs.

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