A typically solid, unspectacular century by skipper Kraigg Brathwaite, his third of the season, saw the Barbados Pride to a first innings victory over the bottom-of-the-table Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Diego Martin Sports Complex today.
Today, the rain, which effectively ended any major threat from second-placed Leeward Islands Hurricanes as well as any possible threat from third-placed Guyana Harpy Eagles after Day One, stayed away from Diego Martin in the first half of today.
The Pride skipper took advantage—and matters into his own hands.
Leading the West Indies Four-day Championship table by a fraction under two points at the start of the fifth and final round of matches on Wednesday, the defending champions could afford no slip-ups. After his team dismissed the Volcanoes for a modest 203 before the close of the first day, Brathwaite began the work of consolidation despite losing his opening partner early.
Today, by the time he was fourth man out at 262, he had accumulated 14 fours in his patient 219-ball 109 and extended his partnership with number three Ramon Reifer (71 off 88 balls) to 116. He also shared a fourth-wicket stand of 95 with Roston Chase (59 off 110) so the Pride were already 59 runs to the good.
The Headley/Weekes Trophy was in the bag.
And for good measure, in a year when more than a handful of batsmen had contrived to reach triple figures at least once, the Barbados captain had also taken pride of place on top of the list of scorers.
At the Brian Lara Academy in Tarouba where the Leeward Island Hurricanes were taking on the Jamaica Scorpions, there was no hurricane. Three overs were bowled yesterday after Thursday’s washout, the only action since the close of Day One, But there was still enough dampness, clouds and water around to ensure that the mood in the Leewards dressing room was dark and the faces long.
They would add 7.2 points to the 65.4 tally with which they started the final round to finish on 72.6. The winners finished with 76.2.
At the Queen’s Park Oval, where the rain stayed away for half the day, Guyana made hay while the sun shone. Tevin Imlach, opening the innings in place of the injured Chadrapaul Hemraj, upstaged his more accomplished partner, who faced only 75 balls for his 25.
The Guyanese wicketkeeper survived for almost 100 balls more, getting to 75 before he was sixth man out. Although the middle order made little contribution, the tail wagged, numbers 7 to 10 enjoying themselves against the Red Force attack. Kevin St Clair, Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie and Nial Smith all got decent scores of 58, 47, 37 and 21 respectively, including a total of four sixes.
That lower-order defiance saw the Eagles extend their lead to 113 before the innings ended. The spinners and the pacers shared the wickets equally between them with, Bryan Charles’ 3/56 the best of the lot.
Despite the demonstrated ‘brittleness’ (Guyana skipper Leon Johnson) of the Red Force batting, no one presumably expected a miracle in the hour or so left to play.
The only interest left in the game was whether Permaul, who is just two wickets short of an impressive 500 in regional first-class cricket, could get them before the start of the new season. He tried—without success.
One wicket did fall. Perhaps with regional team duties in mind, WI wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva was promoted to open the innings. But he never looked comfortable against either Permaul’s spin or Keemo Paul’s quicker stuff and the pacer eventually sent him back LBW before the captains called it a day.
So although the Pride were without several of their stalwarts of recent years, the regional Four-day trophy returns to Bridgetown for another year. The months ahead, a very busy time for regional cricket, will show whether there is any truth to the claim that when Barbados cricket is strong, West Indies cricket is strong.
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force: 218 all out (94.2 overs) (Jeremy Solozano 72, Jason Mohammed 68, Isaiah Rajah 26, Terrance Hinds 22*; Keemo Paul 6/50, Gudakesh Motie 2/35) & 25 for 1 (11 overs) Keegan Simmons 13*, Isaiah Rajah 5*, Keemo Paul 1/5)
Guyana Harpy Eagles: 331 all out (83.3. overs) (Tevin Imlach 76, Kevin St Clair 58, Veerasammy Permaul 47, Gudakesh Motie 37; Bryan Charles 3/56, Terrance Hinds 3/75, Uthman Mohammed 2/40, Imran Khan 2/77)
Match drawn, Guyana win on 1st inns.
Windward Islands Volcanoes: 203 all out (62 overs) (Teddy Bishop 44, Larry Edwards 37; Ramon Simmonds 3/25, Roston Chase 3/46)
Barbados Pride: 285 for 6 (80 overs) (Kraigg Brathwaite 109, Raymon Reifer 71, Roston Chase 59; Larry Edward 2/27, Ryan John 2/41, Darius Martin 2/78)
Match drawn, Barbados win on 1st inns.
Jamaica Scorpions: 302 all out (80 overs) (Paul Palmer 144*, Jamie Merchant 55, Aldane Thomas 31; Sheeno Berridge 2/29, Colin Archibald 2/64, Rahkeem Cornwall 2/103)
Leeward Islands: 4 without loss (3 overs) (Montcin Hodge 2*, Kieran Powell 2*)
Barbados Pride 76.2
Leeward Isl Hurricanes 72.6
Guyana Harpy Eagles 61.8
T&T Red Force 54.2
Jamaica Scorpions 43.8
Windward Isl. Volcanoes 26.8