Johnson spear-heads GCC to Neal and Massy title

Former West Indies Under-19 captain Leon Johnson’s unbeaten half century propelled Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) to its first Division One title in five years after they scored a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Albion Community Centre cricket team in the Neal and Massy limited overs final yesterday at the National Stadium at Providence.

Johnson’s 72 not out was enough to earn him the Man-of-the-Match award. The left-hander had arrived at the wicket with his team precariously perched on 12-2 in the sixth over and looking to get 154 to win after Albion, sent in to take first strike were dismissed for 153 in 39.4 overs.

But, Johnson and 18-year-old Vishal Singh, who ended on an unbeaten 48, added 109 for the fourth wicket from 23.4 overs following a 33-run, third-wicket stand between Johnson and Ricardo Jadunauth before the latter was caught and bowled by Albion skipper Narsingh Deonarine.

Johnson survived two chances both to Doodnauth Lallbeharry who failed to hold onto a return catch when Johnson was on three and then dropped another catch offered to him at extra cover shortly after Johnson had passed his half century.

Singh continued where he left off in the semi-final against Rose Hall Town Windies Sports Bar, by picking the gaps for ones and twos punctuated by the odd boundary, during his innings which lasted for 69 balls and was decorated with two fours.

Earlier, Lallbeharry getting the ball to move away from the batsmen, had induced Robin Bacchus to drive loosely outside his off stump only to be caught by Sewnarine Chattergoon at gully for four.

Lalbeharry then took an easy return catch to send back Ravi Sarwan also for four to leave GCC reeling.

Lallbeharry ended with 2-21 from five overs and Deonarine 1-38 from seven for Albion, who struggled against the GCC bowling when they batted.

The Albion innings had gotten off to a flyer with Chattergoon and Lallbeharry posting 23 runs in just 5.3 overs before Chattergoon, who represented the West Indies in two one Day Internationals, was caught by wicket-keeper Trevon Forde off former West Indies fast bowler Reon King for 16 made off 23 balls and decorated with three fours all struck off GCC’s captain Jason Benn in the previous over.

In the next over, Deonarine was smartly taken by Johnson at backward point off the bowling of his opposite counterpart Benn for three.

It took a 56-run partnership between Ranga Lachigadu (47) and Shastri Persaud (23) to help see Albion to a decent total as Jadunauth ripped through the brittle batting line-up to end with 4-14 from 6.4 overs.

He received support from Benn (2-32), King (1-13) and Trevor Henry (1-22).

At the presentation ceremony, president of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Chetram Singh, thanked the sponsors Neal and Massy Group of Companies for making such a worthy contribution to Guyana’s cricket for the past three years.

Singh said that he was looking forward to working along with the company in the future.

He congratulated both teams for reaching the final of the competition but extended congratulations to GCC for their triumph.

Benn in a brief remarks, thanked his fellow teammates for their role in the final and dedicated the win to the memory of the late GCC president Mohabir “Neil” Singh , who passed away earlier this year.

The GCC players wore a black ribbon attached to their shirt, in memory of the late Singh.

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