GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – A five-wicket haul by left arm orthodox spinner Garey Mathurin and an unbroken, third wicket partnership of 48 between St Lucians Keddy Lesporis and Johnson Charles steered Windward Islands to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Leeward Islands here yesterday.
Set a meagre 99 to win the final round encounter of the Regional First Class Championship, the Windwards coasted to their target with little hiccups at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, completing victory 20 minutes before tea on the final day.
Opener Charles, in his comeback match for the Windwards was in a punishing mood, spanking three fours and three sixes on his way to an undefeated 52.
He brought up his half-century with a huge six off off-spinner Justin Athanaze that sailed over mid-wicket.
Lesporis, meanwhile, finished undefeated on 28, bringing his tally of runs for the season to 376. Resuming the day on 284 for seven, the Leewards were dismissed for 344 with Gavin Tonge falling for an impressive 73 and Jacques Taylor stroking 63. They extended their eighth wicket partnership to 111 before left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin picked up the last three wickets to end with five for 86, and a season high 32 scalps.
Taylor, unbeaten on 48 at the start, counted six fours and a six before falling to a catch at mid-on by Lesporis as he attempted a big hit over long-on.
Tonge, who resumed on 41, hit nine fours and two sixes and was also taken at mid-on by Lesporis following a full-blooded drive.
Mathurin wrapped up the innings when substitute fielder Dalton Polius held a straightforward chance at mid-off to dismiss Anthony Martin without scoring as the tail-ender tried to go over the top.
The victory left the Windwards fifth in the standings on 41 points and they will now face top-of-the-table Combined Campuses and Colleges in one semi-final starting at the 3Ws Oval in Barbados on Friday.
England Lions who finished fourth were not eligible for the semi-finals.