KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, CMC – Spinners Jomel Warrican and Ryan Austin kept Combined Campuses and Colleges’ semi-final aspirations alive, bowling them to an 82-run victory over Windward Islands in the Regional Four-Day Championship inside three days here yesterday.
Warrican, a former West Indies Under-19 left-arm spinner, grabbed five for 34 from 20.1 overs and veteran off-spinner Austin captured three for 37 from 16 overs, writing his name in the record books, as Windwards were bowled out for 101 in their second innings in pursuit of 184, to win the sixth round match.
Opener Tyrone Theophile hit the top score of 31 and Keddy Lesporis made 23, but no other Windwards batsman reached 20, as Warrican, Austin and leg-spinner Akeem Dewar, to a lesser extent, benefitted from appreciable turn and bounce from the Arnos Vale Multiplex pitch to weave a web around the home team’s batsmen.
Warrican formalised the result about 20 minutes past the scheduled tea break, when he deceived tail-ender Nelon Pascal with a delivery that spun sharply and bowled him for three, sparking on-field celebrations by the visitors.
The victory meant that CCC, who started the match in fifth place, earned 16 points – moving them to an aggregate of 46 – and Windwards, who were second in the table, gained three points – increasing their tally to 65, drawing them level with reigning champions and current leaders Barbados, who drew a bye for this round of matches.
Windwards captain Liam Sebastien, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, had been the pick of his side’s bowlers, ending with four for 40 from 27 overs, as CCC were bowled out for 115 in their second innings about half-hour before the scheduled lunch interval, after resuming the day on 66 for four.
Mervin Matthew supported with three for 14 from 13 overs and left-arm spinner Alston Bobb took two for 21 from 11.5 overs.
Akeem Dewar led the way with 22 not out for the visitors, whose innings came to a bizarre conclusion, when Austin etched his name in the record books in ignominious circumstances.
He was dismissed timed-out for failing to reach the middle in the stipulated maximum time allowance of two minutes – but he later earned a place in modern Regional Four-Day history (from 1966 to present), when he became the third bowler to take 300 wickets, as the Windwards dramatically collapsed.
The lanky 32-year-old off-spinner reached the milestone, when he held a return catch to dismiss wicketkeeper/batsman Lindon James for three, his second wicket of the innings.
Things had started to unravel for Windwards post-lunch, when they resumed from 20 without loss. Veteran opener Devon Smith became the first scalp for Warrican, caught at forward short leg for 16 in the second over after the interval.
When Austin joined retired Guyanese leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo and injured Windwards and West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford in the 300-wicket club, the home team were 92 for seven.
Warrican had Matthew caught behind for three with the third ball of the following over and CCC captain Steven Jacobs claimed additional time to put the home team out of their misery.
Delorn Johnson was soon caught at slip, edging a big swish at Austin, before Warrican, playing only his fourth first-class match, brought things to a close, claiming five wickets in an innings for the first time in his career.
CCC’s success in this match has also enhanced their chances of sneaking into the semi-finals, especially if Jamaica – whom they play in the final round on home soil at the Three Ws Oval in Barbados – lose their ongoing match against Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain.
This was the Windwards’ final match of the preliminary competition. They are still highly likely to earn a spot in semi-finals, but they may have frittered away home advantage with this defeat.