KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Captain Tamar Lambert has pointed to Jamaica’s final preliminary game against Combined Campuses and Colleges as the turning point in their Regional first class season.
Jamaica started the final round of matches in fifth spot and in danger of missing out on the semi-finals but trounced CCC at the 3Ws Oval in Barbados by 59 runs, to clinch fourth spot in the standings.
They went on to edge Barbados by a wicket in their semi-final at Kensington Oval before winning the Headley/Weekes Trophy at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium in St Lucia earlier this week, after the final against Windward Islands finished in a draw.
“The game against the CCC was a very important one for us because we knew we had to win to get through to the semi-finals,” Lambert said on arrival here Thursday.
“We always backed ourselves that once we are in the semi-finals that most times we would come out on top.”
Jamaica’s batting shone in the final, with 22-year-old top order stroke-maker Jermaine Blackwood cracking his maiden first class century – 118 in the second innings – to follow up his first innings 94.
Nkrumah Bonner also struck 88 in the first innings and Andre McCarthy, 62, as the younger players in the side came to the fore.
“The most important thing was just to see the youngsters, especially the batters. I think the youngsters stepped up and hopefully they can really push on from here,” Lambert noted.
“We have an inexperienced team and we had to give and take. We knew the season was always going to be up and down.”
He added: “It’s a very good feeling. We stepped it up in the semi-final and into the final and in the two games the batting was good. Once we have runs on the board we always back our bowlers to get 20 wickets, so it’s a good feeling to win the Headley/Weekes competition.”
With the Windwards romping along at 155 without loss in response to Jamaica’s first innings of 392, rookie leg-spinner Damion Jacobs blew the final wide open with an amazing haul of eight for 47 which effectively ended the hosts’ chances.
The figures were the fifth best by a Jamaican in the history of the modern West Indies first-class championship. Jacobs was playing only his fourth first class match.
“Jacobs has been around for a long time. He had his chance this year because of the injury to Odean Brown and he really grabbed it with both hands,” Lambert explained.
“He normally performs well at the trials, so it wasn’t surprising the way he bowled in the final. To get eight for 47 was really a great performance by him.”