A swashbuckling half-century from Windwards opener Gidron Pope helped pilot his team to an impressive nine-wicket win over defending Regional U19 one day champions Jamaica yesterday in the final preliminary round of the ongoing West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) tournament played at the Bourda Cricket ground.
The burly right-hander, who played aggressively for his run-a-ball 75 which featured six fours and two sixes, shared an opening stand of 115 with Arson Latchman who scored an unbeaten 41 with two fours one six as the Windwards reached 142 for 1 in 38.4 overs replying to the Jamaicans paltry 141 all out.
Fast-bowler Ryan John’s menacing spell of 4-29 from his allotted 10 overs was the standout performance for the
Windwards who bowled out the Jamaicans in 45.4 overs leaving skipper Ramaal Lewis unbeaten with a defiant top score of 49. Craig Phillips (2-33) and a wicket each for Pope, Shermon Lewis and Derron Hypolite rounded off a good all-round bowling exhibition.
During the chase, Pope and Latchman laid a good foundation for their team’s hunt with the left-handed Pope being the more aggressive of the two.
The Windwards passed 50 in less than 13 overs capitalizing on the loose Jamaican bowling at the beginning of the innings.
Pope soon reached his 50 with a single through the square region, raising his bat to signal a well-played knock as the pair pushed forward. The Windwards 100 came up a few overs after the drinks break with both batsmen looking ominous.
At that stage the Windwards required fewer than 40 runs for victory from approximately 25 overs.
However, after looking well set on taking his team over the line as well as securing an ideal score for himself, Pope was outfoxed by Nicholas Walters and found himself short of his crease when he attempted to dance down the track and was stumped by the wicket-keeper.
With a good platform laid by the two openers, Latchman continued his mission with new man Melvin Gordon 14 not out and the two sensibly took their team across the finish line with overs and wickets to spare.
Earlier, during Jamaica’s innings, the defending champs were reeling at 95-8 in 34 overs after the Windwards bowling unit ripped through a somewhat dismal looking batting order. The in-form opening combination of Leroy Lugg (10) and Odean McCatty (4) uncharacteristically never got out of the blocks.
John then accounted for the dismissals of Abijai Mansingh (11) who was caught by the wicket-keeper, Shahid Crooks (10) who was comprehensively bowled and Romaine Morris (9) who was out caught as well. The skipper, however, continued to resist despite his team’s collapse as wickets still continued to tumble around him.
Walters (8), Ryon Burnett (6) and Odain Smith (2) were the other players to be dismissed as the possibility of being bowled out before lunch seemed quite evident. John struck again when he bamboozled George Walker (5) with some pace and movement, knocking back the right-hander’s middle stump, while the last to go was Gareth Henry who was run out for one.
The win means that the Windwards will face table leaders Guyana in tomorrow’s final played at this same venue.