Heartbreak for Red Force as imperious Volcanoes steal semi-final spot

CAVE HILL, Barbados, CMC – Resurgent Windward Islands Volcanoes picked the ideal moment to deliver their most convincing win of the Regional Super50, when they thrashed Hampshire by 136 runs yesterday to romp into the semi-finals and shatter Trinidad and Tobago Red Force’s hopes.

Entering the Group A affair at 3Ws Oval needing to win while also securing a bonus point, Volcanoes produced a clinical performance behind Andre Fletcher’s maiden regional one-day hundred, to dominate the English county side and grab the five points required.

They ended their preliminary campaign level on 22 points with Red Force but sneaked into the final four by virtue of having more wins.

Three of the four semi-final places have now been determined with title-holders Barbados Pride already qualified from Group A and Guyana Jaguars booking their spot on from Group B on Friday night following their win over Jamaica Scorpions in Antigua.

Volcanoes, who surprised Red Force by three wickets in their last match on Thursday, showed aggressive intent from the outset yesterday, piling up 293 all out off 50 overs.

The right-handed Fletcher top-scored with a brilliant 132 off 135 balls while the reliable opener Devon Smith, short of runs in the tournament, supported with 84 from 89 deliveries.

Together, they pulled Volcanoes out of trouble at 27 for three in the seventh over with a magnificent 155-run, fourth wicket stand.

Left-arm seamer Chris Wood shone in an outstanding spell, taking five for 38 while former Barbados and West Indies speedster, Fidel Edwards, kept up his wicket-taking form with four for 51.

In reply, Hampshire recovered from the loss of two cheap wickets to be well placed at 67 for two in the 15th over before left-arm spinner Kavem Hodge (4-24) and former West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford (3-45) crippled the innings, which ended in ruins at 157 in the 38th over.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Lewis McManus top-scored witih 35, Sean Ervine got 34 while captain James Adams made 30.

Left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson bowled Joe Weatherley for 10 in the third over and Hodge trapped the other opener Thomas Alsop for one in the sixth over, to leave Hampshire on 24 for two.

Ervine and Adams staged the best stand of the innings with 43 for the third wicket but once five wickets tumbled for 49 runs, Hampshire failed to recover from 116 for seven in the 25th over.

Volcanoes had earlier experienced a similar rocky start after being sent in, crashing to 27 for three in the seventh over after the pacy Edwards knocked over Johnson Charles (6), Tyrone Theophile (1) and Kirk Edwards (1) in quick succession.

But Fletcher arrived to join Smith and dominate Hampshire’s bowling, driving Volcanoes towards the 200-run mark.

Fletcher smashed five fours and eight sixes, easing to his first fifty off 73 deliveries and three figures from a further 46 balls.

Smith, meanwhile, stroked 11 fours before perishing in the 35th over but Fletcher kept the innings going until he was ninth out in the 48th over, with Volcanoes nearing 300.

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