A man-of-the-match performance from 18-year-old leg spinner, Sherlan Anthony saw Essequibo record a rare six-wicket victory over defending champions, Demerara inside two days of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)/ Hand in Hand Mutual Fire and Life Insurance Inter-County Under-19 three-day tournament at Tuschen, East Bank Demerara on Thursday.
Essequibo wrapped up the match minutes before lunch after set a target of 34 to chase as Demerara were bowled out for 136 in their second innings.
Demerara resumed on 92-5, still 12 runs behind Essequibo who made 143 in reply to Demerara’s first innings of 40, the lowest total at U-19 inter county level
With the wicket dry and the dust blowing, Sagar Hatiramani resumed his watch on four with West Indies U-19 player Ashmead Nedd as the duo cleared the deficit with a pair of boundaries.
However, Anthony had other plans, embarrassing the West Indies youth player with a beautiful googly to which Nedd failed to offer a shot and saw his stumps rocked back for just two as Essequibo continued to apply the pressure.
Wickets tumbled around Hatiramani with Dwain Dick starting steady until his naturally aggressive nature got the better of him. While his luck saved him with a few chances, a rocketing flick picked out Reyaz Khan as the ball stuck in his palm, knocking him off his feet and eventually off the field and with Dick heading back to the shed. Anthony would claim his fifth victim, trapping Sadik Khan LBW as Demerara were only ahead by 13 runs and two wickets in hand.
Anthony Antonio offered a nothing shot, dragging forward to off spinner, Joel Fortune only to have his stumps uprooted.
Hatiramani carried on the charge, looking settled and picking the leg spinner, even chipping down the wicket to dispatch the youngster in the trench behind the ground.
The former national player partnered with Mark Baptiste to take the lead up to 33 before a wide delivery saw Hatiramani hitting it high in the sky and skipper Kevin Christian settled under it at cover to end a fighting innings of 27 including four fours and a six that lasted 89 minutes.
Anthony finished with 5-36 while Joshua Jones claimed 1-39 and Fortune bagged 3-42.
When Essequibo came out to bat, the intent was clear. Christian struck the first ball from Nedd inches away from clearing the ground only to be bowled three balls later. Kurt Lovell also took the same approach, this time, on one knee hitting Nedd on the roof of the bus which was parked on the road outside the ground, only to have his off stump unearthed in the same over for 14 with two sixes.
New man, Reon Venture and Orlando Jailall found themselves at the same end after a mix up in the middle resulting in the fourth wicket but Fortune wasted little time, sending Dick into the trench to close the match in a dominating fashion.
Speaking with Stabroek News at the end of the match, Essequibo coach, Ryan Hercules said he was pleased with the performance of the team, highlighting their improvement over the three rounds where they moved from being bowled out for 80 in their first round first innings to dominating the entire match against the defending champions.
Hercules said this win was special as it signalled the intent of the players from the county wanting to bat long and calling for the longer format to be played in Essequibo as the evidence shows no three-day tournament is played in Essequibo.
The teams now turn their focus to the one-day leg of the tournament where these two teams will meet at the same venue on Sunday with the first ball to be bowled at 09:30h.