A responsible unbeaten century from skipper Christopher Barnwell spared the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) from an embarrassing situation as they ended the first day on 233 – 8, leading by eight runs after snatching first innings points from the University of Guyana (UG) in the first semi-final of the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA), GISE, Star Party Rental and Trophy Stall first division two-day competition at DCC, yesterday.
DCC, replying to UG’s first innings score of 225, were tottering at 35 – 4, staring at the prospect of being skittled out cheaply and not making it into the final.
The men dismissed were Raymond Perez (4), bowled by Ray Newton; Trevon Griffith (13), bowled by Newton, while off-spinner Dennis Heywood accounted for Sachin Singh (7) and Tevin Imlach (0).
They went to tea interval on 50 – 4 with UG in the ascendancy.
Barnwell, however, took the game away from the visitors in an uncharacteristic manner as he bided his time and eased to his 50 before racing to his century, batting with the tail as DCC ended the day counting their lucky stars.
Barnwell, who soaked up the pressure in what many called his most responsible knock, struck nine fours and 11 sixes in his unbeaten 140.
He shared in an unbroken 93-run, ninth-wicket stand with Totoram Bishun (6) a partnership which practically rescued the defending champions.
The day began with DCC winning the toss and inviting the visitors to take first strike.
That decision resulted in an exciting first session as UG went to lunch with the score on 160 – 5 from 34 overs, scoring at nearly five runs per over.
DCC drew first blood when Barnwell dislodged Godfrey Matthews (2) with the score on 11 before Pavindralall Persaud (1) fell via the run-out route three runs later to leave the students in early trouble.
UG, from that point on could have folded, but made a fist of it and took the bowlers on as skipper, Melroy Stephenson (22) and Omesh Danram staged a mini-recovery to take the score to 48 before Barnwell struck again to remove the former.
It was Barnwell again in the wickets column when he accounted for the demise of Pavindralall Persaud (1) with the score on 63 – 4.
Danram, however, took Barnwell on, smashing him for a couple of boundaries as he raced to 44 in a knock which included seven fours and a maximum before he was bowled by the same bowler as UG reached 73 – 3.
It was from that point on that Ali made his mark and shared an 87-run partnership with Linden Austin, which took the students into the break in a comfortable position.
Ali was pleasing on the eyes as he picked up the singles and found the fence with relative ease to coast to 60 while Austin sat on 35.
On resumption of play, they lost two quick wickets – Austin (35) and Darnell Douglas (0) – before the rain interrupted play with the score on 167 – 7.
Play resumed shortly after and they were dismissed for 225 with Ali missing out on a well-deserved century after he was dismissed for 96, LBW to Bishun.
His innings included seven fours and six sixes. Devon George chipped in with 22 as Barnwell ended with 5-52 and Bishun 2-42.