Jaguars look to end 13-year drought

—But CCC Marooners stand in their path

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Guyana Jaguars’ captain Leon Johnson is hoping that his side can claim their first Regional Super50 title in 13 years, while Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners’ skipper Carlos Brathwaite will be looking to capture their first ever regional title when they clash in today’s final at Kensington Oval.

The two sides advanced to the final in contrasting styles with the Jaguars recording a tense one-wicket win over the Jamaica Scorpions while the Marooners hammered Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by seven-wickets in a lopsided contest.

According to Johnson, a defeat at the semifinal stage in last year’s competition has been the driving force behind the Jaguars’ performances.

“It would mean a lot to us obviously [to win]. We have put in a lot of work and we lost earlier this year in a semi-final and we had a long discussion after that semi-final defeat.

“It’s pleasing to get to the final not just because we lost in last year’s semis, but also the work that we put in after that loss. Two weeks after that loss we started back training and we put in a hell of a lot of work leading into the tournament. It’s pleasing to get to the final but it would be even more pleasing to win,” Johnson said.

The Guyana Jaguars will be looking to captain Leon Johnson and all rounder Raymon Reifer to land the coveted Regional limited overs title and end a 13 year drought in today’s one day final against the CCC Marooners. (Photo Courtesy Cricket West Indies)

However, he stressed that for his side to lift the trophy they would need to be at their best against what he considers a strong CCC team led by Brathwaite, the West Indies T20 captain.

“In the semi-finals there were a few positions we could have played better, bowling-wise and batting-wise but we were good enough to get over that hurdle.

“The Marooners have been doing well. They are well-led by Carlos Brathwaite, who is an experienced leader, so I expect it to be a good game tomorrow once both teams play to their potential. They have been bowling pretty well and we have discussed that as well, so we won’t stray away from our plans,” Johnson added.

For Brathwaite, victory for the Marooners would be a monumental achievement.

“We spoke about winning this tournament before the semifinal and I think this programme goes way beyond any of us that are currently representing the team. We have Sir Hilary Beckles who has been phenomenal in trying to get the CCC formed to begin with in 2008 and then to keep it going and keep it playing regional cricket,” the skipper outlined.

“Floyd Reifer has been a stalwart from inception, whether as a coach or a player…and I think the amount of guys who have passed through the CCC including myself and gone onto higher honours for West Indies is phenomenal and hopefully, it continues to go from strength to strength not only in the Regional 50-over, but hopefully also in the Four-Day tournament and it continues to give guys who are deserving opportunities at the first-class level.”

Brathwaite said his side would be going into the final on a high after soundly whipping the pre-tournament favourites in the semi-finals.

However, he maintained the Marooners would not be taking the Jaguars lightly.

“I think it was phenomenal for a bunch of young guys as experienced as they are coming up against world beaters. To put in the performance that we did and for us to come out and execute the way that we did was very, very pleasing.

“But Guyana is a team that always plays on your patience, is a fighting team and they never say die, but I think we have some of those qualities in our dressing room and some of that character as well,” Brathwaite said.

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