Nain, St Elizabeth – Jamaica stormed to their ninth regional four-day title, whipping hapless Windward Islands by 10 wickets inside two days.
Credit goes to a superb performance the Jamaican bowlers gave in their sixth-round Carib Beer clash at Alpart Sports Club.
Despite a brilliant maiden first-class century from 20-year-old Grenadian, Andre Fletcher, the Jamaican bowlers picked up 18 wickets in 90.3 overs on Saturday to complete victory.
The Windwards, who were 1-2 overnight, were dismissed for a first-innings 61 and following on, succumbed for 187 in late afternoon.
Left with 17 runs to win, the Jamaicans needed just 2.2 overs in 10 minutes to race to their target. Brenton Parchment, nine, and skipper Chris Gayle, eight, carried them over the line.
Jamaica made 232 all out in their first innings on Friday.
The win lifted Jamaica to an unassailable 58 points and in addition to winning the Carib Beer title, have now earned the right to host the Challenge Final against either Barbados or Trinidad & Tobago next month.
For the Windwards, the lone shining light was Fletcher, who batted flawlessly in the second innings for 103 not out, having come to the middle at 5-1.
A tall, strongly built right-hander in his third season at this level and with a previous highest of 69 against the Leeward Islands, Fletcher – before a large, appreciative crowd – smashed two sixes and 11 fours in his unbeaten knock off 162 balls in 188 minutes.
Nikita Miller took the Man-of-the-Match with figures of 7-66, inclusive of a first-inning 4-6. But much was also owed in the first Windwards’ innings, to the West Indies fast bowlers Daren Powell (3-13) and Jerome Taylor (3-17), and in the second, to medium-pacer David Bernard (3-39) and Gayle (3-39), with his offspinners.
“It’s a great feeling to end this game within two days and to take the title with such authority. I have to say, ‘well done’ to the team,” said Gayle.
He had special praise for Tamar Lambert, who as stand-in captain, led the team to three successive home victories before Gayle took over.
The four-day triumph follows Jamaica winning the KFC One-Day tournament last October and their second place in the recent Stanford 20-20.
Windwards skipper, Rawl Lewis, who did not bowl in the match because of a shoulder injury, was despondent.
“We played badly,” he said. “This was supposed to be a four-day game; for it to end in two days is not a good sign for Windward Islands’ cricket.”
Powell bowled well Photo: AP