By Sean Devers in Jamaica
In association with Digicel, TCL, Western Union , GSL, Pepsi, Smalta, Demerara Power Company & Jamaica Pegasus
Although opener Trevon Griffith scored the tournament’s first century on the opening day of this year’s TCL Group Regional 3-day under-19 cricket competition, Guyana’s batting faulted in both innings in their 57-run loss to the Leeward Islands on Saturday.
The first innings lead they gained gave them 4 points and they begin the second round against host Jamaica today, at the Test venue Sabina Park.
They trail the Leewards, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados who all have 12 points following outright wins in their respective first round matches.
While Griffith, Jeetendra Sookdeo, who was run out for a painstaking 50 in the first innings of the opening game and Seon Hetmyer (40) looked good, no other batsman has really stepped up in the Guyana order.
The experienced middle order pair of Vice-Captain Royston Alkins and the temperamental Jonathon Foo failed twice, while night watchman Totaram Bishun made a fighting 30.
Playing a three-pronged pace attack for the first time in decades, Guyana also got support from leg-spinner Foo and left-arm spinner Bishun as their bowlers, especially rookie pacer Seon Daniels, who like Foo took two 3-wicket hauls, did their job with the ball in sweltering heat last week.
Manager Alvin Johnson joined the team yesterday after missing the first match to attend his eldest daughter’s wedding on Saturday evening and said he was looking for the team to rebound shortly after arriving in Jamaica just after noon.
“I am disappointed that we lost after taking first innings points and our middle order batsmen need to contribute. Stand-in Manager Elroy Stephney returns home tomorrow (today) and I will be having a meeting with him, the Coach and the Captain this evening (last night) to see what went wrong in the first game,” Johnson informed.
Johnson, who was given permission to miss the first encounter by the Guyana Cricket Board, was greeted with the depressing news that yesterday’s practice session had to be called off because seven members of the team had to be taken to hospital suffering from what was diagnosed as ’flu’ while Sookdeo was suffering the effects of his asthmatic condition after he left his medication in Guyana.
“What we found when we were last here for an under-19 series in 2004 was that because of the intense heat, the players became fatigued towards the latter stages of the series and we have to be careful how much work we do on the rest days here. The youngsters are not accustomed to playing this much cricket and with just a single rest day in between matches it’s demanding physically,” Johnson opined.
Today, Guyana could play an unchanged team with pacer Ronsford Beaton, left-arm spinner Antony Adams and batsman Alex Amsterdam again likely to be the players on the bench.
The bowlers will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief that Skipper and top batsman Andre Creary is again expected to miss out for Jamaica due to the highly questionable decision by the embattled West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to have him warming the bench in St Vincent instead of playing in the tournament.
After the first choice team went on strike due to another contractual dispute with the Board, the WICB were left scrambling for players to ensure the first test against Bangladesh was played and Creary and Bajan teenage prodigy Kraigg Braithwaite were hustled to St Vincent only to be left out of the starting eleven and miss at least the first two rounds.
Jamaica are second from bottom after suffering a surprising innings and 64-run defeat to Trinidad and Tobago at Kensington Park on Saturday.
“We batted poorly throughout the whole match,” said Jamaica’s coach, Andre Coley, who could make a number of changes, including the introduction of national senior team leg-spin invitee Akeem Dewar for tomorrow’s (today’s) game.
Captain Paul Palmer Jr top-scored for Jamaica in their first innings with 50, while Garth Garvey, 47 provided the next best support.
In their second time at the crease, opener John Campbell made 70 as only two other batsmen, Brian Clarke, 21, and Garvey, 17, got into double figures.
When the two teams met last year in Barbados, Creary scored a masterful 118 and Maverick Perry made 80 as Jamaica amassed 354-9 declared.
Griffith’s attractive 69 then helped Guyana to 214, before Jamaica declared for the second time of the match at 115-6.
Guyana then struggled to 167-8 as Skipper Eugene LaFluer helped his team to a draw with a responsible 85.
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