By Sean Devers
A well constructed maiden century (130) from 16-year old Nevisian opener Ross Powell led the Leeward Islands to a 30-run first innings lead against Guyana when the penultimate day of their regional three-day under-19 cricket encounter ended at the Guyana National Stadium yesterday.
By the close, the Leewards, replying to Guyana’s 270 reached 300-8 by the close as Kasey Carty made 64 and Skipper Jeremiah Louis finished unbeaten on 49. Off-spinner Sharaz Ramcharran had 2-46 and leg-spinner Steven Sankar 2-71 but they were not aided by a ragged display of catching by the Guyanese who put down at least five catches including Powell thrice.
The Leewards enjoyed a good opening session yesterday in which they scored 83 runs and only lost Shaquille Martina (6), who was trapped LBW to leg-spinner Sankar with the total on 49-2.
Powell, who scored a classy 75 in the last regional under-17 competition in Tobago and a ton at under-17 level the previous year, played several delightful shots and brought up his 50 with a swept boundary off Daimon Waldron on a low track which offered slow turn for the spinners after a wayward spell from the pacers.
Powell, in his second year at this level, made full use of his chances in the morning session. The cousin of Test left-hander Kieran Powell was dropped on 42 by off-spinner Sharaz Ramcharran of his own bowling and twice off Waldron on 52 off successive balls. He was put down by Sankar at slip and Niall Smith at silly mid-off and by Lunch, which was taken at 104-2, the left-handed Powell was undefeated on 52. Carty was with him on 35, the third wicket stand with Powell was worth 53 runs.
After the interval the Guyanese bowlers toiled in sweltering heat and Carty pounced on fast bowler Keno Morris and reached his half-century with a boundary before Powell latched onto the Transport Sports Club pacer and whipped him through mid-wicket for another boundary in the same over much to the delight of the proverbial ‘two men and a dog’ in the stands.
Carty’s confidence grew as his innings progressed but when the partnership was three runs away from a century stand the seemingly set Carty threw his wicket away with an inexplicable swipe and had his stumps uprooted by pacer Kemo Paul to leave the score on 146-3. He batted 118 minutes, faced 132 balls and struck nine fours.
Asharn Hodge joined Powell and the pair took the score to 183 before Hodge, the nephew of Leeward’s Coach Chaka Hodge who was a member of team when they won their last title in Guyana in 2001, was needlessly run out for 13 and by Tea the Islanders were 190-4.
Powell who spent a lot of time in the ‘nervous 90s’ was two short of his first Regional ton at any level at the break and Mohit Hingorani, who hails from St Martin but was born to Indian Nationals, was with him on nought.
Powell, whose father is former Leewards first-class player Ronald Powell, finally got to three-figures when he disdainfully clipped Ramcharran for his 13th boundary.
Hingorani, who spent 38 minutes and 31 balls for a single run was then taken at mid-off to give Sankar his second scalp and leave the score on 201-5.
Skipper Jeremiah Louis joined Powell as Guyana’s poor catching continued and when Morris took the second new ball, Powell unleashed a vicious assault on him with three stunning fours off consecutive balls and by the final water break Guyana’s lead had been reduced to 21.
Powell finally departed for a magnificent century, the first of this year’s tournament, when Morris at cover, held the catch off Ramcharran. Powell faced 293 balls, batted for 346 minutes, reached the boundary 19 times and cleared it once to leave the score at 254-6.
Vice Captain Alzarri Joseph and his Captain ensured the visitors took first innings lead when Joseph (11) clobbered Ramcharran for a huge six before he was removed by Ramcharran at 274-7. Kenrick Scott (1) was run out at 290-8 just before the close leaving Louis unbeaten on 49.
Today is the third and final day and play is scheduled to start at 10:00hrs.
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