Nov 26, 2016 Sports
By Sean Devers in St Lucia in association with Golden Arrow Inn, Trophy Stall, Noble House Seafood, Bissan’s Trading Carpet and Mat Store
After losing their second round against the Leewards Hurricanes in St Kitts last week in a record run
chase, the Guyana Jaguars, who beat Jamaica Scorpions in the first round, will be aiming to rebound from their first defeat in 19 games since 2014, when they face the Windwards Volcanoes from this afternoon at the Darren Sammy Stadium a historic Day/Night encounter.
In 2010 Guyana played the inaugural Day/Night First-Class match with the pink ball against Trinidad & Tobago at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua but when night falls tonight the stars should come out to play under lights in the first Day/Night First-Class match in played in St Lucia.
Even with the strong Barbados sides in Shell Shield Cricket no team has ever had as long a sequence of unbeaten games but Jaguars Skipper Leon Johnson says the surprising loss has not affected team spirit in the camp.
Having declared in both of games, Johnson and Head Coach Esaun Crandon will be weary of making another declaration anytime soon. Guyana have played the Windwards 38 times, won 17 and lost 7 with 14 of their encounters ending in draws.
The Jaguars are on 22 points, 1.8 behind leaders Hurricanes (23.8) and Barbados (22.1) while the hosts are the only team that have not won a First-Class title and are at the bottom of the table after three rounds with just seven points.
When the teams last met in February this year in St Lucia the Jaguars won by six wickets despite 87 from veteran Opener Devon Smith and 57 from Jelornie Robinson which had led the hosts to 216; Ronsford Beaton had 5-43.
The Jaguars responded with 339, Johnson leading the way with 107 and Vice-Captain Vishaul Singh getting 58; Mervin Matthew grabbed 6-81. Another fifty from Smith could only see his team to 161 as Raymon Reifer (4-35) did the damage for the Jaguars who reached 39-4; Johnson unbeaten on 17.
This season while every batsman has chipped in with ‘starts’ nobody has managed a three-figure score something which is a concern for Johnson and the Jaguars as they put the finishing touches on preparations for today’s face-off. Rajendra Chandrika who has scored a solitary century in his career to date at this level is Guyana’s leading run scorer this season.
Like Shiv Chanderpaul, Chandrika has two half-centuries, but Shiv who has 76 games and 17 tons for Guyana at this level and averages just over 95 this season and even at 42 is still the glue which holds the middle order together.
Shemron Hetymer oozes talent but he must realize that cameo shot-filled knocks are not usually the best innings in two-innings cricket while Johnson is among those guilty of not converting more fifties into hundreds.
Singh had a wonderful tour with the ‘A’ team to Sri Lanka and seems close to becoming Guyana’s next Test batsman but he has not had a big score since his return. Anthony Bramble and all-rounders Reifer and Chris Barnwell needs to be more consistent if Guyana is to convert their 290s into 400s first innings total to capitalise on batting points.
At a venue where five Tests have been played since 2003 and where the first ever Night ODI in the West Indies was held in 2006 when Zimbabwe toured the Caribbean, rain has hampered the preparation of a track which should have consistent bounce but not too much of turn for the spinners.
Fast bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd could get a look in along with ‘A’ team pacer Keon Joseph since the spin pair of Veerasammy Permaul and fellow Albion teammate Gudakesh Motie could have a lot of bowling to do.
Devon Smith highest score of his 27 First-Class tons and 21 for Windwards (212) was scored against Guyana in Grenada in 2008. The left-hander says this could be his final season but like Chanderpaul who has the highest score (303*) in Regional cricket, has again been in good form this season despite his duck in the last match against the Scorpions.
Sunil Amir who scored a magnificent century when the Windwards last played at Providence, Bajan Kyle Mayers, Dominican Kaveem Hodge, Robinson and Tyrone Theophile would want to support Smith with the bat while Shane Shillingford, Matthew, Delorn Johnson and Larry Edwards who had a 6-wicket haul in the last game in Jamaica, would be expected to produce with the ball.
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