By Sean Devers
A magnificent 72-ball 119 from 16-year-old Alex Algoo spearheaded the National U-17s to an exciting last over victory over Essequibo in almost darkness at Eve Leary yesterday in the rain affected second round of the GCB’s Hand-in-Hand 50-over U-19 Inter-County Cricket tournament.
In a game reduced to 28 overs per side due a four-hour late start caused by overnight rain, the National U-17s elected to bat on a hard track which kept a bit low on a sluggish outfield in glorious sunshine and Algoo and Sachin Singh give them a solid foundation with an attractive 156-stand.
Algoo reached the boundary nine times and cleared it on 10 occasions, while 15-year-old Singh took 54 balls to reach 50 decorated with five fours and three sixes but only Junior Sinclair (16) of the other batsmen reached double figures as the National U-17s reached 222-7 from 28 overs.
Navindra Persaud (3-29) did the damage for Essequibo, who recovered from 16-2, eventually reached 206-8 when their 28 overs expired, despite an entertaining 63-ball 59 laced with three fours and four sixes from Persaud and a well complied 41 from with three boundaries from Stephon Campbell, who added 80 for the third wicket and 34 from 11 balls for the fourth wicket with Kurt Lovell (18).
Joshua Jones kept hopes of an Essequibo win alive with a brutal 19-ball 33 with five scorching fours and a huge six, but Gevon Shultz (3-32) and Sinclair (3-12) did the damage for the U-17’s who are using this tournament as preparation for the Regional U-17 Tournament in T&T in July.
With the already small Southern straight boundary pulled in to about 40 yards, Algoo, playing his second Inter-County U-19 tournament after representing Berbice last year, was dropped by Persaud on one in the second over when a bullet-like straight drive which nearly took the bowler’s hand with it to the boundary. Algoo was again let off at cover off Quinton Sampson on 88 and made Essequibo pay dearly for their lapse as he dominated the century stand with the left-handed Singh.
Algoo cut Jones, who bowled with some aggression, for four before dancing into Persaud and dumping him for six before smashing him for four off the next ball.
Singh was off to a shaky start and was 17 as Algoo, oozing confidence, galloped to 41 with several imperious shots.
While Singh edged Sheldon Charles for four, Algoo disdainfully flicked him behind square for a boundary before square driving the 14-year old medium pacer for another four in an over which cost 15.
The fifty came up in 5.4 overs before the ‘on fire’ Algoo rocked back and dispatched a couple of innocuous short balls from Lovell for boundaries as dark ominous clouds gathered overhead.
Singh was not to be left out in the run-spree and drove Lovell sweetly past cover for four before rain interrupted the action causing a 15-minute delay and when played resumed at 14:25 hrs with the score on 79-0 from 7.5 overs the next over cost 22 runs as Algoo jumped into Sampson and dumped him for six to reach his second Inter-County U-19 fifty. His 50 came from 28 balls and was decorated with five fours and four sixes.
Algoo celebrated with clobbering Sampson over his head for six, while Singh was soon into his stride with consecutive sixes of Skipper Mark Williams’ flat left arm spin to take 14 off the over.
Singh played an imperious extra cover drive off Sampson and swept him for an impeccable placed boundary behind square.
Algoo pulled Chanderpaul Mohabir murderously past mid-wicket before wading into Williams and depositing him for two fours and a humongous six. Singh reached his first fifty from 48 balls with five fours and three sixes before he was run out in the 19th over.
Algoo soon brought up his maiden ton from 66 balls with nine fours and seven sixes before he jumped on Williams like a cat upon a mouse and smashed him for two sixes. But Algoo was LBW to Persaud at 205-2 and six wickets tumbled in the last four overs as Alphius Bookie, Kevin Christian and Robin Williams all fell for ducks, while Skipper Ashmead Nedd (5) had his stumps knocked out at 217-7
The Essequibians lost Sachin Persaud (8) and Mark Ramsammy (4) with the score on 16 but Persaud, playing some audacious shots joined forces with Campbell and took the score to 104 before Persaud, who was miss-stumped off of Nedd on 27, charged Sinclair and was stumped.
Campbell continued to play his shots before he was removed by the miserly Sinclair at 186-5 and when Jones held out to deep cover off Shultz a run later, Shultz bowled Sampson (0) and Singh removed Kelon Davis (1), Williams (14*) ensured the game could still have been won in the last over but a good penultimate over ensured that two was required.
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