By Sean Devers
Essequibo are well on their way to claiming their first ever National Senior three-day cricket title but mathematically Lower Corentyne could still spoil their party, while West Demerara could still finish as runners-up when the final round
of the GCB/CGI Three-Day Franchise League concludes this weekend.
Essequibo face West Demerara from tomorrow at Tuschen and West Berbice oppose Lower Corentyne at Bush Lot in two crucial games while East Coast and East Bank clash at Everest.
The other game, involving Georgetown and Upper Corentyne, bowls off from today at Port Mourant.
Essequibo, on 79.9 points, have led from start to finish with four wins and two draws in their six games so far, while Lower Corentyne are second on 66.7 points and West Demerara third with 58.1.
If West Demerara beat Essequibo and West Berbice beat Lower Corentyne, West Demerara will finish as runners-up to Essequibo. In the unlikely scenario that Lower Corentyne beats West Berbice with bonus points and Essequibo lose badly then Lower Corentyne will be champions and Essequibo runners-up.
A team gets 12 points for a win, 6 points for a draw, three points for dismissing the opposition inside 110 overs in the first innings, and one point from a 200 total with each increment of 50 runs earning an additional point up to 400 runs before 110 overs in the first innings. This means a team can get a maximum of five batting points.
If all of the wickets in the first innings are taken by fast bowlers, a team gets an extra point, since every wicket taken by a pacer values .1 of a point.
The Champions collects $500,000, the runners-up get $300,000 while there are cash awards for batsman with the most runs and bowler with the most wickets.
The big game tomorrow is at Tuschen where Essequibo, with West Indies’ most capped Test player Shiv Chanderpaul, oppos West Demerara, which includes Tagenarine Chanderpaul, pitting father against son.
Despite losing Ricardo Adams, who has two centuries and a five-wicket haul and Kemo Paul, the batsman with the tournament’s highest score (177) due to National duties in Antigua, Essequibo have been the most balanced and consistent team under veteran Coach Michael ‘Hyles’ Franco and Ryan Hercules.
In addition to the Adams siblings (Anthony & Akeeni), both left-arm spinners with different styles, Essequibo also have a lively ‘new ball’ attack in 20-year-old Nealand Cadogan and Kevin Gordon.
Apart from scoring a ton, the 24-year-old Anthony Adams has 46 wickets, the second highest behind Gudakesh Motie, in the League.
Shiv Chanderpaul is the glue that holds the middle order together, but it is imperative that players like Kevin Boodie, Vijai Surujpaul, Chaitram Persaud and Kemol Savory, who also has century this season, bat around the 43-year-old and resist the temptation of sacrificing their wickets with rash shots.
In the absence of Bajan Raymon Reifer due the West Indies commitments, West Demerara will depend on Tevin Imlach, one of only three batsmen with two centuries in the League along with Tagenarine Chanderpaul who has the second highest score (176).
West Demerara will also hope that Akshaya Persaud (also with a hundred) Mahindra Dhanpaul and former National U-19 Skipper Travis Persaud can all put up their hands and bat sensible.
Spinners Richie Looknauth and Kesram Seyhodan could do the bulk of the bowling on what should be a good track.
At Bush Lot, West Berbice will be without Shimron Hetymer who has two centuries in three matches and it will be left to Left-arm spinner Motie, with 56 scalps, to play the role of one-man Army for his team when they face Lower Corentyne.
Although missing Jonathon Foo, Gajanand Singh and Veerasammy Permaul due to National duties, Lower Corentyne have been one of the better teams this season and will pin their hopes on finishing among the money on schoolboy Kevlon Anderson, who registered his maiden ton in the fourth round, Waheid Edwards, Alex Algoo, Seon Hetymer, Devon Clements and Jason Sinclair.
Raun Johnson and Nail Smith give their team the most potent pace attack in the tournament and should get support from left-arm spinner Kassim Khan.
Today’s game and those starting tomorrow all commence at 09:30hrs.
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