By Sean Devers in Antigua
In association with Vnet Communications,
Bounty Farm, Noble House Seafoods &
Four times Regional Four-Day defending champs, Guyana Jaguars, have begun their quest of achieving the ‘double’ for the third time in the history of Regional cricket on a successful note with three consecutive wins in the 2018 Regional Super50 Festival.
Playing in Zone ‘B’, the Jaguars are the only unbeaten team in the group and sit at the top of the table with 13 points.
In their first Day/Night outing on Sunday Evening the Jaguars, led by 99 from 30-year-old Skipper Leon Johnson and a maiden five-wicket haul from Man-of-the-Match 19-year-old Kemo Paul defeated the Leewards Hurricanes by 16 runs despite a commanding 119 from Rakeem Cornwall.
The Jaguars fell just 28 runs short of their highest total against the Leewards in this format (327-7) when Roy Fredericks’ 119 shared in 114-run stand with Romaine Etwaroo to give Guyana the first of their nine titles by beating the Leeward Islands in the 1980 Final at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
Clive Lloyd (1983) and Roger Harper (1993) are the only Guyana Captains to win the double and Johnson, rated by many as the best Captain in the Region, has an excellent opportunity to claim that achievement.
However, the GCC left-hander, who was just a run short of becoming the 13th Guyanese to score a Regional 50-over ton since Fredericks made the first one, is not harbouring thoughts of achieving such a feat as yet and wants his team to focus on one match at a time.
“I thought it was a very good game, both teams batted well, but the difference would have been Kemo Paul’s five wickets and very good spells from Sherfane (Rutherford) and (Veerasammy) Permaul,” stated the Jaguars Captain, who has 149 runs so far from three matches including two half-centuries.
Johnson, who this season, against T&T’s Red Force, registered his highest First-Class score of 165, faced 95 balls, reached the boundary 10 times and cleared it thrice in his magnificently constructed innings on Sunday night.
“It was disappointing to be run out for 99, but I think I played pretty well, especially in that 125 run partnership with Raymon (Reifer),” the Test batsman explained.
“It’s early days yet but we have played decent cricket thus far, we have held firm when put under pressure and won key moments, once we maintain our discipline and play smart we should qualify for the semis,” said Johnson.
Meanwhile, Jaguars Manager and Assistant Coach who leaves today for Jamaica to play a similar role for the Windies ‘A’, said that the Jaguars is like one big happy family and feels if the team plays to its full potential the Jaguars should win their first 50-over title since 2005.
“Barnwell arrived on Sunday as the replacement for Reifer and I have told him to relax and play in the same aggressive manner that has brought him success in local cricket in Guyana,” Said Rayon Griffith, who played his last match in that 2005 Final against Barbados at Bourda when Shiv Chanderpaul led Guyana to Championship honours.
It is rumoured that left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie will replace leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and Gajanand Singh will come in for Shimron Hetmyer when the pair leave after the sixth round for Windies World Cup Qualifiers duties in Zimbabwe.
However, Griffith informed that the selectors have not yet selected the second player as yet or who would replace him as Manager for the rest of the tournament.
The Jaguars play their next match on Thursday in another Day/ Night game at Coolidge and yesterday were given the off before practice sessions resume today.
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