Mar 10, 2019 Sports
By Sean Devers
Four-times defending Champions Guyana Jaguars defeated Trinidad Red Force by six wickets on the third day of their final round Windies Regional First-Class Cricket Championships to be on verge of registering a record equalling fifth consecutive title and 12th overall since Rohan Kanhai led Guyana to its first in 1973.
This season was not as smooth sailing as the Jaguars would have wanted but unless Hurricanes, who beat Volcanoes in Antigua yesterday, gets an improbable maximum 24 points in their final game against Barbados from next Thursday, yesterday’s emphatic win at Providence will equal Jamaica’s five-year run from 2008-2012, while Johnson’s possible five successive titles would be one more than Nakita Miller’s four after Chris Gayle led Jamaica to Championship honours in 2008.
The win was mainly due to an111-run third wicket partnership between Johnson, who made 76 from 125 balls, 126 minutes with 14 boundaries and Chanderpaul (43not out) who faced 150 balls and batted 198 minutes and hit six fours to end the season with 521 runs.
Anthony Bramble, who hit Bryan Charles for six to the finish the game on stroke of the first break, remained undefeated on 20 with two sixes to take his aggregate to 560 runs, the most for the Jaguars.
The 24-year-old Romario Shepherd followed up his 5-24 in the first innings with 3-52 for a match haul of 8-76 to take the Man-of-the-Match award and finish with 37 wickets, the most by a fast bowler.
Scores: 120 & 206; Jaguars 165 & 163-4.
With Cotton Wool like clouds drifting over the Providence sward in extreme heat, Jaguars, set 162 to win their seventh game of the season, resumed on 69-2, needing another 93 runs for victory.
Johnson was on 37, in sight of his fourth fifty of what has been a below par season for the left-hander from Kamuni Creek, while Tagenarine Chanderpaul was with him on 22.
Johnson cut off spinner Charles behind point for four before Chanderpaul’s imperious straight drive off Charles raced across the lightning fast outfield on its way to the ropes.
Johnson, batting with the flair that brought over 800 runs and Windies recall a few seasons ago, executed back-to-back cuts off Charles for boundaries, the second one bringing up his 37th fifty at this level. His half-century was posted off 72 balls, 71 minutes and decorated with 11 gorgeous boundaries.
When Chanderpaul defended, his bat seemed as broad as the black sightscreen behind him as he played the support role with responsible batting in the context of the match situation.
Johnson, who has been playing at this level for 15 years, leaned onto his front foot and caressed pacer Tion Webster to the extra cover boundary to the delight of the small but vocal gathering in Green Stand.
Johnson swivelled and dismissively pulled Webster to the mid-wicket boundary to move into the seventies, but when well set for his sixth First-Class hundred he genuflected and missed a sweep to Charles and was LBW for 76 at 123-3.
Barnwell (12) got going with a ferocious off drive which was followed up by an on-drive off Webster for boundaries.
But injudicious shot selection orchestrated his demise when he tried to hit a six off Khan for Phillip to take a brilliant catch after going over the rope at long-on and parrying the ball back into play before returning to the field to complete the catch to leave Guyana on 136-4.
Chanderpaul and Bramble added 27 between them before Bramble hit Khan into the Red Stand and finished the game with his second six off Charles.
Anthony Bramble finished with most dismissals by a Wicketkeeper (43), while left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul’s 44 wickets is only second to Leewards Hurricanes off-spinning all-rounder, Rakeem Cornwall the only bowler to reach 50 wickets.
Johnson is the fifth Guyana Captain to win Regional First-Class titles; the others being Kanhai (1973), Clive Lloyd (1975 & 1983), Roger Harper (1987 & 1993) and Carl Hooper (2002). Johnson has won from 2015-2018 and unless the Hurricanes miraculously achieve the maximum points in their final game, he should be the winning skipper again this season.
Scores: RED FORCE 120 (Imran Khan 37, Tion Webster 30; Romario Shepherd 5-24) and 206 (Daniel St Clair 31 not out, Khary Pierre 30, Jason Mohammed 27, Joshua Da Silva 25; Romario Shepherd 3-52, Raymon Reifer 2-43).
JAGUARS 165 (Anthony Bramble 62; Daniel St Clair 3-29, Odean Smith 3-37) and 163 for four (Leon Johnson 76, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 43 not out, Anthony Bramble 20 not out).
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