It was a battle of attrition at Warner Park on Thursday 9th November, 2017 as Leewards Hurricanes doggedly fought their way to 181-1 against a Guyana Jaguars attack which operated with impeccable control but lacked late afternoon penetration on the opening day of their third round CWI Digicel Regional four-day encounter here.
The 30-year-old West Indies ‘A’ opener Montcin Hodge led from the front with a well calculated unbeaten 72 from 274 balls with nine fours and shared in a half-century stand with fellow Anguillan Chesney Hughes and an unfinished 113-run stand with West Indies U-19 Keacy Carty.
Hughes’ 31 lasted 87 balls and included five fours, while Carty’s undefeated 61 took 185 balls and was decorated with thee fours and a six.
The Jaguars won the toss and asked the Hurricanes to bat on a good track and small outfield in steaming hot conditions and although Hodge and Hughes were never allowed to dominate they built a firm foundation for the home team.
The left-handed Hughes, dropped at second slip by Shiv Chanderpaul on 18 off Kemo Paul, was the more aggressive of the two although he had problems with the ball leaving him and edged Sherfane Rutherford between the Keeper Anthony Bramble and Leon Johnson at first slip on 21.
Hodge was tested especially by his West Indies ‘A’ team colleague Keon Joseph, who extracted pace and lateral movement from the track which favoured the batsmen but still had something in it if the pacers bent their backs and put in the effort.
Against an attack dominated by pace with the tournament’s leading wicket taker left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, bowling just three overs in the first session, Hodge got going with a boundary off Paul, who shared the new ball with Joseph.
Hughes stroked Rutherford sweetly past point for four but the Hurricane pair was made to fight hard for their runs.
Hughes square-drove Rutherford confidently to the point boundary in the 19th over to bring up the 50 and by Lunch the openers were still there in a session which was won by the hosts. At Lunch, Hurricanes were 56 without loss with Hughes on 29 and Hodge on 20.
After the interval, the Jaguars bowled four consecutive maidens before Hughes played around a ball from Shepherd was LBW at 58-1.
Carty, from the hurricane hit Island of St Martin, joined Hodge who was dropped at first slip by Shiv Chanderpaul on 29 off the unfortunate Paul and the pair consolidated against Permaul and Paul bowling in tandem with impeccable control and kept a strangle hold on the batsman.
Permaul from the South and Paul and Rutherford from the North kept the batsmen in shackles with a succession of dot balls before an exquisitely executed on drive from the 20-year-old Carty raced to the ropes to ease the pressure.
Hodge was hitting the ball straight to the fielders and the Anguillan began to exhibit signs of frustration as the partnership stalled as he struggled to score and put pressure on young Carty, who also found it hard to get the ball off the square.
A slash off Rutherford, just past gully, brought Hodge four fortuitous runs to wide third man as the pair eked out just 46 run in 120 minutes from Lunch to Tea as they crawled to the break at 102-1 with Hodge on 41 and Carty on 20 and their partnership worth 44.
Carty hit Permaul back over his head for six just after Tea, while Hodge late cut Permaul for his sixth four to post his 18th First-Class fifty from 208 balls and 258 minutes and celebrated with a Lawrence Rowe-like late cut for four more when Shepherd gave him room outside off-stump.
Hodge give himself room and used Permaul’s pace; executing another deft cut past slip for four while Carty, the leading run scorer for the Hurricanes with over 300 runs, whipped Joseph for four as his confidence increased as his innings progressed.
The run rate increased in the last session as the Jaguars bowled economically but lacked penetration as Carty in only his 13th match, reached his 6th fifty from 148 balls and 177 minutes with three fours and a six as the bowlers began to tire and the final period produced 79 runs.
Today is the second and play starts at 10:00hrs.
Scores: HURRICANES 181 for one (Montcin Hodge 72 not out, Keacy Carty 61 not out, Chesney Hughes 31) vs JAGUARS.
Meanwhile, over in PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, – Trinidad & Tobago Red Force reached 334 for three in their first innings at the close, after they were sent in to bat on the first day of their round match against Windward Islands Volcanoes in the Regional 4-Day Championship yesterday at Queen’s Park Oval.
Scores: RED FORCE 334 for three (Denesh Ramdin 104 not out, Jason Mohammed 100 not out, Kyle Hope 68, Yannic Cariah 49; Sherman Lewis 2-42) vs VOLCANOES. (CMC)