By Sean Devers (Kaieteur News)
Sixteen year-old all-rounder Kemo Paul missed his maiden century by 11 runs, batting Guyana to safety against the
Leeward Islands on the final day of their opening round match of the West Indies Under-19 three-day cricket tournament at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence yesterday.
The Leewards resumed on 300-8 and led by a fine 73 from Captain Jeremiah Louis were all out for 342 to give them a lead of 71. Off-spinner Sharaz Ramcharran was the best Guyanese bowler on show, taking 3-57 from 29 overs while leg-spinner Steven Sankar who bowled too many bad balls, took 2-83.
Off-Spinner Balchand Baldeo, operating with a suspect action, collected 2-50. Guyana, in their second innings slipped from 51-1 to 108-6 at which stage the Leewards must have been harboring thoughts of an outright win. However, Paul ensured the game finished in a draw with a wonderfully constructed 89 as the hosts ended on 214 although the Guyanese lost their last four wickets for three runs; off-spinner Shaquille Martina taking three of the last four to finish the match on a hat trick.
Paul shared in a match saving century seventh wicket partnership with wicket-keeper Kemol Savory (36) to deny the Leewards a possible victory as the wily Martina captured 4-49 to finish with match figures of 9-135. Colin Archibald and Alzarri Joseph supported with two wickets each for the Leewards. Scores: Guyana 270 and 214; Leewards 342.
On another day blessed with glorious sunshine, the islander’s quickly lost overnight batsman Archibald (1), trapped LBW to Ramcharran at 306-9.
Last man Therone Bussue made a useful unbeaten 18 from 41 balls and along with his Captain Louis, who batted for 116 minutes, faced 112 balls hitting 7 fours and 3 sixes in his aggressive innings, added 36 runs in similar time for the last wicket, the Leewards being dismissed 46 minutes into the day’s play.
When Guyana began their second innings, Taignarine Chanderpaul drove Joseph down the ground for four before rocking back and slapping the West Indies Under-19 pacer through covers for consecutive boundaries in the first over after Shemron Hetymer had flicked the Antiguan to the ropes to get off the mark.
Hetymer then gloved a sharp bouncer from Louis, who bowled with good pace on a last day track that seemed to get faster as the match progressed, just out of the reach of the keeper in the next over and got another boundary.
The West Indies Under-19 left-hander from Berbice, who played his only First-Class match this year, impetuously slashed at a wide delivery from Louis and was taken at gully for 14 to leave Guyana on 23-1 in the fourth over.
Brian Sattaur who struggled tactically as a Captain, joined Chanderpaul and the pair, peppered by a barrage of short balls from Louis and Joseph, took the score to 51 before the usually sound Chanderpaul (15) played an expansive drive at Joseph and was bowled off the inside edge six minutes before Lunch.
At the interval Guyana were 51-2 with Sattaur on 14 and Baldeo yet to score, the South Americans still 20 away from wiping off the deficit. After the interval another spattering of spectators saw Sattaur (18) push tentatively to one that turned from Shaquille Martina and was caught at slip before Baldeo (4) failed to make the most of being dropped at gully and edged Joseph to second slip next ball, to leave the home team on 61-4.
Ramcharran was joined by Essequibian Kemo Paul since Askay Homraj who made 62 in the first innings could not bat due to a leg injury sustained while fielding. Ramcharran and the attacking Paul carried their team to 92 before Ramcharran (8) played a big booming drive at Archibald and was caught at second slip.
Paul clipped Bussue for his ninth boundary to post his half-century just before Tea to ensure that Guyana did not join Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados as first round losers.
By Tea, the Guyana lead was 66 and their score 138-6 with Paul on 51 and Savory on seven. After the break Paul continued to put away anything loose and along with Savory, added 103 for the seventh wicket.
However, Paul was bowled by Bussue after batting for 123 balls, 170 minutes and striking 15 fours at 211-7 while Savory fell without any addition to the score to spark a lower-order collapse which saw four wickets tumble for three runs.
Guyana collected 8.1 points while the Leewards got 8.8 points. The young Guyanese will now face the Windwards in their next match at Everest while the Leewards oppose defending champions Jamaica at DCC; both games are tomorrow. Matches commence at 10:00hrs and admission is free.