Scores: Jaguars 362 & 95, Volcanoes 228-9 (inns closed) & 125
When the final day of the opening round of the WICB PCL four-day First-Class Franchise between Guyana Jaguars and Windward Islands Volcanoes began both teams had a chance of winning with the visitors needing 230 from at least 90 overs and the host hunting 10 wickets. An intriguing battle was anticipated.
The sun was out in all its glory, the pitch was still good to bat on, although it provided more purchase for the spinners and the handful of die-hard at Providence were expecting a ‘ding dong’ battle which was not to be as the Jaguars, the defending Champions, mauled the Volcanoes, which remained dormant on the final day, by 104 runs.
The day began under blue skies with a cool breeze blowing across the ground and the Jaguars opening bowlers, Ronsford Beaton and off-spinner Steven Jacobs, who shared the new ball with the Montserrat born Essequibo pacer, kept the shackles on the openers with impeccable control.
The home needed to get an early wicket but more importantly prevent the batsmen getting away to a ‘flyer’ chasing not too big a target.
Beaton bowled with genuine pace on the flat track while Jacobs produced bounce and the variation which was missing from his bowling in the past. By 11 overs the Jaguars had achieved both objectives when Tyrone Theophile (4) was trapped LBW be left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer as the Volcanoes limped to 18-1 on a lightning fast outfield.
Things got progressively worse for the Islanders when their best batsman, 34-year-old Grenadian left-hander Devon Smith, who has 19 Regional First-Class tons, only behind Stuart Williams’ 20 of the Leewards, again showed his vulnerability to off-spin when Jacobs dismissed him for second time in the game at 36-2.
The former West Indies opener uncharacteristically struggled for 59 minutes and 41 balls for his 11 on a pitch which did not encourage fast scoring and a bowling attack bowling an impeccable line and length.
With Smith out of the way the confidence level in the home team increased and 11 runs later, Keddy Lesporis (2) edged a catch to the keeper Anthony Bramble off Reifer who also removed Sunil Ambris for a duck to a brilliant catch by Bramble as two wickets tumbled at 49.
Reifer, in the middle of an impressive spell, struck for the fourth time when the left-handed Dalton Polius was trapped LBW for a duck at 59-5. Miles Bascombe counter attacked and played in the only way he knew.
The 29-year-old Vincentian charged Reifer and smashed him for consecutive boundaries before an exquisite cover drive in Reifer’s next over reached the ropes in the blink of an eye.
But 20-year-old debutant Gudakesh Motie was introduced and reaped success with his second ball when the attacking Bascombe was LBW for a 43-ball 38 decorated with eight fours and the Volcanoes were sinking fast as the Jaguars were on the prowl, scenting blood.
Beaton was reintroduced with the arrival of Skipper Liam Sebastien whom he had struck on his helmet in the first innings forcing him to retire hurt. Beaton peppered Sebastien with a barrage of short balls which the Dominican hooked in a courage exhibition of fighting fire with fire to survive a testing period.
Just when the Volcanoes looked like going to Lunch without further loss, Barbadian Kyle Mayers (8) had his stumps knocked out by Beaton after he slashed a short one for four and at Lunch the visitors, the only team yet to win a Regional First-Class title, were wobbling on the ropes like a punch-drunk Boxer on 76-7.
After the interval Shillingford and his Captain joined forces to stage ‘operation rebuild’ and with positive batting frustrated the Jaguars bowlers by adding 45 for the eighth wicket. But by then the Volcanoes chances of winning was unlikely as a turtle from Guyana’s rugged terrain deep in the South American Jungle beating Usain Bolt in a 100-meter race.
Jacobs, extracting bounce and turn and flighting the ball nicely, ended the gusty 36 from Sebastien, who batted for 81 minutes, faced 69 balls and reached the boundary six times.
Sebastien’s demise left his team on 121-8 and fat ladies were already queuing up to sing. Jacobs then got rid of Shillingford (14) and Kenroy Peters (0) to formalize what turned out to an emphatic victory, one hour and 17 minutes after Lunch.
Jacobs finished with 4-35 and match figures of 8-89, while Reifer supported with 4-41 for the Jaguars who take on the Jamaica Scorpions, who lost to Barbados Pride by 10 wickets yesterday, in their second round game at Providence from Friday.
(Taken from Kaieteur News)