Blackwood says he was hungry for runs

Jamaica Observer article.

Kingston, Jamaica - Jamaica's middle order batsman Jermaine Blackwood credits head coach Junior Bennett for his guidance during a standout season in the recently concluded Regional Four-day cricket tournament.

Blackwood, the former West Indies youth player, headed the overall run-scoring charts with 611 runs in eight matches at an average of 40.73 as Jamaica won the Headley/Weekes Trophy.

The usually explosive and ultra-aggressive right-hander, who made his first-class debut in 2012, significantly curbed his attacking nature, while stroking 94 and 118 -- his maiden first-class hundred -- during the final against the Windward Islands.

"I feel very good. I was working pretty hard before the first-class season. To go out there and get a century in the final is very good," the 22-year-old told reporters upon the team's arrival from St Lucia last week.

"I still feel I could have made some more runs, but I feel pleased to finish with the most runs. It's a good feeling.

"The coach (kept) telling me all season to just bat some balls, so the last couple games I did that. I knew that as long as I was out there I knew the big runs would come. I batted patiently in the final and the patience paid off," said Blackwood who was playing his first full season of Four-day cricket.

He admitted that there were nervous moments in the second innings after falling short by six runs in his first time at the batting crease. Though there was plenty of support from his teammates, a rain interruption when he was on 99 did not help.

"I knew I was going to bat a second time so I already planned my innings for the second time to bat tighter and bat longer. I did that and my teammates supported me all the way. I was a bit nervous (in the 90s) but I was there with [last man] Sheldon Cotterell and I know he is a good batsman. He was there pushing me.

"There was the rain break on 99 runs but I came out and got that single," the former Holmwood Technical student explained.

Jamaica reached the semi-final after finishing fourth in the league stage of the competition and beat table-toppers Barbados by one wicket to reach the final.

By winning the league, Barbados successfully retained the Regional Four-day title and took home the President's Cup.

The Headley/Weekes Trophy won by Jamaica is named in honour of the legendary West Indies batting pair of George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes.

First Published In The Jamaica Observer.

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 04:30