Empire romp to fourth straight win with a day to spare, centuries for Renaldo Brathwaite, Rampersaud
 

Barbados Cricket Association article.

Bridgetown, Barbados - ICBL Empire are on a roll, significantly stepping up their quest to make their 100th anniversary year a truly memorable one.

Starved of the major BCA league title since 2004 and despite fielding a virtual second string side with the majority of the regular team now touring England, Empire crushed LIME by seven wickets with a day to spare to record their fourth win in as many matches in the 2014 Elite division championship.

Their success on home turf at Bank Hall today resulted in 18 points and propelled them to 75 points.

And based on the likely results of the other matches in this series listed as the fifth but effectively the fourth (the second round, originally scheduled for June 21, 28 and 29, has been put back to October 18, 25 and 26 after it clashed with a late decision by the West Indies Cricket Board to play the third and final Test against New Zealand at Kensington Oval instead of in Guyana), Empire could open up a massive 31-point advantage going into the next round at Bank Hall when they will be back to full strength against Sagicor Life UWI, who were champions for four consecutive years (2009-2012).

On a day when the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) opening pair of Renaldo Brathwaite and Mario Rampersaud hit centuries in a splendid, if chancy, opening partnership of 204 in 47.4 overs against Guardian General Barbados Youth who are battling to avoid defeat at the Lester Vaughan ground, Cane Garden, draws were destined for the matches featuring three teams all bunched on the same number of points (33) in second position after the last round - Massy Stores Spartan, CounterPoint Wanderers and Brathwaite Construction/Republic Bank St. Catherine - while UWI were in a strong position to beat ESA Field Pickwick.

Diminutive all-rounder Brathwaite made 115 - his third century at this level and his first since 2009 when he scored two tons, also for BDFSP, while left-hander Rampersaud recorded his first ever in scoring exactly 100 after making his debut in 2008 for St. Catherine as a schoolboy at Lodge. He next represented Barbados Youth for three seasons before joining BDFSP in 2012.

BDFSP rattled up 307 for three declared - a first innings lead of 117 - and then reduced Barbados Youth to 61 for two at the close.

The centuries by Brathwaite and Rampersaud lifted the number for the season to 15 with three batsmen, whose first names all begin with 'K' - Kyle Hope of Pickwick, UWI's Kyle Corbin and Kenroy Williams of St. Catherine - scoring two each.

At Bank Hall:

One day after seven of the Empire players who featured in their first three matches were celebrating a massive 100-run win over an MCC XI in an historic one-day match at Lord's as part of the club's 100th anniversary celebrations, the "reserves" were busy ensuring that they would be no slip up in the amazing runaway lead at the top of the ten-team table.

Empire declared at their overweek 179 for nine - a first innings lead of 117 - and soon had LIME limping on 53 for seven before skipper Randy Thomas and all-rounder Chad Batson led a spirited fightback with a partnership of 98 on either side of tea.

Thomas, who went to the crease at No. 3, topscored with 71 which came in 211 minutes off 148 balls and contained nine threes and two fours, while Batson made 54 in 100 minutes off 77 deliveries, striking seven threes and three fours.

LIME were eventually bowled out for 168, setting Empire 52 to win with at least 17 overs remaining in the day.

Empire duly reached their target in 14.1 overs with pacer Batson taking all three wickets for 21 runs off five overs.

The other wins for Empire this season have been against Pickwick (by an innings and 62 runs at Foursquare Oval); St. Catherine (by an innings and nine runs at Bank Hall) - both before tea on the third and final day - and by one wicket over Spartan in the derby at Queen's Park, late on the third day.

At 3Ws Oval:

UWI are well placed to beat Pickwick, whose batting flattered to deceive after amassing the second highest total of the season - 385 for six declared in the first innings - against defending champions CGI Maple at Foursquare Oval in the previous series.

Starting the day on one without loss in reply to UWI's first innings 393 for five declared, Pickwick lost their first three wickets with 24 runs on the board, including the season's top batsman and skipper Kyle Hope for nought before reaching 104 for three at tea as the gifted Shai Hope, younger brother of Kyle, and fellow former Queen's College student Rohan Ryan were rebuilding the innings.

The pair put on 97 before both fell in quick succession - Shai Hope for 63 off 138 balls including five boundaries and Ryan for 42.

Clint St. Hill (22) and an attacking Shane Jones, who made 57 with three fours and the same number of sixes, then added 63 for the sixth wicket before the last four wickets tumbled in quick succession as Pickwick were dismissed for 210 in 69.5 overs, batting with one player short in left-arm spinner Che Layne, who fractured his arm while fielding on the opening day.

Veteran off-spinner Ryan Austin took four for 64 off 19 overs and pacer Dawayne Sealy, three for 34 off 14 overs.

Following on with a deficit of 183, Pickwick were six for one.

At Dayrells Road:

First innings points to add to batting and bowling points will be the main focus in what has been a high-scoring battle.

Responding to St. Catherine's 382 for nine declared, Wanderers closed on 259 for six off 69 overs.

It means the home side must score quickly in the next six overs if they want to get the further 41 runs needed for maximum four batting points, which St. Catherine achieved on the first day when they reached 305 for seven off 74 overs.

Today, Kenroy Williams took his overweek score of 109 to 123. All told, he batted for 253 minutes, faced 170 balls and struck 11 fours and two sixes in his ninth century at this level and second in succession.

Windward Islands player Alston Bobb, a Vincentian, who resumed on 19, made 44 not out and Ulric Batson added a brisk 29.

Seamer Mali Marshall, son of the late Barbados captain and West Indies fast bowling ace, Malcolm Marshall, was the leading wicket-taker with three for 87 off 19 overs.

In Wanderers' response, national four-day skipper and West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite sustained his rich form in both the BCA league and one-day competitions by scoring 81 in 131 minutes off 103 balls with eight boundaries.

There were also solid knocks from Jonathan Drakes (63), Jason Greene (49) and Renaldo Arthur (41). Drakes and Greene featured in a fourth-wicket stand of 96.

Off-spinner and captain Shamar Cooke picked up two for 29 off six overs.

At Trents:

Unless there is bad batting or excellent bowling by either side, a draw is also in the making.

Maple, whose batting has generally struggled this season, were bowled out for 211 in reply to Spartan's first innings total of 222 as they were confronted by a four-pronged spin attack.

Former captain Renaldo Parris hit the topscore of 37 and Haroon Austin made 34.

Leg-spinner Aamir Thomas took three for 32, off-spinner Jameel Stuart, three for 52 and left-armer Andre Marshall, two for 51.

Spartan will resume their second innings on five without loss.

At Lester Vaughan, Cane Garden:

Resuming today on 29 off six overs after Barbados Youth had scored 190 all out in their first innings, BDFSP took advantage of a few missed chances and a a weakened side as the main players were competing in the just concluded regional Under-19 three-day and one-day tournaments in Guyana.

By tea, the score was 192 without loss off 47 overs with Renaldo Brathwaite on 103 after reaching his century in 156 minutes off 147 balls with 12 fours and one six, while Mario Rampersaud was on 85.

Brathwaite's 115 took 172 minutes before he was first out. He received 155 balls and counted 12 fours and three sixes, while Rampersaud occupied the crease for 191 minutes, faced 153 balls and had 11 fours and one six. 

Left-hander Antonio Greenidge also enjoyed himself by blasting an unbeaten 62 off only 33 balls with five sixes and our fours.

Barbados Youth will resume on 61 for two.

First Published On bcacricket.org.

Date: 
Sun, 08/17/2014 - 05:38