Teams turn attention to longer format
GROS ISLET, SAINT LUCIA - The Regional 4 Day Tournament is set to bowl off on Saturday morning with three matches being played around the Caribbean.
At Gros Islet, the Windward Islands host the Combined Campuses & Colleges, in Bridgetown, Jamaica and Barbados meet again, while the highly anticipated debut of Guyana's Tagenarine Chanderpaul, West Indies Test batsman, Shiv Chanderpaul's son, against the Leeward Islands is at North Sound.
Only on Thursday, the Regional Super50 competition started with all six teams facing each other. Trinidad & Tobago drew a first round bye and will open their domestic season against the Windwards in St Vincent in round two. The latter had to overcome a late onslaught from CCC on Thursday night to creep home by one wicket. It took a 25-run last wicket stand for the home team to open their campaign with a far from convincing win.
But this shoddy performance hasn't deterred the Windward players. Head Coach, Ian Allen, remains adamant the winning part of the performance would stand his side in good stead. He said, "I think it should have a positive impact. The main fact cause we won the game. Had we not won the game, it would probably be on the opposite side." Allen is concerned with his middle order batting. Besides Fletcher (67), Devon Smith (54) and Shane Shillingford (21), the next closest score to 20 were the CCC extras.
With Miles Bascombe leaving the 4-Day squad, Allen will assess conditions at Beausejour on Saturday morning, and decide whether he wants to play an extra batsman. But his headache may have just begun. Captain Liam Sebastien arrived in St Lucia with the flu and it got so bad on Thursday night during the CCC match, he was forced to delay his arrival at the crease. He had a light training session on Friday morning but he will face a late medical test on Saturday morning. Lyndon James will stand in as captain should Sebastien be ill.
After Thursday night's scare, the Windwards will feel they will need all the armour they have for a spirited CCC team. Despite only winning one game for the year, the students have been very competitive. Allen also recognises this, "I think that they have improved. They have some players that can give a lot of teams trouble. Some other players that are match winners as well. We never take them lightly coming into this format of the game because we know what they can do against any opposition, hence the reason why we go out an play as hard as possible."
Before both teams meet tomorrow though, they met in the lunch room of Harmony Suites. The Windwards had just come back from training and the CCC were just heading out. The atmosphere was friendly, but Floyd Reifer, coach of the students, was still disappointed that his team weren't able to grind out a result on Thursday night. After forcing a Windwards collapse from a position of 112/2 to 186/9, Reifer was disappointed his boys couldn't put in the final nail. He said, "Finishing off games is something we got to keep working on. As we go deeper into the competition, guys will get more experience and hopefully we'll have that killer instinct to finish off games."
For the meantime though, the key word for the CCC is to be "competitive." They've successfully done that so far they year and their coach wants them to keep being competitive. "Our main aim is to really compete. Once we compete and give a good account of ourselves, guys are improving an developing their performances, then I'm happy with that," Reifer said.
The stand out players since the CT20 has been Chadwick Walton and Raymon Reifer. Both notched up half centuries against the Windwards in the opening Super50 match and Reifer wants them to score more consistently and change those half centuries into centuries. Like the Windwards, there isn't any major shift in the core of the CCC squad for the 4-Day Tournament, Nicholas Alexis and Marques Clarke make way for Kesrick Williams and Anthony Alleyne.
Play in all three matches starts at 10AM Atlantic Standard Time (9AM Jamaica Time).