Windwards triumph to reach semis

Gros Islet, St Lucia – A five-wicket haul by left arm spinner Gary Mathurin and an unbroken, third wicket partnership of 48 between Keddy Lesporis and Johnson Charles steered Windward Islands to an easy eight-wicket win over Leeward Islands on Monday.

Set 99 to win the final round encounter of the WICB First Class Championship, the Windwards coasted to their target with no worries at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, completing victory 20 minutes before tea on the final day.

Opener Charles, in his comeback match for the Windwards was in a punishing mood, spanking three fours and three sixes on his way to an undefeated 52. He brought up his half-century with a huge six off off-spinner Justin Athanaze over mid-wicket. Lesporis finished undefeated on 28, bringing his tally of runs for the season to 376.

Resuming the day on 284-7, the Leewards were dismissed for 344 with fast bowler Gavin Tonge falling for a career-best 73 and Jacques Taylor stroking 63 – his highest score in his sixth first-class innings. They extended their eighth wicket partnership to 111 before Mathurin picked up the last three wickets to end with 5-86, and a season high 32 wickets.

The 22-year-old Taylor, unbeaten on 48 at the start, counted six fours and a six before falling to a catch at mid-on by Lesporis as he attempted a big hit. Tonge, who resumed on 41, hit nine fours and two sixes and was also taken at mid-on by Lesporis following a full-blooded drive.

Mathurin wrapped up the innings when substitute Dalton Polius held a catch at mid-off to dismiss Anthony Martin without scoring as the tail-ender tried to go over the top.

The victory left the Windwards fifth in the standings on 41 points and they will now face top-of-the-table Combined Campuses & Colleges in the semi-finals at 3Ws Oval in Barbados on Friday.

Leewards 1st innings 72
Windwards 1st innings 318-9 dec.
Leewards 2nd innings
(overnight 284-7)
S Peters c Fletcher b Peters 1
J Edwards c wk James b Pascal 10
G Williams lbw b Mathurin 114
M LeBlanc lbw b Pascal 2
J Hamilton c wk James b Fletcher 45
J Peters c Lesporis b Mathurin 5
J Taylor c Lesporis b Mathurin 63
J Athanaze c Mathurin b Fletcher 5
G. Tonge c Lesporis b Mathurin 73
L Baker not out 6
A Martin c sub (D Polius) b Mathurin 0
Extras(b6, lb11, w1, nb2) 20
TOTAL (all out, 106.4 overs) 344
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-11, 3-15, 4-136, 5-168, 6-193, 7-223, 8-334, 9-342, 10-344.
Bowling: Pascal 20-6-65-2, Peters 15-5-33-1, James 5-0-30-0, Sebastien 20-3-54-0, Mathurin 36.4-7-86-5, Fletcher 5-0-32-2, Charles 5-0-27-0.
Windwards 2nd innings
(target: 99 runs)
J Charles not out 52
A Browne c wk Hamilton b Baker 2
A Fletcher c wk Hamilton b Athanaze 16
K Lesporis not out 28
Extras(nb1) 1
TOTAL (2 wkts, 32.4 overs) 99
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-41.
Bowling: Baker 5-1-13-1, Tonge 4-2-9-0, Martin 9-2-32-0, Athanaze 11-4-34-1, Taylor 3-1-10-0, Le Blanch 0.4-0-1-0
Points: Windwards 12, Leewards 0