Jeffers leads strong Leewards reply

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, CMC – Jamaica’s bowlers failed to match the success of their batsmen, and Leeward Islands, led by Shane Jeffers, made a strong start against them in the WICB Regional first-class championship on Saturday.

Jeffers was unbeaten on 80, and Gavin Williams scored 40, as Leeward Islands, replying to Jamaica’s first innings total of 504 for five declared, reached 169 for three at the close on the second day of their fourth round match at Warner Park. Marlon Samuels had led the way with 167 for Jamaica before Dave Bernard Jr gathered an unbeaten 53 and Wavell Hinds 51 not out, as the Jamaicans declared their first innings about an hour after lunch.

After an early strike from Jason Dawes, the Jamaicans found wickets hard to come, as hometown boy Jeffers gave them a taste of their own medicine with 14 fours from 150 balls in a little more than 3 ½ hours. Dawes had Dolston Tuitt caught at second slip for four swinging at a short ball in his maiden first-class innings to leave the Leewards 26 for one at tea.

After the break, Bernard had success in the first half-hour, when Shane Burton was caught at mid-on for 17 to set the Leewards back on 49 for two. Williams joined Jeffers, and they spent close to 1 ¼ hours in defiance to add 77 for the third wicket, with Jeffers racing to his 50.

Tamar Lambert, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, made the breakthrough, when he had Williams caught at slip for 40, following an innings that contained five fours and one six from 64 balls in 70 minutes. The Jamaicans met further resistance, when Leewards captain Steve Liburd joined compatriot Jeffers, and they batted through another hour until the close, adding 43 – unbroken – for the fourth wicket.

Earlier, Samuels continued to plunder the Leewards bowling, after Jamaica resumed from their overnight total of 332 for three. He confidently strode to 150, and looked intent to score his second double hundred for the season, when Gavin Tonge bowled him off the under edge.

He hit 17 fours and three sixes from 219 balls in a little over 4 ½ hours. Samuels and Lambert added 64 for the fourth wicket, and the Jamaica captain soon followed his star batsman, when he was caught behind off Tonge for 41 to leave his side 398 for five. But Bernard joined Hinds, and they put on 106 – unbroken – for the sixth wicket either side of lunch to collect their 50s, and break the spirits of the Leewards fielders.

Leewards stand at the foot of the eight-team ladder on three points, following their second defeat this season, after the Combined Campuses & Colleges crushed them by 158 runs in the previous round on home soil at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua.

Jamaica have the same 24 points as the CCC and the England Lions at the top of the table, but they are effectively third, under the tie-breaker rules for the competition, after they settled for first innings points in a draw with Barbados last time out.

Warner Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Jamaicans. They have won their last two matches at the ground two years ago, and last year. But they know they cannot take the Leewards lightly, as they found out two years ago, when their opponents sprung a surprise, and beat the Jamaicans by 28 runs in their own backyard at Sabina Park in Kingston.

JAMAICA 1st Innings(overnight 332 for three) D. Hyatt run out (Tonge/Hamilton) 44 S. Jackson c wkpr Hamilton b Willett 61 M. Samuels b Tonge 167 B. Nash c Burton b Liburd 67 T. Lambert c wkpr Hamilton b Tonge 41 W. Hinds not out 51 D. Bernard not out 53 Extras (lb6, w1, nb13) 20 TOTAL (5 wkts, 127.4 overs) 504 +C. Walton, O. Brown, A. Richardson, J. Dawes did not bat Fall of wickets: 1-79, 2-155, 3-318, 4-382, 5-398 Bowling: Baker 20-6-70-0; Tonge 24-3-82-2 (nb10); Willett 21-2-80-1 (w1); Martin 34-2-143-0; Taylor 17-0-77-0 (nb1); Liburd 9-2-24-1; Burton 2.4-0-21-0 (nb2) LEEWARD ISLANDS 1st Innings S. Jeffers not out 80 D. Tuitt c Samuels b Dawes 4 S. Burton c (sub) B. Brown b Bernard 17 G. Williams c Smauels b *Lambert 40 *S. Liburd not out 14 Extras (lb5, w1, nb8) 14 TOTAL (3 wkts, 52 overs) 169 T. Willett, +J. Hamilton, G. Tonge, J. Taylor, L. Baker, A. Martin to bat Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-49, 3-126 Bowling: Richardson 8-2-26-0; Dawes 9-3-21-1 (nb3, w1); *Lambert 14-4-30-1; O. Brown 13-1-59-0 (nb3); Bernard 6-1-24-1 (nb2); Hinds 1-1-0-0; Nash 1-0-4-0 Position: Leewards trail by 335 runs with seven first innings wickets standing Umpires: W. Mitchum, P. Nero Matchreferee: V. Burnes Reserve umpire: T. Texeira