Jamaica v. Leeward Islands: TCL Group West Indies Under 19 Challenge

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Jermaine Blackwood spanked an unbeaten half century in a fine all-round display to give Jamaica a favourable position against the Leeward Islands on the opening day of their TCL Group West Indies Under-19 match on Wednesday.

Blackwood, a left-arm pacer, also snared three wickets as the Leeward Islands struggled to 205 all out after they were sent to bat at Lester Vaughn School ground.

Jamaica closed on level terms at 205 for seven, with Blackwood (55) and young Donovan Nelson (0) at the crease and poised to give the Jamaicans first innings points.

The Leeward Islands played freely at the start and -- an injury to West Indies Youth opener Kieran Powell apart – were streaking toward the 100-mark without losing a wicket when pacer Romeo Dunka dislodged Sherwin Peters with 94 runs on the board.

The Leeward Islands, beaten by Guyana in their opening game, got a fine start from Chesney Hughes and their captain Powell.

But on 37, the left-handed Powell was forced to retire hurt with a shoulder injury after smashing six fours and a six.

Peters was caught behind for 17 and it became 109 for two when medium pacer Gifton Wray sent back Kadeem Phillip for 10, also caught behind.

From a lunch-time position of 117 for two, the Leeward Islands declined swiftly to 134 for five.

Hughes went soon after the break for 52 off 69 balls, playing on against Nelson, the 14-year-old leg-spinner who helped West Indies win the CLICO International Under-15 title in May.

Hughes, who scored a hundred against Guyana in the first round, belted six fours and two sixes in his innings.

The Leeward Islands lost another wicket four runs later when Jamal Hamilton was run-out for one, attempting a second run, and Blackwood then struck the first of three blows to remove Kjel Tyson for nine.

Powell returned and completed a shot-filled half-century.

He was dropped twice at mid-on before being caught in the same position for a top score of 61, with eight fours and two sixes.

Kenroy David battled on for 38 with seven boundaries but there was little resistance otherwise and the innings folded just past the 200-mark at 2:25 pm local time to trigger an early tea.

Dunka claimed three for 33 off 7.2 overs and Blackwood picked up three for 57 off 16 overs to lead the Jamaica bowling.

The Jamaicans’ reply after the tea-break got off to an unsteady start, and they quickly slipped to 28 for two with West Indies Under-19 player Horace Miller (8) and Nick Blackwood (13) falling cheaply.

Young off-spinner Tevin Osbourne, of Montserrat, then did some damage with a double strike to remove No.3 batsman John-Ross Campbell and captain Andre Creary before they could begin to flourish.

Osbourne dislodged Campbell leg before wicket for 14 at 53 for three and West Indies Under 19 player Creary (13) at 61 for four.

Kennar Lewis revived the innings by banging an aggressive 48 with five fours and four sixes, each driven either over long-on or long-off.

Blackwood and Dunka then linked up for a vital seventh-wicket stand that boosted the Jamaicans’ bid for first innings points.

Dunka was fairly robust in his knock, smashing 26 with four fours and a six before he edged to Powell at slip, driving at Osbourne as Jamaica dipped to 187 for seven.

Blackwood had some good fortune -- immediately after Dunka’s departure -- when he was mis-stumped on 40, but he sped to his fifty off 56 balls with five fours and three sixes.

Osbourne has so far claimed three for 64 off 16 overs and Phillip has two for 23.

The Jamaicans, who were held to a draw by Trinidad & Tobago in their opening game, aim Thursday morning to grab a worthy first innings advantage as they press for their first win of the series.