by Isaac Lockett 17 April 2023
The Jennings Tigers and the All Saints Pythons got Day 4 of the Cool and Smooth T20 underway, with both teams having a rest day during Day 3. The Tigers were looking to avoid two defeats in a row following an opening-round loss to the New Winthorpes Lions and would be looking to set a defendable target as they batted first. Opening the bowling for the Pythons was the impressive Matthew Forde. The right-arm medium-fast bowler was quickly back in the wickets column claiming the wicket of Elijah Peters (4 off 5) in the first over. But Peters’ opening partner Dahri Francis remained firm at the crease and went on to play one of the innings of the tournament so far until being dismissed for 93 off 55.
Francis got support from number seven Jedidiah Martin (25 off 22) towards the end of the inning. But it was the impact that Kadeem Josiah had on the 12th over that stunted the Tiger’s innings. Leg spinner Josiah took three wickets in the 12th over, which really reduced the Tiger’s batting reserves. After all the momentum swings, the Tigers set the Pythons 151 to win.
Scotland batter Liam Naylor (0 off 1) was dismissed in the first over, while compatriot Christopher McBride could not find the same fluency he had in the first match (20 off 23). Forde, who could be competing for player of the tournament, once again looked formidable with the bat and looked on course to score a half-century before getting run out by Paul Miller for 42 off 26 during a critical moment in the match. Compared to the Tigers’ innings, multiple batters got starts, with Michael Dover (27 off 17) and Tron Payne (22 off 18) also making contributions. Eventually, it all came down to the last over. Jedidiah Martin (1-24) was asked to defend ten runs from the last six balls of the innings. The first half of the over went for two, meaning the equation was eight runs off three balls. The fourth ball went for four; then Martin bowled a wide, and the match was truly in the balance. Martin handled the pressure exceptionally and only conceded two runs from the last two balls meaning the Tigers won a thriller of a match by a single run.
The day’s second match saw a top order explosion help set up a win for the Piggots Crushers against the Bolans Blasters. Under 19 wicketkeeper batter, Jewel Andrew is showing Caribbean Premier League and regional selectors that he is a name to watch out for as he finished the innings on 54* from 28 balls, while Trinidian Kristan Kallicharan (57 off 33) also played fantastically after opening the batting. Other contributions from Essan Warner (41 off 33) and captain Elroy Francis (29 off 18) rounded off a fantastic batting inning which saw the Crushers finish their inning on 211-4. Mention should go to Kerry Mentore, who in all the carnage finished with figures of 3-32 from his four overs.
The reply started strongly for the Blasters after an opening 41-run stand between Mentore, who rounded off his good game with (27 off 12), and Scotland captain Richie Berrington (24 off 17). But these were the only two Blasters batters to surpass the 20-run mark. Spin bowling duo Chris Greaves (3-21) and Kadeem Henry (3-23) picked up three wickets each as wickets fell at regular intervals once the opening stand had been broken. Jewel Andrew finished another impressive game behind the stumps, completing a stumping and not conceding a bye, as the U19 star is currently sitting second on the tournament’s run-scoring charts. The final result saw the Blasters lose their second game in two days as they were bowled out for 106.
The final game of the day saw the Liberta Blackhawks look to claim their third win in a row and second in two days against the New Winthorpes Lions to maintain their 100% start to the tournament. After his century in the last game, Kofi James looked in imposing form again, making a rapid start to his innings. However, wickets were falling around him, with overseas Leroy Lugg, Leeward Island Hurricanes player Karima Gore and West Indies international Hayden Walsh Jr all departing for under ten runs. James was the fourth wicket to fall, scoring 42 off 24 before being dismissed by Michael Palmer (1-28). The Blackhawks looked like they could continue to lose wickets rapidly; however, Jamaican Andre Bailey played a vital role for the team. Bailey scored 42 off 33 and helped the defending champions reach 145-10; however, the Lions proved that the Blackhawks could be bowled out and are not impenetrable. Mikkel Govia (2-25) once again impressed with the ball for the Lions, with Scotland spinner Michael Leask picking up 3-22 from his four overs.
It was going to take a tight bowling effort by the Blackhawks to defend their first innings score after being bowled out, and that is precisely what the team delivered. Spin bowlers Walsh Jr (3-15), Gore (1-2) and Bailey (3-7) all bowled well in spin-friendly conditions, helped by an impressive fielding display with six outfield catches being taken, did not let the Lions escape. The Blackhawks went on to win by 53 runs, but could this be a signal to other teams that the Blackhawks could be beaten?