Bridgetown, Barbados, June 29 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Spartan clinched the last quarter-final place in the BCA Super Cup Championship with a thrilling one-wicket win with three balls to spare over Carlton at Desmond Haynes Oval.
It could not have been more gripping as fortunes fluctuated from early.
Going into the ninth round Zone ‘B’ match on the same number of points (18) and as the only remaining teams with a chance to advance to the knockout stage, the pressure was on Carlton to win, as a tie, no result or an abandonment would have also favoured record eight-time champions Spartan (but they have not won the title since 2002), based on the first tie-breaker that they had more outright wins than the home side. Net Run Rate (NRR) is the second tie-breaker and even so, Spartan were also ahead.
Both Carlton and Spartan had four wins prior to the match but one of Carlton’s was by default against Barbados Youth at The Lodge School, Society in Series 5 when the pitch was not prepared.
According to the General Rules of the Competition, 3 (e) states: In the event of teams finishing on equal points in their respective Zones, the highest placed team will be the team with: (1) The most wins in the zonal competition (matches won by default shall not be considered when determining the number of outright wins).
Following the loss of the toss, Carlton were in early trouble at 29 for four in the eighth over.
And after a recovery, led by a stand of 51 in 13.4 overs between Renaldo Holder (48 off 73 balls with six fours and one six) and Rashad Armstrong (12), they lost three quick wickets to plunge to 84 for seven by the 24th over before fighting back to score 212 for nine off 50 overs.
That was due mainly to an eighth wicket partnership of 75 in 15.5 overs between Tarik Shorey and captain Matthew Jones.
Even after Jones, the son of former BCL and Barbados wicket-keeper/batsman Ricky Skeete, was dismissed for 43 off 55 balls containing four fours and two sixes, there was a handy stand of 36 in 7.4 overs between Shorey and Dante Niles (14).
Shorey hit the top score of 57 not out off 77 balls including four fours and two sixes.
Fast bowler Michael Sobers took three for 25 and left-arm pacer Davien Branker, three for 39 - both off seven overs.
Spartan passed 100 with only three wickets down but among them were their two most experienced batsmen in Rashidi Boucher (13) and Barbados Pride captain Shamarh Brooks (11).
Carlton then hit back by removing Muhammad Lokhat for 20 and skipper Chad Williams (nought) in the space of 11 balls and at 123 for five in the 31st over, the match was in the balance.
A level-headed Marrodon Bend and Chaim Holder eased the pressure by putting on 40 in 10.2 overs for the sixth wicket before Bend fell for 48 off 75 balls including three fours and one six.
When Stefon King was dismissed for five to leave the score 174 for seven in the 44th over, Carlton looked cock-a-hoop.
But they gradually became a bit frustrated and made a couple sloppy fielding errors as Holder found a useful partner in Branker. The pair added 23 off 26 balls before Holder fell for 34 off the last ball of the 48th over with 16 runs required.
At the start of the final over, bowled by left-arm spinner Jones from the Kenneth Warren end at the north, eight runs were needed with two wickets in hand. Branker was bowled off the first ball for five and amidst high tension, Andre “Ears” Marshall joined Sobers, who was on seven.
A couple wides, and a single by each batsman got Sobers back on strike before another wide ball down the leg side eluded stand-in wicket-keeper Armstrong and raced into the boundary, much to the elation of the Spartan team and a small number of their die-hard supporters including “Dino” and “Buff”.
Armstrong had replaced Renaldo Holder, who was struck in his mouth in only the third ball of the innings by a quick delivery, which burst through the gloves from seamer Shamar “Chest Roll” Springer, a Barbados Pride all-rounder and one of the heroes of the champion West Indies Under-19 team at the ICC Youth World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016.
Jones took three for 31 off 9.3 overs and medium-pacer Zidane Clarke, three for 59 off ten overs.
Both teams were guilty of high extras. Spartan conceded 28 including 20 wides with all six of their bowlers contributing, and Carlton had a count of 29 with 20 wides as well - eight of them sent down by a jolted Jones, who used seven bowlers.
There were two centuries, which lifted the number for the season to 15 - the second most in a Tournament following 22 each in 2016 and last year.
The century-makers both carry the same first name - Jamar.
Veteran all-rounder Jamar “Butter Beans” Griffith slammed 111 off 100 balls including five threes and 14 fours at No. 6 for Maple, who scored 260 for eight off 50 overs and duly defeated ESA Field Pickwick by 65 runs at Trents.
Griffith, a burly left-hander, who also bowls left-arm spin, completed a fine all-round match by taking four for 40 off ten overs as Pickwick were bowled out for 195 in 34.3 overs, losing their last nine wickets for 95 runs.
Kyle Hope, a former Barbados batsman, who now plays for Trinidad & Tobago Red Force and has also represented West Indies in Tests and One-Day Internationals, made 59 off 39 balls.
It was Griffith’s second century in the Competition. The other was ten years ago when he lashed 124 for Bristol against BDFSP at Old Coleridge.
Jamar Ifill of BDFSP enjoyed himself with a knock of 107 - his maiden century - off Crane Resort St. Catherine, who lost by 134 runs at Bayfield.
Batting at No. 3, Ifill faced 78 balls and counted four fours and eight sixes in a total of 266 for three off 42 overs after rain impacted.
He featured in a second wicket stand of 141 off 18 overs with Barbados Pride wicket-keeper/batsman Tevyn Walcott, who made 82 off 88 balls with five fours and two sixes.
St. Catherine limped to 132 for seven off 42 overs.
All of the other winning teams did so by comfortable margins.
CounterPoint Wanderers beat Lords by 121 at Dayrells Road; title holders Sagicor Life UWI crushed Wildey by 169 runs at 3Ws Oval; Police defeated Barbados Youth by five wickets at the Harrison College ‘A’ ground, Crumpton Street; Bayview Hospital YMPC won by a similar margin over Gladiola at Beckles Road and Empire triumphed by 139 runs against Nicholls Baking Combermere at Bank Hall.
In the quarter-finals on July 7, UWI battle with Spartan at 3Ws Oval; Wildey meet Gladiola at SJPI, co-incidentally in a repeat of last year’s clash at the same stage and venue when Wildey won by 53 runs; Empire oppose IGS Insurance Brokers Yorkshire at Bank Hall and last year’s finalists YMPC clash with neighbours Wanderers at Beckles Road.
ZONE A - UWI 30, Wildey 26, Wanderers 24, Yorkshire 18, Maple 16, Pickwick 8, St. Catherine 8, Lords 8, BDFSP 6.
ZONE B - Empire 26, YMPC 24, Gladiola 22, Spartan 22, Carlton 18, Police 14, Foundation 10, Barbados Youth 6, Combermere 2.