Bridgetown, Barbados, August 23 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Desperate to reach the Final of the island’s top one-day Championship for the first time in 38 years, Wildey have succeeded in obtaining the services of West Indies limited overs all-rounder and Twenty20 captain and all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, as well as his Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Combined Campuses & Colleges (CCC) team-mate, fast bowler Akeem Jordan, for the BCA Super Cup semi-final clash with Empire at Bank Hall on Saturday, August 24.
Brathwaite and Jordan were due to travel on the same day to join the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots squad in preparation for the CPL Tournament, which starts September 4 but were both granted permission to arrive 24 hours later.
They were standout players for CCC who won the regional Super50 Cup for the first time last year with Brathwaite as the captain.
Their presence against a severely weakened Empire, missing five regular players - four of them, pugnacious opening batsman Shian Brathwaite, middle order batsman Kadeem Alleyne, left-arm spinner Camarie Boyce and former West Indies Under-19 team fast bowler Jarion Hoyte - due to the current Barbados Under-23 side’s tour to Dominica, as well as all-rounder Roston Chase, who is playing for West Indies in the first Test match against India in Antigua, should make Wildey firm favourties to win.
In the circumstances, Empire have drafted in their coach, Jason Haynes, a former club and Barbados captain and opening batsman and rookie leg-spinner Winslow Roberts. Neither has played in the Super Cup this season.
Wildey, previously known as Banks and Banks Wildey, last played a Final way back in 1981 when they lost to the Barbados Cricket League (BCL) by eight runs at Kensington Oval in the then 40-over Competition, sponsored by Barbados Fire (later renamed Sagicor General).
It is a shocking statistic as they had appeared in five of six Finals from 1976, winning the title once in 1979.
In fact, their semi-final berth is only their third in the last 12 seasons.
They lost to Carlton by nine wickets at Black Rock (now Desmond Haynes Oval) in 2007 after tumbling for 95 in 39.1 overs.
Carlos Brathwaite, a burly hard-hitting batsman and fast-medium bowler, is now the only surviving member of that Banks side against Carlton, scoring 42 with three fours and the same number of sixes as an opener.
Their other semi-final match was last year when the batting was also a letdown as they crashed for 82 in 36 overs against current champions Sagicor Life UWI and lost by six wickets at the 3Ws Oval.
Wildey have only one player of note absent because of the national Under-23 tour to Dominica - opening batsman Zachary McCaskie.
A lot of attention will be on the Wildey left-arm spinner Pius Emilien, who has quietly emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the Tournament with 20 scalps at 8.20 runs apiece, with a mean economy rate of 2.38.
Emilien, a former Alleyne and Foundation School student, will be mindful that two other left-arm spinners are breathing down his neck in the race for the most wickets.
Joshua Bishop, the 19-year-old former Barbados Youth team captain, who now plays for UWI, has 19 wickets (ave: 8.84; ER: 3.39), while Empire’s Jomel Warrican, who has turned out in seven Test matches for West Indies, has 18 wickets (ave: 11.61; ER: 3.62).
Bishop is fresh from a match-winning haul of 11 for 59 against Barbados Youth in Series 3 of the Elite three-day Championship at 3Ws Oval.
In the other semi-final, home team UWI are favoured to defeat Wanderers.
Both sides are missing at least one player who has been outstanding in the current Tournament.
Five-time champions UWI, who have contested six Finals since gaining entry to the BCA top league division 13 years ago, will be without batting all-rounder Nicholas Kirton, who is the Barbados Under-23 captain. He has 349 runs including three half-centuries, at an average of 58.17.
Wanderers are missing West Indies Test opener and opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, who is playing in the first Test against India. Brathwaite, who boasts of a record ten centuries in the major BCA one-day Championship, has 305 runs (ave: 76.25) including one hundred and two half-centuries this season.
So privileged are UWI that they have named an 18-man squad (a number more associated with touring teams in the old days) including three West Indies ‘A’ team players - all-rounders Jonathan Carter and Kavem Hodge and fast bowler Chemar Holder.
Wanderers have one international player in all-rounder Raymon Reifer, who has played a solitary Test and two One-Day Internationals.
The semi-finals mark a return to the Competition after a seven-week break since the quarter-finals were contested. In the event of no-results, Sunday, August 25 is a reserve day.
The Final is slated for August 31 at a venue to be announced with September 1 as the reserve day.
Empire - Justin Greaves (captain), Kofie Hurdle, Jai-Bari Yarde, Andre Roach, Kevin Stoute, Shakkae Marshall, Jomel Warrican, Shavon Brooks, Jason Haynes, Tennyson Roach, Winslow Roberts.
Wildey - Carlos Maynard (captain), Orion Bostic, Carlos Brathwaite, Latrell Callender, Pius Emilien, Romario Greaves, Jerome Jones, Akeem Jordan, Shane Parris, Steve Pinder, Kyle Sargeant, Craig St.Hill, Shanaldo Taylor.
UWI - Kyle Corbin (captain), Leniko Boucher, Kavem Hodge, Jonathan Carter, Odain McCatty, Emmanuel Stewart, Akeem Dewar, Keron Cottoy, Joshua Bishop, Aaron Daley Jr, Shkym Haynes, Chemar Holder, Johann Jeremiah, David Carter, Kalvin Marcus, Johnnel Eugene, Rashad Myers, Shaquille Brown.
Wanderers - Kevin McClean (captain), Shayne Moseley, Jason Greene, Jonathan Drakes, Roshon Primus, Raymon Reifer, Diego Stuart, Ryshon Williams, Shakeem Clarke, Sylvester Moore, Ian Boyce, Jair McCallister, Nikolai Charles.
Start: 10 a.m.
NB: Follow updates on www.bcacricket.org.