Bridgetown, Barbados, August 19 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Exciting all-rounders Dwayne Smith and Roshon Primus were among nine batsmen hitting half-centuries as the majority of victories were easily attained in the opening series of the BCA Elite/Division 1 Twenty20 Cup Championship.
Starved of action in the middle since April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sunny conditions greeted all and sundry in the 20-team Competition - the biggest ever since it started 12 years ago under the wonderful sponsorship of Sagicor General Insurance Co. Limited.
That number has been lifted by the presence of two teams each for record five-time champions Sagicor Life UWI and Barbados Youth.
Significantly, seven of the teams batting first were winners including four in Zone ‘B’.
Smith, the Bayview Hospital YMPC captain and first ever batsman to score two centuries in the BCA T20 Championship, and Primus of Wanderers, are arguably two of the biggest hitters and crowd pullers. And they lived up to expectations.
Surprisingly, neither was contracted for the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Tournament in Trinidad after both played as recently as last year.
But local fans can count themselves blessed in the circumstances as they look forward to thrilling play in the three-month Championship, which will be contested on consecutive Saturdays only.
The 37-year-old Smith, with a whopping 337 global T20s, scored 58 off 42 balls with five threes and six fours in YMPC’s 77-run win over first-timers IDL Walkers Sand Quarry Isolation Cavaliers at Beckles Road in Zone ‘B’.
And in the same zone at neighbouring Dayrells Road, Primus, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Friday, August 14 - the day before the start of the Tournament - lashed 62 off 36 balls containing six sixes and two fours. He then picked up two for five in a telling new ball burst as Wanderers beat Maple by 50 runs.
Co-incidentally, both YMPC and Wanderers recorded the highest total of the round - 169 - with YMPC losing five wickets and Wanderers, six.
But the most breath-taking half-century came from yet another all-rounder - Ravendra Persaud of Police. Known for his natural big hitting as a high-hander, who bowls left-arm spin, Persaud plundered 52 off only 22 balls including five sixes and two fours in a total of 157 for eight against UWI ‘B’, who lost by 12 runs at Weymouth, also in Zone ‘B’.
In an upset of sorts, again in Zone ‘B’, northern team Lords, in only their third season in the Tournament, beat oldstagers Crane Resort St. Catherine by nine runs at Lowlands.
St. Catherine were demoted from the top league division (Elite) for the first time last season. And their T20 showing in 2019 was also woeful, winning only one of five matches - in the Super Over of the last round against Wanderers at Bayfield.
What made the Lords win even sweeter was that two of their batsmen hit half-centuries. Brandon Thompson made 62 and all-rounder Leroy Johnson, 52.
The others boasting of fifties were Marlon Welcome-Goodman (54) of title holders Carlton, who demolished ESA Field Pickwick by 66 runs at Desmond Haynes Oval; Kadeem Alleyne (63) for his new team BWU Gladiola in a 14-run victory against BDFSP at Paragon; Empire captain Kofie Hurdle (52) as Barbados Youth ‘B’ lost by 55 runs at Kensington Oval - all in Zone ‘A’ - and St. Catherine’s Neil Browne (63).
Led by a fine 54 from Marlon Welcome-Goodman, Carlton scored 144 for five after winning the toss.
Batting at No. 4, left-hander Welcome-Goodman faced 42 balls and struck four fours and three sixes.
There were also brisk knocks of 21 off 16 balls with three fours by opener Mekhail Marshall and captain Matthew Jones, who scored 20 off ten deliveries including two fours and one six.
Medium-pacer Cherran Thompson took two for 21 off four overs.
Pickwick were under early pressure on 15 for three by the fourth over with their main hope of a challenge resting on opener Kyle Hope, who has played three Test matches for West Indies.
Bu they continued to lose wickets steadily and were bowled out for 78 in 15.5 overs.
Hope, who topscored with 37 off 39 balls containing two fours and one six, was seventh out with the score 60 in the 12th over. Captain Jared Gilkes (12) was the only other batsman to reach double-figures.
Experienced off-spinner Alex Bridgeman was the main wrecker with three for ten off 3.5 overs, while left-arm spinner Dane Currency took two for 14.
Wildey walloped Barbados Youth ‘A’ by nine wickets with as many as 5.1 overs remaining.
Sent in, Barbados Youth scored 104 for eight.
Malik Young (39), brother of the Carlton and West Indies Under-19 team all-rounder, Nyeem Young, and captain Rivaldo Clarke (37) featured in the best stand - 41 off 6.3 overs for the fourth wicket.
Young faced 47 balls and hit one four at No. 5, while Clarke, who went to the crease at No. 3, received 31 deliveries and struck two fours and one six.
Left-arm spinner Pius Emilien took three for 21 and Deswin Currency, over from BDFSP, two for 11 - both off four overs.
Wildey were put on course for victory by Zachary McCaskie and Craig St. Hill, who added 70 in 8.5 overs for the first wicket before McCaskie was run out for 41 off 30 balls with four fours and two sixes.
St. Hill made 46 not out off 38 balls including six fours and one six.
Spurred by a century opening partnership between Kodi Phillips and Kadeem Alleyne - both former Empire players - Gladiola scored 140 for four after the luck of the toss.
Phillips first fell for 35 off 41 balls including four fours and one six in a stand of exactly 100 in 13.3 overs, while Alleyne made 63 off 53 deliveries with fours fours and three sixes before he was third out at 118 in the 18th over.
BDFSP were dismissed for 113 off 20 overs. Jadeja Edwards hit the topscore of 31 off 24 balls with one four and one six at No. 7, while opener Hans Campbell managed 26 off 25 deliveries.
Wily off-spinner Michael Agard Jr picked up three for 26 and Teriq Worrell, two for 27 - both off four overs.
Paced by a first wicket stand of 68 in only five overs between Shakeel Richards and Lamar Worrell, Yorkshire beat school team Foundation by six wickets with 23 balls to spare.
In pursuit of 131, Worrell was by far the more dominant, hitting the topscore of 40 off only 19 balls with seven fours and one six before he was first out, leg before wicket by left-arm spinner Rondre Yearwood.
Richards, who represented BDFSP last season, next fell for 35 off 33 deliveries containing three fours and two sixes, with the score 87 in the 11th over.
The tempo was sustained by Athelbert Brathwaite, who made 33 off 26 balls including two fours and two sixes.
Yearwood, son of the former Pickwick captain, Rondelle Yearwood, took two for 46 off four overs.
Earlier, Foundation seemed on course for a more competitive score, having reached 67 for two by the 10th over after they lost the toss.
That effort was due to a second wicket stand of 56 in 9.1 overs between captain Dasani Griffith and Dayne Doughty.
Griffith made 29 off 33 balls with two fours and two sixes before he was fourth out at 81 in the 13th over, while Doughty scored 28 off the same number of balls including four boundaries.
The next best effort came from experienced coach Nhamo Winn with 24 off 14 balls inclusive of three sixes at No. 6.
Seasoned leg-spinner Tariq Hoyte took two for 19 and seamer Akeem Evelyn, two for 25, each off four overs.
Empire’s experience was the undoing of Barbados Youth ‘B’, who were let down by their batting in 55-run defeat.
Set 153 to win, Barbados Youth ‘B’ laboured to 97 for nine as only openers Rashad Haynes, with 39 off 45 balls including three fours and captain Rashawn Worrell (12) reached double-figures.
Wicket-keeper Haynes was eighth out with the score 81 after 16 overs - a victim of Barbados Pride and West Indies Test left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican.
Former West Indies Under-19 team fast bowler Jarion Hoyte grabbed three for 18 off four overs and pacer Jaden Edmund, two for 23 off two overs.
After they were sent in, Empire started poorly, losing openers Shian Brathwaite and Jai-Bari Yarde, both for ‘ducks’ by the second over with the score two.
Skipper Kofie Hurdle, who went to the crease at No. 4, played a vital role in a recovery. Hurdle made 57 off 40 balls with five fours and three sixes before he was dismissed in the 15th over with the score 98.
Warrican, who bats right-handed, lashed 29 off 15 balls containing five fours at No. 7 as Empire totalled 152 for eight.
Johann Layne took three for 14 off three overs and fellow pacer Jaden Hoyte, two for 41 off four overs.
It was a rough baptism for Isolation Cavaliers as they went under by 77 runs to YMPC.
Dwayne Smith, the YMPC captain, clobbered 58 off 42 balls with five threes and six fours at the top in a total of 169 for five after he won the toss.
Raymond Kellman made 38 not out at No. 5, smashing consecutive fours off the last three balls of the innings. Jadan Jones contributed 22 in a second wicket partnership of 78 with Dwayne Smith.
Dwayne Alleyne took two for 33 and Sadrian Ward, two for 39 - both off four overs.
Isolation Cavaliers, with their base at KMV Oval, Lakes in the rustic parish of St. Andrew, fell for 92 in 18 overs.
Three batsmen reached double-figures: Captain Jamaine Bullen (15), Ward (14) and former St. Catherine player Damion Hoyte (12).
In a team featuring four Smiths - brothers Dwayne and Kemar Jabarry and twins Kemar Jamar and Kemal - Kemar Jamar took two for seven off three overs, tall left-arm spinner Nkosi Roass, two for 12, also off three overs and Kemar Jabarry, two for 24 off tow overs.
Leroy Johnson starred with bat and ball as Lords upstaged St. Catherine by nine runs in a battle of so-called “country” teams.
After losing the toss, Lords scored 132 for three, thanks mainly to an opening stand of 99 in 14.5 overs between Brandon Thompson and Johnson.
Johnson was first dismissed by pacer Gavin Moriah for 52 off 49 balls with three fours and the same number of sixes.
Thompson fell off the last ball of the innings, run out for 62 off 56 deliveries as he, too, counted three fours and three sixes.
Guyanese Moriah, brought on as the last of seven bowlers, took two for eight off three overs.
St. Catherine were restricted to 123 for seven as opener Neil Browne tried his best before he fell for 63 off 64 balls containing four fours and one six - with two balls left in the match.
Browne was one of three scalps for the medium-fast Johnson, who came on as the last of six bowlers and conceded 32 runs off three overs to complete a memorable match.
Left-arm spinner Kemar Stanford picked up two for 20 off four overs.
Stanford’s brother, veteran all-rounder Khalid Springer, who has the unique record of playing for the first two BCA T20 champion teams, Maple (he was the captain) and Carlton - was mean. He conceded only 13 runs off four overs while picking up one wicket.
Fortunes fluctuated before UWI ‘A’ overcame Spartan by four wickets.
Chasing what appeared to be a modest 118 to win, UWI lost their first three wickets with just 14 runs scored by the third over including new acquisition from BDFSP, Tevyn Walcott (five), a Barbados Pride wicket-keeper/batsman, as experienced left-arm spinner Andre “Ears” Marshall was wreaking havoc.
Marshall removed openers Kyle Corbin and captain Johan Jeremiah - both without scoring - off the third and last balls of the very first over and accounted for Walcott in his second.
Left-hander Anthony Alleyne, with first-class experience and all-rounder Matthew Forde, who played for West Indies Under-19s in this year’s ICC Youth World Cup in South Africa, added 27 in 3.4 overs before Alleyne was bowled by Marshall for 24 off 14 balls with two fours and two sixes.
Forde (23 off 22 balls) and Jamar Ifill (12 from eight balls) then put on 24 off 14 deliveries, but they fell in successive with the latter being run out and then off-spinner Chaim Holder removed Forde.
At 66 for six in the 10th over, Spartan appeared to be favourites to snatch a win but offf-spinning all-rounder Romario Greaves, over from Wildey and Jamaican leg-spinning all-rounder Akeem “Pinky” Dewar, a former first-class player, roughed up the bowling.
The pair added 52 in just 4.3 overs and that was that.
Greaves scored 26 not out off 16 balls with one six and the tall, slim Dewar, also a dangerous hitter, an unbeaten 21 from 13 deliveries including two fours and one six.
Marshall took four for 17 off four overs.
Spartan would have felt let down by their batting after winning the toss, as the last seven wickets tumbled for 37 runs in seven overs to be dismissed for 117 in 19.5 overs.
Opener Joshua Drakes hit the topscore of 23 off 34 balls without a boundary. His dismissal off Dewar led to the slump.
Jamar Ifill, yet another former BDFSP player as recently as last season, took three for 12 off 2.5 overs, seamer Forde, three for 23 and Greaves, two for 31 - Forde and Greaves each sending down four overs.
Burly Roshon Primus showed why he is one of the most talented and dangerous all-rounders in the game today in helping to spur Wanderers to a 50-run win over Maple.
Primus clobbered 62 off 36 balls with two fours and six sixes at No. 4 in a total of 169 for six after Wanderers lost the toss.
With Jonathan Drakes, who made 35 off 28 deliveries containing four fours and one six, Primus put on 50 in 6.4 overs for the third wicket.
Primus and skipper Kraigg Brathwaite (15 off the same number of balls), the Barbados Pride captain and West Indies Test opener, then added 46 off 4.2 overs for the fourth wicket before Primus was removed by former West Indies pacer Corey Collymore, who is now a BCA coach.
Diego Stuart scored 18 not out off ten balls.
Maple limped to 119 for five with opener Limar Pierce scoring 43 not out off 58 balls, striking five fours.
Left-hander Jamar Griffith made 30 off 18 deliveries with four fours and one six.
Primus snatched the first two wickets - Winston Worrell (nine) and Nekoli Parris (0) off the first and fifth balls of the second over of the innings. He took two for five off two overs.
Off-spinner Ian Boyce picked up two for 11 off four overs.
Inspired by an aggressive half-century from all-rounder Ravendra Persaud, positive Police turned back the challenge of UWI ‘’B’ by 12 runs.
Under some pressure at 68 for five by the 14th over after they were sent in, Police owed a total of 157 for eight mainly to a hurricane sixth wicket stand of 60 off only 22 balls between Vataly Wilkinson and Persaud.
Wilkinson, a former Empire and BDFSP player, scored 33 off 15 balls including two fours and three sixes while Persaud was run out off the last ball of the innings, having slammed 52 off 22 balls with two fours and five sixes.
Dario Sargeant scored 26 off 33 balls.
Medium-pacer Shkym Haynes took three for 27 off four overs.
UWI ‘B’ were give a brisk start of 43 in 4.2 overs by Kastun Stoute (17 off 13 balls) and Vidal Crandon (26 off 19 balls, 2 fours and two sixes) but were then checked and ultimately restricted to 145 for six.
Amari Goodridge topscored with 34 off 29 balls including three sixes at No. 6.
Pacer Darien Seale took three for 27 off four overs.
ZONE A - Carlton 4, Wildey 4, BWU Gladiola 4, Yorkshire 4, Empire 4, Pickwick 0, Barbados Youth ‘A’ 0, BDFSP 0, Foundation 0, Barbados Youth ’B’ 0.
ZONE B - YMPC 4, Lords 4, UWI ‘A’ 4, Wanderers 4, Police 4, Isolation Cavaliers 0, St. Catherine 0, Spartan 0, Maple 0, UWI ‘B’ 0.
SERIES 2 - August 22
ZONE A - Carlton v BDFSP at Desmond Haynes Oval; Barbados Youth ‘A’ v Foundation at Kensington Oval; Pickwick v Gladiola at Foursquare Oval; Wildey v Empire at SJPI; Yorkshire v Barbados Youth 'B' at Friendship.
ZONE B - Maple v Isolation Cavaliers at Trents; Police v St. Catherine at Weymouth; YMPC v Wanderers at Dayrells Road; Lords v Spartan at Lowlands; UWI ‘A’ v UWI ‘B’ at 3Ws Oval.