Honours evenUWI opener Kyle Corbin driving sweetly through the off-side during his 88 against Empire at Bank Hall. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
By Haydn Gill in Bank Hall | Sun, July 15, 2012 - 12:03 AM
For the first half of the top-of-the-table clash between Sagicor UWI and ICBL Empire, it appeared to be a contest between a heavyweight and a lightweight.
For the second, however, cornered opponents Empire got off the ropes and inflicted telling blows on the opening day of their sixth-round LIME Elite Division match.
Runaway leaders UWI raced to 156 for three at tea on the back of a series of glorious strokes in a half-century by Kyle Corbin.
Second-placed Empire, who trail by 29 points, clawed their way back in the second session, instigating a collapse in which five wickets fell for 21 and prompted a surprise declaration by UWI on 204 for eight just before 4:30 p.m.
In 19.3 overs before the close, Empire made an encouraging reply courtesy an unbroken near century opening stand between captain Jamal Smith (41 not out) and Jason Haynes (29 not out) that propelled them to 90 without loss at stumps.
While Empire depended on their seamers in bowler-friendly conditions in the last match against St Catherine, it was the spin duo of Roston Chase (3-40) and Nikolai Charles (3-41) who helped turn things around yesterday.
Empire chose to field first on another grassy pitch they were hoping to exploit, but apart from the early wicket of Omar Phillips, UWI dominated the pre-tea session with fluent strokeplay.
Opener Corbin, strong when driving through the off-side, batted like a dream in fashioning 88 that included 13 threes and a four, and featured in successive partnerships of 80 and 59 with Jonathan Carter and Chadwick Walton.
The left-handed Carter attacked the bowling as if he were at batting practice and rushed to 32 off 38 balls with six threes and two fours before he was prised out by a wonderful diving slip catch by Haynes off leg-spinner Charles.
Charles also removed Walton for the identical score with the help of a catch by Jared Bernadin at deep mid-wicket.
Empire’s high standard of fielding was maintained when Brandon Best ran back from mid-off to catch Rommel Currency off Charles and Shawn Graham accepted an offering at deep cover from player/coach Floyd Reifer, who batted at No. 7.
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