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Dethroned champions Barbados returned home from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional Under-15 Competition in Jamaica on Saturday night empty-handed – no crown, no individual awards. After beginning with victories in the first two matches, Barbados finished a disappointing fourth with 39 points. They beat Jamaica, eventual champions Trinidad and Tobago and Leeward Islands but lost to Windward Islands and Guyana. It seemed that across the entire competition, the batting was inadequate as shown by a number of totals under or just over 100. The question will always remain as to whether the format of the championship is the best at this early stage of the youngsters’ development. Over the last couple of years, we have seen it move from predominately a one-day 50-overs-a-side tournament to two days with a knockout phase in the first innings and then the traditional way in the second innings. One would have expected the Barbados team to do better. They can be no excuses in terms of preparation, as the boys would have left the island in the midst of the local LIME Under-15 Competition which is played under the same format. They would also have spent Tuesday evenings at the Everton Weekes Centre of Excellence, a coaching centre at Kensington Oval. Limar Pierce, who scored 191 runs, and Daniel Chesham, 162, were the only Barbadian batsmen in the top ten scorers. Chesham, with an unbeaten 84 in the opening game, and Joshua Bishop, who scored 67 against Leeward Islands, made the only half-centuries in the tournament for Barbados. Bishop was the standout as one of the leading all-rounders in the competition. The left-arm spinner was fifth overall in the bowling aggregate with 21 wickets at 14.00 each. He also made 152 runs at 19.00. The other player in the top ten in the bowling department was medium-pacer Jarion Hoyte, who took 15 wickets at an average of 12.80. Left-arm unorthodox spinner Kemar Burrowes also claimed 15 wickets but at 15.20 apiece, including two of the three five-wicket hauls produced by the side. Fast bowler and captain Nagee Holder was a disappointment with the ball. He managed to salvage five wickets at a high average of 36.40. He, Chesham and Pierce were back from last year’s champion team in St Kitts. It meant the team demanded more from this trio along with solid support from the newcomers. When the batting was required the most in a must-win situation against Guyana, it crumbled to all out totals of 100 and 102. Barbados’ highest total was 209 for seven in the first innings of the fourth series against bottom-placed Leewards who failed to win a match. We eagerly await the post-mortem from the management team. I can give them a jump start and say that it’s the batting that is a regional headache from junior level right through to the Test team. This should occupy a major portion of the tour report.