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Ezra Stuart

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IT WAS a mix of tears and cheers for the Barbados cricketers at Sabina Park yesterday.
They were force to share the WICB Regional One-Day title with a never-say-die Leeward Islands following a dramatic tie in a topsy-turvy low-scoring final with both teams managing only 139 runs.
And the tears which freely trickled down the face of captain Ryan Hinds after the match, weren’t only to mourn the passing of Prime Minister David Thompson on Saturday.
The despair resulted from the disappointment of not reaching a modest victory target of 140 after they had bowled impressively to restrict the Leewards to 139 for nine in 32.5 overs.
Even though they were all out for 139 in 38 overs, Barbados still had cause to celebrate a sixth regional one-day title. It came despite a carefree and complacent batting with a meek surrender of wickets to shameful shot-selection and risky running.
Tino Best went from bowling hero after he took four for 28, to zero – his score – after he was suicidally run out with the scores even by a direct throw at the non-striker end after his partner Kemar Roach tried to scamper a bye.
It meant that Barbados lost their last two wickets without scoring the one run needed for an outright victory as topscorer Kirk Edwards was bowled by Gavin Tonge off the previous ball for a patient 44 off 96 balls.
Sulieman Benn had also gifted his wicket with nine runs required, trying to repeat a lofted four off Leewards’ hero, fast bowler Lionel Baker, who finished with career-best one-day figures of five for 33 to earn the man-of-the-match award.
Baker, overlooked by the West Indies’ selectors for the upcoming Test tour of Sri Lanka, had dealt four serious blows to the Barbados’
batting with the scalps of Dale Richards (20), Hinds (16), Jonathan Carter (1) and wicket-keeper Carlo Morris (26).
Morris had featured in a face-saving sixth-wicket stand of 47 runs with Edwards after Barbados had wobbled to 54 for five but was bowled off the inside edge, trying to steer a delivery to thirdman.
The Bajan woes started in second over when opener Jason Haynes was given out caught behind by wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton for a “duck off leg-spinner Anthony Martin, who opened the bowling.
Richards, who had cut and drove Tonge for boundaries in the first over and pulled the same bowler for two more fours but was bowled off the inside edge by the first ball from Baker after he replaced Tonge.
At resuming from 40 for two at lunch, Hinds, who seemed in a hurry, predictably flashed at a delivery angled across his body by Baker and edged a low catch to Hamilton.
Carter also snicked a catch to Hamilton after making while Smith, backing up too far, at the non-striker’s end, was left stranded in mid-pitch after Cornwall fielded a ball at short midwicket and gleefully ran and broke the stumps.
Cornwall muffed a chance to break the Edwards-Morris stand when he dropped a simple should-high catch in the cover offered by Edwards, on 21 with the total on 81 for five at that stage.
After Morris’ departure, Javon Searles joined Edwards, who got another reprieve when Chesney Hughes, running around from mid-off, failed to hold onto a lofted shot off the luckless Taylor.
They took Barbados to within 16 runs of victory when Searles, who confidently cut Baker for four past point, flirted at a lifting delivery from the returning Tonge and snicked a catch to Hamilton.
Benn followed as Cornwall wisely pushed back Martin on the long-off boundary and the big left-hander obliged by skiing a catch to him.
Earlier, the Leewards, surprisingly batting after winning the toss, built their innings around a knock of 43 off 49 balls with four fours and a six by captain Wilden Cornwall, which pushed his aggregate to a tournament-high 188 runs.
The Leewards were rocked from fourth ball when Best bowled opener Montcin Hodge for a “duck”.
In the next over, Roach bounced out Hughes as he miscued a hook shot and it became 17 for three when Best induced Steve Liburd into giving Richards a regulation first slip catch.
Cornwall and Javia Liburd then added 60 runs for the fourth wicket in only 9.4 overs before Hinds lured Liburd, who made 12 off 39 balls, out of his crease for an easy stumping by Morris.
Hinds, who ended with three for 30 to end with 14 wickets, the most in the competition, also had Taylor caught behind for eight and Best returned for a second spell and made an immediate double strike.
With his first ball, Cornwall fended off a bouncer for Best to take a return catch and off the final ball of the same over,  he rattled Hamilton, who lobbed a catch to Carter.
The Leewards’ innings came to a premature end as an unwell Justin Athanaze was forced to retire because of dizziness after receiving medical treatment on the field, which last for almost ten minutes.

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