United after hat-trick
All roads will lead to Dayrells Road today for the climax of the Inspire Sports National Sports Council Under-13 competition.
Play in what should be a fascinating final is slated to start at noon. It brings together champions Fusionz Boutique Passage United and TeleBarbados Carlton.
It will be a repeat of last year’s final when Passage United came away with a six-wicket win at Black Rock.
The million-dollar question is, can Carlton stop Passage United’s remarkable 26-game winning streak? The two-time champions are still unbeaten in the three years of the tournament.
They will start as favourites but will no doubt have their work cut out for them. In the semi-final against Bristol, they were made to fight from start to finish but still prevailed to win by 29 runs. They can expect another stern test of their character and resilience from a Carlton team hungry for the trophy.
Both sides consist of players from the national Under-13 team, none more so than Passage United’s Leniko Boucher who has made an indelible mark with a superhuman performance.
The diminutive free-scoring opener has amassed a whopping 593 runs at an average of 296.50 including three centuries and three half-centuries. He had a rare failure in the semi-final, making just 20.
However, Boucher will want to treat the fans to something special in his final knock at this level to ensure that Passage United capture a hat-trick of titles.
Their quest to maintain the title will also revolve around the likes of Hasani Newton, who has scored 153 runs and captured 18 wickets – the second most overall and one behind fast bowler Jadeja Edwards from Bristol.
There are also left-arm fast-bowlers Dominic Drakes (17 wickets) and Deswin Currency (13) who have made life uncomfortable for opposing batsmen. They have also shown their all-round capabilities with 131 and 238 runs respectively.
Off-spinners Micah Thornhill (17 wickets) and female Haley Matthews (ten wickets) give the bowling a very potent look along with another off-spinner in Newton.
Meanwhile, Carlton will look to their in-form captain Nicholas Kirton (249 runs), Dikembe Wilson (221), Shkym Haynes (146) and Shamar Springer (169) to carry the brunt of the batting.
There seems to be a lack depth in the fast-bowling department, despite pacer Springer’s 14 wickets. His new-ball partner Shaquon Cox has taken just four wickets.
Leg-spinner Kaelan Vanterpool could be Carlton’s trump card. He bowled impressively in the last two games, picking up eight wickets, including a five-wicket haul and Player-Of-The-Match awards in both matches.
Kirton, one of the leading all-rounders in the tournament, has also been among the wickets, claiming 12 scalps with his off-breaks.
The sight of Springer with the new ball up against his Combermere schoolmate Boucher should make an interesting spectacle.