CCC in final
by EZRA STUART SPIN DUO Ryan Austin and Kavesh Kantasingh can now be dubbed the twin tormentors.
They spun a web around the Windward Islands’ batsmen to bowl the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) to a comprehensive 157-run semi-final victory and a historic maiden appearance in the final of the 2011 WICB first-class championship.
The Windwards were chasing a target of 286, set after the CCC – who resumed their second innings from 85 for three overnight – were dismissed for 202, with Man Of The Match Romel Currency following up his first innings 95 with a battling knock of 70.
The Windwards, who started batting 55 minutes before tea, were routed for a paltry 128 in 35.2 overs.
Austin finished with five for 31 in 11 overs, pushing his tally of wickets to a tournament-high 40 scalps, while Kantasingh ended with four for 58 to move to 38 wickets as CCC won with a day to spare.
Middle-order batsman Keddy Lesporis was the only batsman to offer any real resistance, hitting eight fours in a knock of 55 off 71 balls in 105 minutes as Austin claimed his five wickets in the space of 19 deliveries.
The match ended at 4:35 p.m. with Kevin McClean pulling off a spectacular running catch at long on as he dived full stretch to his right to pouch the ball inches from the ground.
The Windwards’ woes started when West Indies opener Devon Smith gifted his wicket like a schoolboy.
With Kantasingh again bowling the new ball, Smith charged down the pitch and hit the third delivery for a straight six. He injudiciously attempted a similar shot off the next ball but was deceived by the flight and the ball peeled off the leading edge for Raymon Reifer to take a low catch at cover point.
New batsman Andre Fletcher cut Kantasingh for two boundaries but lasted only nine balls before he went back looking for another cut and was trapped leg before wicket.
Next over, Johnson Charles edged an outswinger from pacer McClean to wicketkeeper Kyle Corbin to leave the Windwards in early peril at 18 for three.
Captain Liam Sebastien and Lesporis took the score to 50 without further loss at tea, but on resumption Sebastien was caught down the leg-side by Corbin off Kantasingh for 16.
Lesporis, who struck some powerful boundaries, including a fierce straight drive off McClean and a spanking cover drive off fast bowler Carlos Brathwaite, and left-hander Kevin James added 52 for the fifth wicket.
But Austin, switched to the northern Roberts & Holding End, started to weave his magic. The Windwards’ batsmen also started their own disappearing act to the pavilion, with the last six wickets tumbling for 25 runs.
James was smartly taken at silly mid-off by CCC captain Omar Phillips for 16, while Lesporis was also snapped up at forward short leg by Phillips.
In Austin’s next over, Dalton Polius drove a low catch to substitute Ryan Wiggins, strategically positioned a few yards from the bowler’s end on the off-side.
Gary Mathurin followed for a first-ball “duck”, fending off a delivery which turned and bounced into Phillips’ hands at short leg.
Lyndon James skied Austin to Brathwaite inside the mid-wicket boundary and victory was sealed through McClean’s brilliance with Kantasingh taking the final wicket.
Earlier, 20-year-old off-spinner Polius, who hails from St Lucia, briefly raised the Windwards’ hopes when he captured three wickets in his first over, enroute to career-best figures of five for 50 in 21.4 overs.
After starting off with a full-toss, which was pulled over square leg for six by Raymon Reifer, Polius struck with his next ball as the same batsman drove a simple catch to Lesporis at extra cover.
The lean season for the experienced coach/player Floyd Reifer continued when he was pinned on the back foot by Polius for a first-ball duck.
Brathwaite averted the hat-trick but was out off the second delivery he faced, turning a low catch to Sebastien at leg side.
But Currency found a useful partner in the unwell Nkrumah Bonner, who only made 14 but added 34 with him for the seventh wicket before he played on to the off-spin of Sebastien.
When Currency was out in the second over after lunch at 161 for eight, for his second half-century of the match, the lead was 244 runs. His knock spanned 207 balls and 263 minutes and included nine fours.
But the CCC bowlers, led by McClean, who made 22, added a further 42 runs for the last two wickets before Polius completed his maiden five-wicket haul when McClean skied a catch to Keswick Williams.