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St John lose gut-wrencher

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St John lose gut-wrencher

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ANOTHER ST JOHN crusade has come up just short. And this one in gut-wrenching fashion
West Indies off-spinning all-rounder Ashley Nurse fell to a controversial decision in the final over before Jamal Noel was run out off the game’s last ball to seal St John Crusaders’ heartbreaking one-run defeat to St James Settlers in Saturday’s UWI CO Williams Inter-Parish T20 semi-final at the 3Ws Oval.
Needing nine runs off the last over to surpass St James’ total of 144-5, St John started positively as Nurse and Noel each picked up singles off the first two deliveries.
However, Nurse was deemed just short off his crease while attempting a second run to long-on although wicketkeeper Mario Albert had to take the return well in front of the wicket before throwing the ball on to the stumps.
Crusaders still looked likely to win, as Jonathan Holder worked Adrian Caddle for successive twos to leave St John with just two runs to get off the last ball.
But Holder, looking to force a super over by tying the scores, pushed the delivery short on the offside and Noel was woefully short of his ground on the ensuing direct hit.
Like the eventual result before it, Crusaders’ recovery was similarly stunning as St John never seemed likely to make the game competitive after openers Vonrick Nurse and Kirk Gibson fell cheaply to leave the side reeling at eight for two.
However, Lamar Wiggins, who hit 33, and Shamar Cooke (13) steadied the ship with a near run-a-ball third-wicket partnership of 50 before Nurse tore into the attack.
The Barbados off-spinner smashed an impressive 68 off just 32 balls, hitting a pair of fours while clearing the ropes six times to lead St John’s  improbable run chase.
At one point Crusaders were still behind the eight-ball, needing nearly 60 from the final four overs until Nurse took a liking to Chad Clarke-Reifer in an over that cost St James 18 runs.
Earlier, Barbados wicketkeeper- batsman Shane Dowrich hit 71 off 46 balls at the top of the order, sharing in a 62-run opening partnership with Dale Maynard (13) to set the foundation for St James’ total.
But Holder removed both Dowrich and fellow Barbados batsman Shamarh Brooks (17) in quick succession to trigger a slide that saw the Settlers collapse from 103 for one to 114 for five.
Those St John smiles quickly turned to frowns when overseas-based pacer Christopher Jordan bowled captain Nurse for just four before Caddle had Gibson (2) caught at the wicket inside the first two overs of Crusaders’ innings.
St James are awaiting the winner of last night’s semi-final between St Michael Merchants and Christ Church Dolphins for tomorrow’s final. (JM)
Summarised scores:
St James Settlers 144-5 in 20 overs (Shane Dowrich 71, M. Albert 19, S. Brooks 17, D. Maynard 13, C. Jordan 13 n.o.; A. Holder 3-11).
St John Crusaders 143 in 20 overs (Ashley Nurse 68, L. Wiggins 33, S. Cooke 13; A. Caddle 3-21,  S. Brooks 2-22, C. Jordan 2-31).
St James won by one run.