ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Brilliant. Exciting. Stunning. Thrilling. Astonishing. Dramatic.
These are just some of the adjectives that could be used to describe the finish of the historic tie between Guyana Jaguars and Windward Islands Volcanoes in the Digicel 4-Day Championship on Sunday.
Needing a further 60 on the final day of their sixth-round contest at the Guyana National Stadium, table leaders and reigning three-time champions Guyana Jaguars were undermined by a memorable spell from Test off-spinner Shane Shillingford.
It was the first time in the 152-year history of the Windies first-class championship that a match ended in a tie.
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A defiant third first-class hundred from Devon Thomas and a career-best knock from Akeem Saunders upstaged a destructive spell from left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican to carry Leeward Islands Hurricanes to a draw against Barbados Pride at Warner Park.
And, rain and resolute batting – led by Trinidad & Tobago Red Force captain Denesh Ramdin – ruined Jamaica Scorpions’ bid for victory, leaving them to settle for a draw at Sabina Park.
Volcanoes (117) & (241) tied with Jaguars (194) & (164) in Providence, Guyana
The odds at the start of the day were stacked heavily in favour of the Jaguars, but Shillingford turned the game upside down, when he snapped up 5-47 from 16.2 overs to earn Volcanoes a share of the honours.
It was the 40th time the lanky tweaker from Dominica had taken five wickets or more in an innings in a first-class match and he finished the contest with 9-83 to earn the Player-of-the-Match award.
Test left-hander Vishaul Singh, unbeaten on 48 at the start, carried Jaguars’ hopes of victory, but he was lbw to Shillingford in the fifth over of the morning for a top score of 56 with 47 needed.
Wicketkeeper Anthony Bramble then led the Jaguars batting, but the Volcanoes continued to apply the pressure which yielded the scalps of Sherfane Rutherford for two and Keemo Paul for three.
Bramble continued to keep the scoreboard ticking, hitting four fours, but Shillingford held a return catch to dismiss Veerasammy Permaul and had Gudakesh Motie caught at slip in the space of three balls in his 16th over, leaving the Jaguars needing seven.
Fast-medium bowler Kyle Mayers conceded four from his next over and Shillingford two from the first ball in the following over before he dramatically trapped Bramble lbw with just one run needed for victory.
Pride (394) & (163-4 dec) drew with Hurricanes (246) & 286-4 in Basseterre, St. Kitts
Thomas hit the top score of 103 – his first hundred in two years – and Saunders supported with a resolute 64 – his first ever half-century – as the Hurricanes finished just shy of their target of 312.
The pair defied the Pride attack for close to two hours either side of tea with a stand of 108 for the fifth wicket after the Hurricanes looked in danger of crumbling on 133 for four.
They were separated about an hour after tea and the Pride attack, led by Warrican with 6-89 from 28 overs, made a big push for the win, but the Hurricanes tail-enders chose discretion as the best part of valour in the closing stages.
Earlier, the Pride overnight pair of Kenroy Williams, not out 49, and Kevin Stoute, not out on 32, had used the first hour of the day to advance the visitors to 163 for four with an unbroken, fifth-wicket stand of 79 before they declared.
Hayden Walsh, Jr was named Player-of-the-Match.
Red Force (243) & 163-6 vs Scorpions (535) in Kingston, Jamaica
Ramdin was unbeaten on 52 and shared two crucial stands that frustrated the Scorpions before rain halted play for the final time about six minutes after tea.
Red Force – starting the day still 271 in arrears – were reeling on 62 for four, but Tion Webster came to the crease and shared 58 with Ramdin to stem the fall of wickets before he was stumped off leg-spinner Damion Jacobs for 30.
Ramdin also found stability from veteran Imran Khan and they put on 40 unbroken for the seventh wicket before the rain came and saved the Red Force from defeat.
Windies “A” Team fast bowler Reynard Leveridge was the most successful member of the Scorpions’ attack with 3-23 from 11 overs.
John Campbell was adjudged Player-of-the-Match.