By Ravi Madholall
Guyana Jaguars on the back of a resounding ninth-round performance against Windward Islands Volcanoes surged to another Professional Cricket League regional four-day title after completed the victory on Monday at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
Since the double-round format was officially introduced in 2015, the Guyanese Franchise was able to be crowned champions on all three occasions, thanks to test batsman Leon Johnson’s astute leadership.
He also became the only Guyana’s captain to achieve that feat as well having been at the helm since the inaugural year. Guyana Jaguars also joined Jamaica, the other competing and traditional team in regional cricket to have done it in three successive years but under a different structure.
With still a solitary match to ago, Guyana Jaguars will take on Leeward Islands Hurricanes from Friday at the abovementioned venue and this game is obviously now a matter of formality after the Jaguars’ combination sit with unassailable 139.6 points.
Ironically, Guyana Jaguars only defeat in this edition came against the Hurricanes team in the second round at the Warner Park Stadium in St. Kitts and Nevis, but the contest is of inconsequential nature.
In the match against the Volcanoes, the Guyanese lads produced a fine and collective effort to dominate proceedings from the commencement to the historical culmination inside three days.
Windward Islands Volcanoes took first strike and were scuffled out for a meagre 95 while the hosts responded splendidly by chalking up a formidable 379 all out.
The brilliant display was led by 20-year-old right-arm seamer Kemo Paul only in his second match at this level, with a six-wicket burst before discarded West Indies player Assad Fududin fashioned a magnificent 125 while there were other several impressive batting contributions.
Steven Jacobs scored 61, Hemraj Chanderpaul hit 54 while Paul proved his all-round capability by making 46 and 35 from another axed test batsman Rajindra Chandrika.
When the visitors batted in the second innings facing a deficit of 284, they were again curtailed by some incisive bowling led this time from left-arm orthodox spinner Gudakesh Motie, who finished off things by claiming four wickets.
Meanwhile, head coach of the team Esuan Crandon expressed elation with the triumph and more prestigiously retaining the coveted cup. According to the former Guyana fast-bowler, and the eldest brother of ex-Guyana and West Indies one-day all-rounder Royston Crandon, the team played positive and committed cricket in the last nine matches.
His also spoke greatly about the quality of Johnson’s leadership. Like Crandon, many would feel compelled to extent their congratulations for his cunning role to play and lead the Guyana Jaguars to be the champion side in such a competitive and engrossing West Indies Cricket Board tournament.
Even though Guyana Jaguars lost the services of veteran and reliable middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who is currently representing Lancashire in County cricket, and four other seasoned players owing to their commitment for the President’s X1, Crandon was very confident the replacement players along with the regular members would have exceeded expectations in the penultimate face-off.
The four players who represented the President’s X1 against Pakistan in Jamaica for the three-day warm-up fixture were: Keon Joseph, Vishal Singh, Raymond Reifer and Shmiron Hetmyer. Singh made a hundred and Hetmyer 97. Both players have justifiably got a call-up for the first test against the Pakistanis starting Friday at the Sabina Park venue, Jamaica.