Scor­pi­ons look to leapfrog Pride

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Jermaine Lan­na­man Gleaner Writer Paul Clarke Gleaner Writer

THE JA­MAICA Scor­pi­ons will be look to leapfrog lead­ers Bar­ba­dos Pride atop the stand­ings in the Dig­i­cel WICB Re­gional Four-day Cham­pi­onship when the two meet at Sabina Park, start­ing to­day.

The Nikita Miller-led Scor­pi­ons, fresh off a nar­row win over the Wind­ward Is­lands Vol­ca­noes last week­end, are fifth in the six-team cham­pi­onship but are just 3.4 points be­hind Bar­ba­dos Pride. WEST­ERN BUREAU: CLAREN­DON COL­LEGE have a score to set­tle against Corn­wall Col­lege and they will have no big­ger chance to do so than when they battle each other for a spot in the fi­nal of the 2016 ISSA-FLOW daCosta Cup this af­ter­noon at the St El­iz­a­beth Tech­ni­cal (STETHS) Sports Ground at 2:30 p.m.

The last time these two teams met, the Chap­le­ton-based Claren­don Col­lege were on the los­ing end of a six-goal thriller, go­ing down 4-2 to Corn­wall Col­lege at the semi­fi­nal stage of the FLOW Su­per Cup ear­lier in the month.

And just like their first clash, this one is ex­pected to be an­other humdinger be­tween two of the daCosta Cup’s most pro­lific teams this year.

The Dr Dean Weatherly-coached Corn­wall Col­lege, al­though hav­ing to deal with two con­sec­u­tive losses in re­cent weeks, should feel com­fort­able on the STETHS grounds against their ri­vals.

This will be a play-to-the-very-end matchup, with both teams giv­ing it one hun­dred per cent to land a date in the fi­nal.

“We are al­ways ready to play good foot­ball. We have had some is­sues in re­cent days but those are be­hind us. We have proven that we are a ma­ture bunch of play­ers,” stated Weatherly.

“The win in the Su­per Cup was a good yard­stick, but that’s done and over with. This will be a dif­fer­ent ball game, but we are up for the chal­lenge,” the Corn­wall coach em­pha­sised.

And a chal­lenge it will be in­deed. Their best player go­ing for­ward, Peter-Lee Vas­sell, has been car­ry­ing a leg in­jury. How ready he will be for this cru­cial match is un­known, while the rigours of a long sea­son are be­gin­ning to show on their lead­ing goal scorer, Jour­daine Fletcher. Bar­ba­dos lead with 24.4 points, with the Lee­ward Is­lands Hur­ri­canes sec­ond on 24.2. De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons the Guyana Jaguars are third on 24 points with the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force fourth on 22. The Scor­pi­ons are next with 21 points, while round­ing off the stand­ings are the Wind­wards, who, hav­ing notched up two losses, are on 20.6 points. Start­ing this sea­son, 0.2 of a point is awarded to teams for each wicket taken by a fast bowler. “Bar­ba­dos will come here the more con­fi­dent team, but I am al­ways con­fi­dent in my bowl­ing team, re­gard­less of the sur­face and the op­po­nents. The batting, that is my con­cern,” Miller said ahead of the match. “If we can cor­rect that (weak batting) and give the bowl­ing unit a Corn­wall’s Jour­daine Fletcher.

Fletcher, in par­tic­u­lar, looked off colour in the Ben Fran­cis Cup semi-fi­nal loss to Lennon High.

The Claren­don Col­lege ag­gre­ga­tion could counter with their highly rated team cap­tain Creg­gton Charl­ton, lead­ing the charge, along with the tal­ented She­mar Hunter. The pair was on tar­get against Corn­wall in the Su­per Cup.

Claren­don Col­lege goal­keeper Ben­jamin Wil­liams could, how­ever, be in for a busy day should Fletcher, who has ben­e­fited from a full week’s rest, find his best form to­day.

Both schools boast sig­nif­i­cant pedi­gree in chance to rest and think about how to at­tack our op­po­nents, we will do well,” he added.

Ja­maica, who are yet to pass 250 runs to date, will en­ter the con­test hop­ing for an im­proved batting dis­play. The lo­cal se­lec­tors have looked to bol­ster that area by in­clud­ing for­mer West In­dies Un­der-19 all-rounder Fabian Allen in the squad.

The 21-year-old has come in to re­place 19-year-old fast bowler Oshane Thomas.

With Thomas out, the squad is then left with only one spe­cial­ist fast bowler in Rey­nard Lev­eridge. The West In­dies A team player is set to lead the at­tack and should share the new ball with all-rounder Der­val Green.

Allen, who also bowls spin is ex­pected to pro­vide back-up for Miller and leg-spin­ner Damion Ja­cobs, as well as add to the mid­dle-or­der batting.

Bar­ba­dos, mean­while, have named an un­changed squad from their im­pres­sive 292 runs vic­tory over Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in Port-ofS­pain last week­end.

They will be led by West In­dies Test play­ers all-rounder Ros­ton Chase, left-arm spin­ner Jomel War­ri­can, fast bowler Ke­mar Roach, and bats­man, Shar­marh Brooks.

Ja­maica Scor­pi­ons (from): Nikita Miller (cap­tain), Fabian WICB Me­dia photo Top Bar­ba­dos Pride bats­man Shamarh Brooks.

Allen, Jermaine Black­wood, John Camp­bell, Der­val Green, Trevon Grif­fith, Damion Ja­cobs, Bran­don King, Rey­nard Lev­eridge, An­dré McCarthy, Devon Thomas, Sha­caya Thomas, Chad­wick Wal­ton

Bar­ba­dos Pride (from):

Kevin Stoute (cap­tain), An­thony Al­leyne, Shamarh Brooks, Ros­ton Chase, Niko­lai Charles, Justin Greaves, Aaron Jones, Kevin McClean, Omar Phillips, Mario Ram­per­saud, Ke­mar Roach, Jomel War­ri­can, Ken­roy Wil­liams

FILE

Nikita Miller will again be the key man in the Scor­pi­ons at­tack.

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