Saunders, Baker set Leewards record
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Contrasting centuries by Akeem Saunders and Deno Baker helped Leeward Islands amass a tournament-high 423 all out and virtually erase Trinidad and Tobago’s chances of capturing the WICB Regional Under-19 three day Championship.
After toiling in the field for more than five sessions the Trinidadians responded with 92 for one, leaving a draw the most likely result should the Kensington Oval pitch maintain its bland nature on Thursday’s final day.
Saunders, the Leewards’ captain, playing in the competition for the fourth and final season, bade farewell with this year’s highest individual score – a chanceless 167 – filled with scintillating stroke-play.
The 18 year-old Kittitian and the more sedate Baker, who made 109, featured in a mammoth fifth wicket partnership worth 244 runs that was only broken 20 minutes before the tea interval compliments sharp fielding by Philton Williams that resulted in Saunders’ run out.
The athletic Williams was soon back in the action, effecting a third run out, this time Baker being the victim, before picking up the last two wickets to record a hard-earned five-wicket haul. Williams took five for 84.
Leewards started the second day on 221 for four with Saunders unbeaten on 68 and Baker, 41.
The pair started cautiously but Saunders, a West Indies representative at both Under-15 and Under-19 levels, soon opened up to play a number of handsome shots to all parts of the field.
He heralded his first hundred in regional competition with a flourish, advancing down the pitch and dispatching offspinner Anthony Simmons onto the steps of the Sir Garfield Sobers Pavilion, just below the area occupied by the Trinidad & Tobago team, for the first of two sixes.
It took him 342 minutes and 251 balls, stroking 12 fours to reach the landmark. His career-best knock contained another three fours and a six having spent over eight hours at the crease and facing 361 balls.
Montserratian Baker’s hundred came off 236 balls in 293 minutes with nine fours being his main scoring shots.
Prolific opener Jeremy Solozano will resume the final day on 57 not out.