Windwards bats hold on for draw

Bridgetown, Barbados – A defiant eighth-wicket stand between Lyndon James and Mervyn Matthew formalised a draw for Windward Islands with Barbados in the WICB Regional first-class championship on Monday.

Both batsmen ended with five, but more importantly, they batted through the final 45 minutes, and limp Windwards to 89-7 in their second innings, after they were set 172 for victory from a minimum of 40 overs on the final day of their fifth round match at Kensington Oval.

The second innings batting has typically been a bugbear for the Windwards this season, as they have lost twice having gained first innings points from their opponents.

They however, found the mental fortitude this time, and resisted a Barbadian attack that comprised Fidel Edwards, Tino Best, and Pedro Collins to hold on for the stalemate, after they slumped to 71-7 with 10.2 overs remaining in the day.

James and Matthew gallantly curbed their natural instincts to navigate the closing stages, and Windwards also gained a late slice of fortune at the start of the third-last over.

Matthew, on one, flashed at a wide delivery from Edwards, got an under edge, and the ball nearly decapitated second slip fielder Jonathan Carter as it flew through the slips arc into the third-man boundary for four.

The result meant that Windwards gained six points to move to 29, and Barbados collected three points for the fifth time this season and moved to 15. A few hours earlier, things had looked a little dubious for the Windwards, when Pedro Collins had opener Tyrone Theophile caught at third slip for nine, and Andre Fletcher, a century-maker in the first innings, caught at second slip for a second-ball duck in the space of three balls to leave the visitors 17-2.

Windwards started their act of defiance, when Keddy Lesporis joined Atticus Browne, whose 29 was the top score, and they spent the next hour over 35 for the third wicket. Four wickets – two to Tino Best – tumbled however, for one run from 33 balls in the space of 35 minutes to leave the Windwards wobbling on 53-6.

After Browne was caught at second slip off Jason Holder, Best bowled Lesporis off the inside edge, and had Liam Sebastien, the Windwards captain and the Man-of-the-Match, caught at point for one before Fidel Edwards bowled Kevin James for a 14-ball "duck".

Gary Mathurin came to the crease and spent the next 35 minutes with Lyndon James to frustrate the Barbadians, but Kevin Stoute trapped him lbw playing back and across to a well-pitched delivery for six to give the home team a false dawn.
Best finished with the flattering figures of two wickets for eight runs from 10 overs, and Collins ended with 2-28 from eight overs.

Earlier, Barbados emerged from a stodgy start before lunch to chase quick runs before they declared at 180-9 in their second innings about half-hour before tea. Kraigg Brathwaite led the way with 56 to follow his 57 in the first innings, Stoute was not out on 43, and Shamarh Brooks, their stand-in captain, scored 30.

Sebastien grabbed 3-48 from 13 overs to end the match with figures of 9-145, and Mathurin took 3-45 from nine overs.
The Barbadians seemed to have lost the plot, when they slumped to 67-3 10 minutes before lunch, but Stoute added 54 for the fourth wicket with Brathwaite, and then put on 44 for the seventh wicket with Brooks in between some uncertain batting to hasten the home team to a target with which they were comfortable.

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