BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, CMC – Jamaica stood on the brink of their second victory for the season, despite Shane Jeffers’ second first-class hundred, and a Leeward Islands second innings fight-back in the WICB Regional first-class championship on Sunday.
Dave Bernard Jr snared four wickets for 26 runs from nine overs to leave Leeward Islands, following on 199 behind on first innings, on 132 for five in their second innings at the close on the third day of their fourth round match at Warner Park.
The Jamaicans were extended in the final session by a resolute, unbeaten 59 from Tonito Willett and 25 from Jahmar Hamilton.
This followed a workmanlike 118 from Jeffers that anchored Leewards to 305, replying to Jamaica’s first innings total of 504 for five declared.
Jamaica captain Tamar Lambert, twirling his uncomplicated off-spin, was his side’s most successful bowler with four wickets for 70 runs from 29.4 overs, Bernard finished with three for 39 from 13 overs, and leg-spinner Odean Brown took two for 114 from 32 overs.
Bernard then triggered a Leewards top-order collapse, when he had Jeffers caught in the slips for a duck offering a tired-looking drive at a delivery outside the off-stump in the second over, and Shane Burton caught at gully for four, as the Leewards reached 21 for three at tea.
Bowling his steady medium-fast stuff, Bernard then added the scalp of Gavin Williams lbw for a duck before he had Leewards captain Steve Liburd caught behind for 16 to leave the home team 34 for four.
Willett joined Dolston Tuitt, playing in his maiden first-class match, and they spent the next 45 minutes stemming the fall of wickets.
But Brown made the breakthrough, when Tuitt misjudged a delivery that straightened and was lbw for 17 to leave the Leewards rocking on 66 for five.
Willett and Hamilton then got on top of the weary Jamaica bowlers, and they put on 66 for the sixth wicket to allow the Leewards to fight until another day.
Earlier, Jeffers cracked 20 fours from 241 balls in his 338-minute stay at the crease to help the Leewards add some respectability to their first innings total.
The powerful left-hander, who was brought in to the side following a hand injury to Kieran Powell, and Montcin Hodge’s omission, shared one significant stand during his innings.
He added 50 for the fourth wicket with Liburd before departing in the first over after Leewards resumed from their lunch total of 240 for six.
No other Leewards batsman passed 20 on the day, as Lambert and Brown ran through the lower order, after Bernard had removed Liburd and Willett cheaply before lunch.
Leewards stand at the foot of the eight-team ladder on three points, following their second defeat this season, when the Combined Campuses & Colleges crushed them by 158 runs in the previous round on home soil at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua.
Jamaica have the same 24 points as the CCC and the England Lions at the top of the table, but they entered this round effectively third, under the tie-breaker rules for the competition, after they settled for first innings points in a draw with Barbados last time out.
Warner Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Jamaicans. They have won their last two matches at the venue two years ago, and last year.
JAMAICA 1st Innings 504 for five declared
LEEWARD ISLANDS 1st Innings (overnight 169 for three)
S. Jeffers lbw b O. Brown 118
D. Tuitt c Samuels b Dawes 4
S. Burton c (sub) B. Brown b Bernard 17
G. Williams c Samuels b *Lambert 40
*S. Liburd b Bernard 15
T. Willett lbw b Bernard 6
+J. Hamilton b *Lambert 16
J. Taylor not out 14
G. Tonge st Walton b O. Brown 17
L. Baker c Samuels b *Lambert 19
A. Martin lbw b *Lambert 10
Extras (b4, lb11, w1, nb13) 29
TOTAL (all out, 97.4 overs) 305
Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-49, 3-126, 4-176, 5-194, 6-228, 7-240, 8-264, 9-290
Bowling: Richardson 8-2-26-0; Dawes 13-3-37-1 (nb5, w1); *Lambert 29.4-7-70-4; O. Brown 32-4-114-2 (nb3); Bernard 13-3-39-3 (nb5); Hinds 1-1-0-0; Nash 1-0-4-0
LEEWARD ISLANDS 2nd Innings (following on)
S. Jeffers c Jackson b Bernard 0
D. Tuitt lbw b O. Brown 17
S. Burton c Samuels b Bernard 4
G. Williams lbw b Bernard 0
*S. Liburd c wkpr Walton b Bernard 16
T. Willett not out 59
J. Hamilton not out 25
Extras (b4, lb1, nb6) 11
TOTAL (5 wkts, 41 overs) 132
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-8, 3-13, 4-34, 5-66
Bowling: Dawes 6-2-27-0 (nb2); Bernard 9-2-26-4 (nb4); O. Brown 16-3-49-1; *Lambert 8-5-11-0; Nash 2-0-14-0
Position: Leewards trail by 67 runs with five second innings wickets standing
Umpires: W. Mitchum, P. Nero
Matchreferee: V. Burnes
Reserve umpire: T. Texeira