Two players, less seasoned on the regional four-day cricket circuit, were the main contributors in Jamaica Scorpions innings and 73-run victory over Leeward Islands Hurricanes in fifth-round action on the weekend.
Middle-order batsman Brandon King, who won the player of the match award, and wrist spinner Damion Jacobs were outstanding, says Captain Nikita Miller.
King, who reached his maiden first-class century on day two of the day/night encounter at Warner Park in St Kitts to fittingly celebrate his 22nd birthday, went on to smash 194 off 218 deliveries. He hit 17 fours and a whopping 13 sixes.
His partnership of 309 runs for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Thomas, who made 114 not out, formed the backbone of the Scorpions’ massive 550-7 declared.
Jacobs, 31, hardly a menace earlier in the season, returned to top form with 10 wickets in his 30th first-class outing. He captured 5-103 from 37 overs to help dismiss the Hurricanes for 243 runs in their first innings.
Figures of 5-64 from 18 overs by Jacobs also proved the undoing of the hosts in their second-innings 234.
“Those two players were good, and so too was Devon Thomas. The guys are lot more confident and more assured in their abilities,” Miller told the Jamaica Observer moments after the squad returned to the island yesterday.
“They are going out there to express themselves and it’s good to see after so many years of working hard. That game was perfect in that we batted well and executed in other areas,” said the Scorpions skipper.
“It was a wonderful innings from King. His first 31 runs were off many deliveries, and at the break he said to me it was the hardest 31 he had ever made because of how wide they were bowling. At times the runs weren’t flowing, but he stood his ground, he had patience, and when it was time he went at them hard. He was influenced and got encouragement from Thomas while batting and that helped him to be selective.
“In previous games Jacobs was perhaps trying new things that weren’t working for him because he wasn’t executing them. But against the Hurricanes he was doing things more natural to him. He got more spin from that pitch [at Warner Park] that was flatter to bat on than he did on more helpful pitches. If he continues to bowl in this vein he’ll be hard to play against. He wasn’t too slow through the air and his googly was coming out right. It was a really good performance from him,” explained Miller.
Jacobs, who only made his regional four-day debut in April 2014, said he is always motivated to give his best in first-class cricket.
“I am a late starter, so I go out thinking if I have a bad season I’ll be replaced, so that motivates and pushes me to do well. And I have good memories of the ground and it’s a team I seem to always do really well against. In my last game there I got seven wickets versus the same opponents so I was confident.
“From the start of the season Coach [Robert Samuels] has wanted us to play as [a] team under Nikita. His personality, plus what he has demonstrated over his career, pushes everybody to do well. I think this is going to be a special season in Jamaica cricket under his guidance,” Jacobs told the Observer.
At the halfway stage of the tournament, the Scorpions have 67.6 points to lead the points standing, ahead of back-to-back reigning champions Guyana Jaguars (64.6 points).
Barbados Pride are third with 47.2 points, followed by fourth-placed Windward Islands Volcanoes (41.6 points), the fifth-placed Hurricanes 39.4 points), and last-placed Trinidad & Tobago Red Force (35.6 points).
The Scorpions next scheduled four-day game is against the Jaguars, starting March 10, 2017.