BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) — Brandon King celebrated his 22nd birthday in grand style, hitting a superb maiden first class hundred to lead a Jamaica Scorpions run feast that allowed them to seize control against Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the WICB Regional 4-Day Tournament on Friday here.
King was undefeated on 155 and four other batsmen passed 50, as the Scorpions became the first team this season to claim full batting points, amassing 461 for four, replying to the Hurricanes’ first-innings total of 243, at the close on the rain-affected second day of their fifth-round match at Warner Park.
It is the highest total for the Scorpions against the Hurricanes on the road in the Leeward Islands in the modern era of the WICB regional firs class competition (1966 onwards), surpassing their 448 in the 2005 season at the Carib Lumber Ballpark in Phillipsburg, St Maarten.
King struck nine fours and an incredible 13 sixes from 175 balls in more than four hours of batting, as the Scorpions’ top order batting carved up the hapless Hurricanes bowling.
He and wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Thomas, a former Hurricanes captain, unbeaten on 73, are still involved in a record-breaking, fifth-wicket stand of 252 that allowed the Scorpions to seize control of the match, after a period of instability saw them stumble to 209 for four.
Left-handed opener John Campbell supported with 88, West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood made 55 and opener Shacaya Thomas got 54 — and only Andre McCarthy of the Scorpions top-order batsmen failed to pass 50, suffering the unkindest cut of all, falling for an eight-ball duck.
Rahkeem Cornwall was the most successful Hurricanes bowler taking 2-68 from 21 overs, but no other bowler could make a significant impact as the Scorpions, resuming from their overnight total of 33 without loss, benefited from two record partnerships that broke the backs and spirits of their hosts.
King defied a couple of stoppages for rain to reach his milestone from 134 balls, when he drove Jeremiah Louis sweetly through cover for his sixth boundary, and with Devon Thomas continued to plunder the bowling to their heart’s content before play wound down, much to the delight of the Hurricanes.
There were early signs of the Hurricanes’ struggle, when Shacaya Thomas shared an opening stand of 90 easily with Campbell, before West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph had him caught behind.
The Hurricanes met more resistance when Blackwood came to the crease and with Campbell added 112 to establish a new mark for the Scorpions’ second wicket against the Hurricanes in the Leewards in the modern era of regional matches. They surpassed by two the stand shared between Wayne Lewis and George Powell in the 1985 season at this venue.
After they carried the Scorpions to dinner at 179 for one, a period of turbulence rocked the visitors, as they lost three wickets for seven runs in the space of 21 deliveries.
Blackwood was caught at cover off Gavin Tonge, Campbell edged to slip off Cornwall, who also had McCarthy stumped to leave the Scorpions innings at the crossroads, but Devon Thomas came to the wicket and, with King, gave evidence that there was nothing to fear.
They pounced upon the Hurricanes’ bowling and set a new record for the Scorpions’ fifth wicket in the modern era of regional play, surpassing 203 shared between Marlon Samuels and Carlton Baugh Jr against Windward Islands Volcanoes in the 2005 season at Alpart in Nain, Jamaica.
Scorpions headed into the current round of matches leading the standings with 46.8 points, and Hurricanes were fourth with 36.6.