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Blackwood, Bonner give Jamaicans early edge
GROS ISLET—Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner were both dismissed within sight of breakthrough hundreds to give Jamaica early control over Windward Islands in the Headley/Weekes Trophy Final yesterday. Blackwood has so far hit the top score of 94 and Bonner supported with 88, as Jamaica, sent in to bat, reached 232 for three in their first innings at the close on the opening day of the finale to the Regional Four-Day Championship. Blackwood and Bonner shared a Jamaica record for the second wicket against the Windwards of 180 to take the sting out of their opponents’ attack, energised by the sight of a hard, true Beausejour Cricket Ground pitch with several patches of grass and the early scalp of left-handed opener John Campbell.
After an early flurry of strokes, the two young batsmen settled down and batted resolutely through lunch and tea to set up their side, but failed to reward their hard work with career-defining hundreds. Blackwood was adjudged lbw coming onto the front-foot and playing across a full-length delivery from Kenroy Peters, one ball after the left-arm medium-fast bowler unsettled him with a rib-tickler. He struck seven fours and one six from 207 balls in four hours. And Bonner was brilliantly caught at second slip, when he got a thick edge chasing a short, wide delivery from Mervin Mathew for Sunil Ambris to dive to his right and pouch a fine one-handed catch. The Jamaican opener hit 11 fours from 205 balls in four-and-a-half hours. They were both dismissed in the first hour after tea, leaving Andre McCarthy, not out on 29, and their captain Tamar Lambert, not out on 14, to bat through the final hour and consolidate the visitors’ position.
Earlier, Jamaica reached 94 for one at lunch, after Campbell was caught behind for two in the third over of the day, playing forward to left-arm fast-medium bowler Delorn Johnson. The visitors were then seven for one, but Blackwood joined Bonner and batted for the rest of the morning period to give their side a good foundation. Blackwood reached his 50 from 102 balls, when he drove Sebastien into the off-side for a single just prior to lunch. After the interval, Bonner reached his 50 from 113 balls in streaky fashion, when he edged a delivery from Mervin Mathew between second slip and gully to third man for his seventh boundary. He was, however, fortunate before and after he reached the landmark. The Headley/Weekes Trophy was inaugurated five years ago in honour of the late Jamaica and West Indies batting legend George Headley, and living Barbados and West Indies batting legend Sir Everton Weekes.