BRIDGETOWN – Former West Indies batsman, Lendl Simmons, struck a superb hundred on his first appearance in first class cricket in just over two years, as T&T Red Force flourished against arch-rivals Barbados Pride, on the opening day of their seventh round match in Barbados yesterday.
The 34-year-old, who last played for West Indies 21 months ago, slammed 138 while Jason Mohammed continued his return to form with a brilliant 121 as Red Force reached 316 for eight at Kensington Oval.
Opting to bat first, Red Force found themselves in early trouble, slipping to 69 for three as the hosts dominated the morning session.
They suffered two early blows in the first hour courtesy of Jamaican pacer Marquino Mindley (3-56) who removed both openers cheaply – Joshua Da Silva caught at gully for seven and Jeremy Solozano caught at the wicket for 12.
On 83 for three at lunch, Red Force made an excellent recovery through Simmons and Mohammed who staged a 182-run fourth wicket stand which saw the visitors reach tea at 223 without further loss.
Simmons’s knock was typical up tempo one, stroking 16 fours and five sixes off just 152 deliveries in a shade over four hours. The hundred was his 11th at first class level but first in six years, with his last ironically coming against Barbados at the same venue.
Mohammed, who has struggled this season but broke out of his rut with 83 last week, hit 20 fours off 206 balls in 248 minutes. It was his first eighth first class century.
The partnership was eventually broken when Simmons hooked at medium pacer Kevin Stoute (2-38) and was caught at fine leg, in the fifth over after tea.
Red Force then lost wickets at regularly with the last three wickets going down for eight runs.
At the Guyana National Stadium, tail-ender Derval Green struck an unbeaten half-century and top order batsman Brandon King struck another, as Jamaica Scorpions batted all day to finish on 320 for eight.
Out-of-favour Jermaine Blackwood struck 44, Kenroy Williams got 33 while number 10 Dennis Bulli chimed in with an unbeaten 30.
Scorpions were cruising on 132 for three after being sent in behind King’s 51 but lost three wickets for 40 runs to be 172 for six at one stage. Barbadian Williams and captain Paul Palmer (29) revived the innings in a 56-run, seventh wicket stand before both perished in the space of nine balls with only two runs added.
Tentatively placed on 230 for eight, Scorpions then frustrated Jaguars even further as Green and Bulli put on 90 in a rollicking unbroken ninth wicket stand.
Green slammed five fours and two sixes in a breezy 61-ball 59 not out while Bulli displayed more restraint in his 67-ball knock.
Medium pacer Sherfane Rutherford finished with three for 52.
At Windsor Park, there were half-centuries for opener Montcin Hodge (61) and Keacy Karty (54) as Leeward Islands Hurricanes batted all day to reach 229 for five.
Hodge put on 66 for the first wicket with captain Kieran Powell (29) before adding a further 66 for the second wicket with Carty.
When Hurricanes stumbled with cheap wickets at 138 for three, Carty and Jahmar Hamilton added 51 to further stabilise the innings.
Fast bowler Ray Jordan was the best bowler with three for 45.
At Kensington Oval: Red Force bat all day
T&T RED FORCE 316 for eight (Lendl Simmons 138, Jason Mohammed 121; Marquino Mindley 3-56) vs BARBADOS PRIDE.
At Guyana National Stadium: Scorpions bat all day.
JAMAICA SCORPIONS 320 for eight (Derval Green 59 not out, Brandon King 51, Jermaine Blackwood 44, Kenroy Williams 33; Sherfane Rutherford 3-52) vs GUYANA JAGUARS.
At Windsor Park: Hurricanes bat all day.
LEEWARD ISLANDS HURRICANES 229 for five (Montcin Hodge 61, Keacy Carty 54, Kieran Powell 29; Ray Jordan 3-45) vs WINDWARD ISLANDS VOLCANOES.