HALF-WAY-TREE Sparks and defending champions GC Foster College were winners on yesterday's opening day of the 5th UTech Knights Twenty20 Cricket Classic at the university's Papine Campus.
The Sparks defeated UWI by four wickets, while GC Foster knocked over Kingston Renegades by 16 runs.
In the first game, Aaron Williams, with a 54-ball 74, powered the Sparks to 149-6 for a four-wicket victory in response to UWI's 144-9.
Johnson's knock included three sixes and seven fours. He was supported by captain Damion Jacobs, who struck 27 off 23 balls.
Chris Gayle was the top bowler for UWI with 3-34. Ravman Powell took 2-17 off four overs.
In reply, Sheldon Samuels led with 45 off 46 balls, inclusive of four fours and one six. Javaughn Buchannan, 26, and Donovan Nelson, 25, gave them reason for optimism, but Jacobs with 2-15 and Ashan Plummer had other ideas.
GC Foster's 16-run win was set up by the powerful hitting of Derval Green, who struck 51, including three sixes and five fours, as they were bowled out for 121 with three balls to go.
Marvin Darlington took an impressive 5-5 off 3.3 overs. Ryan Francis took 2-30.
Stephan Casey, 2-11, and Mikhail Powell, 2-21, were the most successful bowlers for GC Foster.
Meanwhile, Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president Lindel Wright, speaking at the opening ceremony, said T20 cricket had the potential to not only make friends, but also a living.
"T20 is the cricket of today. When you look at the future of cricket, the earning, I would encourage you all to do well. There are many opportunities out there," said Wright.
Dean of the Faculty of Science and Sports, Dr Colin Gyles, was impressed with the growth of the competition over the years.
"The standard of the game is improving based on the quality of players participating. The purpose of the Classic is to foster an environment that people can hone their skills and display their talent."
Action continues today with another double-header. UTech Knights play GC Foster at 9:30, while Mico challenge UWI at 1:30 pm.