JDF, Melbourne draw battle lines

Friday, April 12, 2019

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Sabina Park will become a battleground this weekend as the fight for supremacy in local cricket unfolds. In the Jamaica Cricket Association two-day Senior Cup final slated for tomorrow and Sunday, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) are set to square off against Melbourne Cricket Club in a repeat of the 2017 championship.

Since then the two teams have gone through significant personnel changes but both are confident of victory.

“This is our fourth consecutive final and we're going to get it right again as we did in 2016. It was unfortunate that we lost to the JDF in 2017 and UWI [University of the West Indies] last year but we know how to go all the way. It's about strictly executing our game plan,” said Melbourne Captain Javelle Glen.

The 21-year-old has scored over 540 runs this season, including three centuries and one half-century.

He added: “Our team is healthy and ready to go. Steven Taylor won't be with us on the weekend but Abhijai Mansingh has successfully recovered from injury and will be one of the weapons in our arsenal to deliver a strong performance. It will not be easy to secure the title ahead of the JDF but it's well within our reach.”

Meanwhile, the JDF say they have one key element which other teams in the competition don't have enough of – discipline. Manager of the JDF Cricket Team Major Aubyn Sibbles noted: “We don't have more talent than any other team, but we've got immense cohesiveness and the ability to dig deep and remain focused in the toughest situations and against any opponent. These are the things which win you titles.”

The JDF won the Senior Cup in 2014, 2015 and 2017, but they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage in 2016 (when Melbourne won) and had to sit out the 2018 season due to their involvement in enforcing the Zones of Special Operation across the island.

“We created a five-year plan around the competition, and that was to win the Senior Cup three times in five years and that has been accomplished and we won't stop there,” added Major Sibbles.

The JDF will be without two notable players this weekend – batsman Rasheed Outar (personal reason) and left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell who is said to be unavailable.

However, Captain Lance Corporal Leighton Leslie is not fazed.

“The talents and contributions of Outar and Cottrell will be missed but we are the JDF, we have a fully fit and capable squad from which to select a highly competitive team. We certainly will deliver. Melbourne knows how to play good cricket; they know how to get to the finals but we are a hurdle that can be insurmountable,” he said.

The final bowls off at 10:00 am each day, and the gates are open to the public at no charge. The match will also be streamed live online via the JCA Facebook page – Jamaica Cricket.

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