Manchester High take ISSA Grace Headley Cup

Saturday, March 23, 2019

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Manchester High School grabbed their second hold on the all-rural ISSA/Grace Headley Cup cricket title, beating defending champions and pre-season favourites St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) by five wickets at STETHS Sports Complex here yesterday.

Needing 163 to win, after dismissing STETHS for a second-innings 190 half an hour before lunch on the third day, Manchester High batted with tremendous discipline through 79 overs and three balls to achieve victory at 5:40pm.

Javardi Francis, unbeaten on 53 at the clos,e shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 82 with the undoubted man-of-the-match, captain and all-rounder Andre Morgan (45), to blunt the STETHS bowling attack and ensure victory.

Scores: STETHS 186 and 190; Manchester High 214 and 164-5.

Resuming on yesterday's final day at 117-4 and knowing they would need to win the game in order to retain hold on the ISSA Grace Headley Cup since they had conceded a first-innings lead to the visitors, STETHS lost wickets steadily even as they scored runs at a good rate.

Captain Zavier Burton, on whom much depended, fell to the off spin of Wavel Anniford for 36. Thereafter only all -ounder Odane Thompson, unbeaten on 32, seemed up to the task as wickets fell around him.

Anniford took four for 79 and got good support from left–arm spinner Jaheem Bartley 2-48 and seamer Andre Morgan 2 for 40. The latter had match figures of six for 69 to go with his first-innings 85 — which had rescued Manchester High from 26 for five on the first day — as well as his second-innings 45.

In their second-innings chase, Manchester High were shaky at 21-2, after pacer Andre McCarthy sent back opener Oneil Roberts (10) and Dwayne Morgan (0). However Sanjay Walker made 22 before being dismissed by off-spinner Roberto Simpson, and opener Dwayne Walters batted determinedly for 17 off 86 balls to keep STETHS at bay.

The loss of Walters at 77-4 brought Francis and Morgan together in their assured fifth-wicket partnership. Morgan fell to Simpson with five runs still needed for victory, but by then the visitors' celebrations had already started.

Francis, who reached his half-century just before the winning runs, faced 141 balls and hit a six and three fours. Morgan stroked six fours in his 139-ball knock. Simpson ended with 3 for 19 from 27 overs.

Manchester High's elated coach Barry Barnes, who had guide the school to their only other Headley Cup title in 2013, hailed his team for their discipline and determination against their highly rated opponents.

“I never expected them to play like this over the three days,” he said.

STETHS coach Clive Ledgister thought his team was “complacent” but also hailed the winners for their discipline. “I think this is the most disciplined Manchester High side I have seen,” said Ledgister.

Manchester High will now face urban champions Excelsior High for the all-island Spalding Cup.

— Garfield Myers

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