Scorpions look to cool Volcanoes as regional 4-day cricket competition resumes

Scorpions look to cool Volcanoes as regional 4-day cricket competition resumes

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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Heartened by their backs-to-the-wall effort to salvage a draw against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the first round, Jamaica Scorpions enter today's regional four-day cricket match versus Windward Islands Volcanoes optimistic of going one better.

First ball in the Round Two encounter is scheduled for 10:00 am at Sabina Park in Kingston.

Last week, the Scorpions staved off defeat in Trinidad thanks to Paul Palmer's heroic, unbeaten century which helped them to 300-8 after they were forced to follow on. Earlier in the match, they had made 278 all out in response to the Red Force's imposing first-innings total of 460-4 declared.

Last weekend's result left the Scorpions fourth in the six-team league table with 6.6 points, while second-placed Volcanoes have 16.6 points.

“It's a fresh start for us, but we would have taken a lot of confidence from the fightback in the last game against Trinidad,” Andre Coley, Scorpions head coach, told the Jamaica Observer after yesterday's training session.

Ironically, the last time Volcanoes visited Sabina Park they were victorious. And at the time Coley was their head coach, making him acutely aware of the potential within their ranks.

“I expect it to be tough one [against the Volcanoes] and our players are expecting that too. They have a good [bowling] attack, and experience in their batting with some young players coming through,” the former Jamaica wicketkeeper reasoned.

Former Jamaica fast bowler Andrew Richardson, who left the position as Scorpions assistant coach to fill the void left by Coley's switch, is proud of his players' effort after they beat Barbados Pride to begin their campaign.

“It was very good for us, and what worked well is that we executed our plans. Some of the players really came to the party — I thought it was a total team effort. The guys believed, and that's something I've been preaching to my players, as well as to break down the game into small targets session by session,” the Volcanoes head coach told the Observer.

Though the Volcanoes are brimming with confidence, Richardson stressed the need for them to avoid complacency.

“It's one game and we have nine remaining, so we have to be consistent and we have to show improvement as time goes on,” he cautioned.

On the eve of the match, the pitch at Sabina Park sported a healthy covering of live grass. In recent years, the surface at the venue has been known to offer grip for spinners and a bit of sideways movement for the seamers. Both teams possess bowlers that could exploit such conditions.

The Scorpions have made three changes to the squad that travelled to Trinidad.

Batsman Alwyn Williams and spinner Dennis Bulli are out due to injury, while all-rounder Rovman Powell was called for West Indies duty against touring Ireland.

Batsman Nkrumah Bonner was forced out of the squad for the first round at the last minute due to illness, opener Oraine Williams and off-break bowler Jamie Merchant are the replacements brought in.

For the Volcanoes, the West Indies top-order batsman Sunil Ambris, who featured in the One-Day International series against Ireland, steps in to assume the captaincy role.

In the round's other contests, fifth-placed Barbados Pride (4.2 points) welcome leaders and defending five-time champions Guyana Jaguars (21 points) to Kensington Oval, while the third-placed Red Force (9.4 points) take on cellar team Leeward Islands Hurricanes (two points) at Brian Lara Cricket Academy.

Squads: Scorpions — John Campbell (captain), Oraine Williams, Assad Fudadin, Jermaine Blackwood, Paul Palmer, Nkrumah Bonner, Aldaine Thomas, Derval Green, Jamie Merchant, Marquino Mindley, Patrick Harty, Denis Smith, Nicholson Gordon.

Volcanoes — Sunil Ambris (captain), Kavem Hodge, Devon Smith, Desron Maloney, Kirk Edwards, Alick Athanaze, Emmanuel Stewart, Keron Cottoy, Shane Shillingford, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Josh Thomas, Preston McSween.


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