Tactical discipline secret to Scorpions' newfound

Sports

Tactical discipline secret to Scorpions' newfound

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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JAMAICA Scorpions Head Coach Andre Coley says patience and adherence to well-thought-out plans are behind the side's two-game winning run in the regional four-day tournament.

At Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium on Sunday, the Scorpions completed a riveting five-wicket victory over Leewards Islands Hurricanes to follow up a narrow seven-run win away to title-holders Guyana, Jaguars in the previous round.

The fourth-round match in Providence, Guyana, was a low-scoring one, dominated by the bowlers on a pitch which was said to have produced variable bounce.

In Trelawny, conditions were way better for batsmen, and the Scorpions made full use of the opportunity to make 385 — easily their best first-innings score of the season — in reply to the Hurricanes' 227.

The home team, without the services of injured pacer Derval Green in the second innings, toiled manfully to dismiss the Hurricanes for 294.

Middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner then lifted the Scorpions to an improbable win inside 18 overs, scoring a superlative 48-ball 66 not out in their 137-5.

“It was a good fight from the players. We [the batsmen] are playing straighter instead of going around the ball, and we are a lot more patient. We have batsmen in the middle involved in significant partnerships,” Coley told reporters during a post-match interview.

“And in the wicket-taking if you look at the stats, the wickets are shared among four or five bowlers, so [there is] no over reliance on any particular bowler,” he said.

The Scorpions' first-innings score was set up by Jermaine Blackwood, who made a measured 98, Denis Smith (84), and Peat Salmon (47).

In the bowling department, the ever-improving left-arm finger spinner Patrick Harty claimed 4-43 to ensure the Hurricanes were restricted to a modest first-innings total, while pacer Nicholson Gordon was relentlessly attacking to grab 5-97 in the second innings.

For the Hurricanes, Terance Warde was head and shoulders above the rest with top scores of 65 not out and 74. Off spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who took seven wickets in the match, was their biggest bowling threat.

“The fact that we were able to get a lead in the first innings was really good. Hard luck for Blackwood in not getting a hundred, and Denis Smith played really well, and Salmon got some runs,” said Coley, the former Jamaica wicketkeeper.

“Congrats to Nicholson Gordon for getting a five-wicket haul. He kept coming and kept coming on a pitch that didn't offer a lot of pace. He was well supported by the spinners,” the Scorpions coach added.

Stuart Williams, head coach of the Hurricanes, praised Bonner's knock in fading light on the final day, while lamenting that his batsmen came up short on a good batting deck.

“I think Jamaica played well; it's just our cricket awareness in certain situations. The moment of the game we slipped is the moment of the game we were batting.

“We could have slowed down the game a little bit; it was getting dark. But all in all, Bonner played a good innings and they deserved to win,” Williams told reporters.

Coley rued that none of his batsmen was able to notch a century in favourable conditions, but noted that individual achievements will inevitably accompany the unit's success.

“We were able to chase down 130-odd in fewer than 20 overs, so it was good for batting. I'm frustrated for them [the batsmen] because I know how hard they have been working. The milestone of getting a hundred is very important, and we're always stressing on that. But I've always told them that once they play for the team the milestone will come,” he said.

The win pushed Jamaica Scorpions two places up to third in the six-team league standings with five matches completed in the 10-round competition. They have 57.4 points, while Leeward Islands Hurricanes are last with 32.6.

Barbados Pride (84.2 points) are top, ahead of the Jaguars (60.8), fourth-placed Windward Islands Volcanoes (50), and fifth-placed Trinidad and Tobago Red Force (46.6)

Referencing comments he had made earlier this season, Coley expressed satisfaction with the team's position, given it is a squad in rebuilding mode.

“For the team the win is very important… we set ourselves a target of being third at halfway [in the tournament]. We have two wins and wins that we really had to fight for, and these would definitely give the squad a lot of confidence,” he stressed.


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