EVEN as Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) skipper Kevin Daley praised his team for defending the 50-over title with a five-run victory on Saturday, his opposite number Javelle Glenn was fuming that the final was decided by the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.
When natural light faded at Sabina Park and match officials called an end to the gripping, drama-filled encounter at approximately 5:30 pm, JDF were 235-8, five runs ahead of the DLS par score of 230-8.
Melbourne had made 245-9 off the allotted 50 overs, but JDF's target was bumped up by 15 runs after the officials penalised the soldiers for a slow over rate.
Scores: Melbourne 245-9 + 15 penalty runs (50 ovs); JDF 235-8 (40 ovs) — DLS
Melbourne, who were unbeaten until the final and responsible for JDF's only loss in the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) all-island 50-over competition this season, were left feeling aggrieved.
"We haven't lost a game since the season started, and I wouldn't consider today as a loss because the game is not finished as yet," Glenn said during a post-match interview.
"We thought we got the runs on the board and I backed the team to get the job done, and I can't fault them."
While the Melbourne captain was upset about the way the match ended, the JCA said that the use of floodlights or the activation of a reserve day was not in the tournament's playing conditions (rules).
Daley told the Jamaica Observer his team had prepared for the possibility of bad light bringing a premature end to play.
"Each player knew that our plan, once batting second, was always to stay ahead of the run rate because in the evening it gets dark early," he said.
The JDF captain said his 104-run, fourth-wicket partnership with man of the match left-hander Deethmar Anderson, who made a 63-ball 77, proved decisive.
"Out batting really click today… hats off to Anderson because I told him he had to show his talent today and he did just that. It was a really good knock from him," he said.
Earlier, JDF won the toss and opted to field first under mostly sunny conditions in the morning.
The move seemed a good one as Melbourne were reduced to 85-5 in the 25th over.
During that first half of the innings Mebourne lost Abhijai Mansingh (0), Kimani Wilson (3), Bryan Brown (3), Sadique Henry (8) and Glenn (13) cheaply. But, thereafter, the JDF bowlers found the going tough.
At the centre of Melbourne's fightback was a 120-run stand for the sixth wicket between veteran Jamaica batsman Andre McCarthy, who made 99 from 109 deliveries, and Shalome Parnell (47). Their partnership helped to carry the Melbourne score past the 200-run mark.
National pacer Gordon Bryan captured 4-29 for JDF, while fellow pacers Tyrone Burton and West Indies left-armer Sheldon Cottrell took 2-31 and 1-32, respectively.
In search of 261 runs for victory, JDF lost openers Tevin Gilzene (6) and Marlon Saunders (14) as well as Oneil Weir (0) to be teetering on 34-3 in the eighth over.
However, Anderson and Daley (44) sealed the breach with their invaluable stand that effectively took the match away from Melbourne.
And even after both were dismissed JDF kept up their scoring momentum and were mathematically ahead of the par score when bad light crept in.
Wrist spinner Matthew Comerie snatched 3-41, while left-armer Parnell finished with 2-44.