Johnson century beats back Scorpions on day one
Guyana Harpy Eagles batsman Leon Johnson (right) celebrates reaching a century as Jamaica Scorpions bowler Abhijai Mansingh reacts during day one of the regional fourday match at Guyana National Stadium on Wednesday. (Photo: CWI Media)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – An undefeated, seventh, first class hundred for retiring Guyana Harpy Eagles Captain Leon Johnson, and a career-best spell from Barbados Pride off-spinner Chaim Holder marked the West Indies Championship on Wednesday.

Johnson, 35, announced this month that he was retiring after this season, but gave a reminder of his value when he came to the Eagles' rescue with 142 not out against Jamaica Scorpions that dominated the first day of the fourth-round match in Guyana.

Holder, 28, bagged five for 71 from 18.3 overs, and defending champions Pride, stinging from a deflating loss in the previous round, bowled out hosts Trinidad & Tobago Red Force about an hour after tea.

In south Trinidad half-centuries from Karima Gore, Kieran Powell, and Kofi James gave Leeward Islands Hurricanes a strong start against Windward Islands Volcanoes.

At the Guyana National Stadium, Johnson shared 126 for the fifth wicket with Tevin Imlach, plus a series of small stands to carry the table-leading Harpy Eagles to 268 for nine in their first innings at the close.

Sent in to bat, the Harpy Eagles stumbled to 55 for four before lunch, and Johnson, playing in his 106th match for the hosts, drew on all his experience to pull them out of the hole.

He struck 16 fours from 248 balls in 5 1/2 hours at the crease, Imlach supported with 46, and opener Kevlon Anderson got the ball rolling with 36.

Test pacer Marquino Mindley, and fellow pacers Derval Green and Ojay Shields have taken two wickets apiece for the Scorpions.

At Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, Holder defied a half-century from discarded international batsman Jason Mohammed and led the demolition of Red Force's first-innings batting for 203.

Pacer Jair McAllister supported with three for 31 from 15 overs before Pride replied with 40 without loss at the close, with Zachary McCaskie not out on 21 and left-hander Shayne Moseley not out on 19.

At Brian Lara Cricket Academy, United States international Gore was unbeaten on 87, sizing up a maiden first-class hundred on debut to lead the Hurricanes to 271 for six in the first innings at the close.

Gore has so far struck 12 fours and one six from 177 balls in close to four hours at the crease, and shared 150 unbroken for the seventh wicket with Kofi James after the Hurricanes wobbled to 121 for six after lunch.

James was not out on 61 with three fours and one six from 153 balls in three hours of batting.

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