Toppers Guyana narrowly escape defeat to second-placed Barbados
Guyana managed to hold on for a draw against Barbados in Bridgetown's Kensington Oval on the final day, restricting the hosts to 75 for 5 in their chase of 93 off the game's last 12 overs. This after Guyana were asked to follow on after being dismissed in the first innings for 250, chasing Barbados' 480. Guyana overturned their 230-run first innings deficit to post 322 in their second innings, thereby setting up the 93-run target for Barbados to chase, but a fiery spell from Raymon Reifer (4 for 49) and Romario Shepherd (1 for 26) denied an easy chase for the home side as Barbados were left stranded 18 runs short of their target when play ended. The draw saw Guyana remain at the top of the table while Barbados moved to second courtesy their first-innings lead.
Choosing to bat, Barbados lost only three wickets on their way to 480, courtesy a second-wicket partnership of 205 between the captain Kraigg Brathwaite (143) and Shai Hope (215*). After Brathwaite fell after his 236-ball innings, where he scored 17 fours, Hope added another 154 runs for the third wicket with Shamarh Brooks (67). Hope's innings of 215, which was also his best first-class score, was peppered with 27 boundary shots, including three sixes. After declaring for a score close to 500, Barbados' bowlers then joined the act, led by pacer Miguel Cummins (5 for 41) and offspinner Roston Chase (4 for 46) to skittle Guyana out for 250. Half centuries from Shivnarine Chanderpaul (50) and Anthony Bramble (77) reduced Guyana's deficit, but were forced to follow on after the first-innings deficit north of 200 runs.
Guyana dug their heels in during their second innings, batting almost 120 overs, stonewalling Barbados' bowlers as they went about wiping out the lead. After wickets from Ashley Nurse reduced the visitors to 78 for 3, Guyana's middle and lower order rallied around Chanderpaul's second half century of the match. He scored 63, Guyana's only fifty-plus score in the second innings, but contributions from Vishaul Singh (37), Riefer (35), Bramble (30) and Clinton Pestano (38), took them past Barbados' total and eventually into a lead of 92 runs with twelve overs of play left.
Barbados needing to score at 7.75 runs per over to win, lost their way after a quick start. After their openers gave Barbados a quick start, Reifer picked up three wickets in five balls while Shepherd removed Shane Dowrich (1) to reduce the home side from 34 for 1 for 40 for 4. Hope scored 35 off 34 balls, but with his wicket off the last ball of the 11th over, Barbados' chances of chasing down the 93 target were doused as they had to settle for a draw.
Windward Islands completed a dominating seven-wicket win over Leeward Islands after chasing down the target of 52 on the final day in Basseterre. Windward posted a first-innings total of 540, after Sunil Ambris hit 27 fours and five sixes in his 256-ball stay of 231, his highest first-class score. Leeward were skittled out for 240 in their innings, courtesy Shane Shillingford's 6 for 78, and were prompty asked to follow on, but a second-innings total of 351, rocked by another six wickets for Shillingford, could only set up a paltry target for Windward to chase for the win.
Windward were sent in to bat, and after a positive start that saw opener Devon Smith (65) score a fifty, they were soon struggling at 135 for 4 after a Rahkeem Cornwall (4 for 151) double-strike. Ambris then smacked 231 runs, with a strike-rate in excess of 90, and stitched together a 173-run seventh-wicket partnership with Kyle Mayers (76). Ambris, Cornwall's fourth scalp, was the last man dismissed with the team's score at 540.
Shillingford then ran through the Leeward middle and lower order, taking six wickets to dismiss the hosts for 240, who struggled to get partnerships together despite individual starts for their batsmen. Nkrumah Bonner struck 55, while Kieran Powell (49) and Cornwall (42) chipped in, but Leeward, 300 runs behind, were prompty asked to follow on. The second innings was no different for Shillingford, as he took another six-for, but Leeward managed to post a higher score. Montcin Hodge's 60 at the top was followed up by Keacy Carty's 103, his maiden first-class ton, thereby taking Leeward to 296 for 5 but a flurry of late wickets meant they were for all out for 351 soon after.
Opener Tyrone Theophile led Windward's 52-run chase with a steady 32 that included five fours and a six, and although they lost three wickets in their chase, they cantered home to a seven-wicket triumph in the 15th over. Ambris' career-best 231 earned him the Player-of-the-Match award.