Crowd trouble mars Jamaica's progress
Jamaica 338 (Bernard 120) and 372 for 5 (Gayle 71, Lambert 82, Hibbert 102) drew with Windward Islands 249
Jamaica's Carib Beer Challenge Series semi-final against the Windward Islands ended in a draw - the first-innings lead was enough to see them through to the final - but the match will sadly be remembered for crowd trouble that forced the umpires to abandon play well before the scheduled close.
Certain spectators, angered by Jamaica's decision to bat on, threw plastic water bottles onto the field at the Alpart Sports Club, forcing Eddie Nichols and Basil Morgan, the umpires, to call of play with a minimum of 26.2 overs still to be bowled.
Jamaica, already assured of a place in the final against Barbados, opted for batting practice, with Keith Hibbert (102) hitting his maiden first-class hundred. There was also a fine innings from Tamar Lambert, who made 82. The Windwards' challenge was lacklustre, mainly as the result of the absence of Fernix Thomas, who couldn't bowl because of a groin strain.
Chris Gayle, who was captaining Jamaica for the first time, expressed his disappointment with the crowd's behaviour. "I didn't expect this from the Alpart crowd," said Gayle, who defended his decision to bat on by saying that a number of his bowlers were nursing niggles.
Resuming at 145 for 2, Jamaica scored 92 runs in the morning session for the loss of Donovan Pagon (25). Lambert fell soon after the interval, slicing a catch to backward point off Ian Butler.
David Bernard, whose superb first-innings century set the tone for Jamaica's domination of the game, made 0, caught at cover by Craig Emmanuel off Butler. That prompted Hibbert to accelerate, and he hammered Shane Shillingford, the offspinner, for successive sixes over long-on. He got to 100 in the over before tea, sweeping Rawl Lewis to the square-leg fence. But Jamaica's failure to give the Windwards a hit after that prompted the ugly scenes which caused the match to be called off.