Anguilla ends Antigua’s dominance

POSTED: 11/12/12 1:28 PM

St. Maarten – In the ten year history of the Nagico/Leeward Islands 50 over competition, Antigua and Barbuda had the lion’s share of victories, but a superb batting performance from Ashan Hodge, who was not out on 30 and Kelbert Walters, not out on 36 helped Anguilla to deny the defending champions yet another victory.

Winning the toss and batting first, Antigua, the sure favorites were 273 for 9 from the allotted overs and that spell was spiked with 23 fours and 10 sixes. A 45 run partnership between the openers, Austin Richards Jr and Juari Edwards helped to set a foundation for the middle and lower order.

Edwards, who batted for 36 minutes and faced 18 balls struck four boundaries and was caught by J Gumbs, off the bowling from Shane Burton on 23. His dismissal paved the way for Rakeem Cornwall to join Richards Jr.

But Cornwall, a good striker of the ball was not allowed to shift into high gear and was caught by M Bowen, off the bowling from Burton on 04 and the score on 50. Olando Peters, the new batsman and Richards Jr, went on to build a huge partnership.

But with the score pushed to 123, Richards, who batted for 116 minutes and faced 80 balls which was punctuated by 5 fours and a six was caught by Burton, off the bowling from J Leonard (the stand in captain) on 52.

Peters, was also not given the chance to settle down and was out LBW off the bowling from Leonard on 03 and the score on 138, in the 30th over. A spirited partnership between Sylvester Joseph, the Captain and Devon Thomas brought some respectability to the scoreboard.

But Joseph, who batted for 110 minutes facing 82 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes was caught by Moncin Hodge, off the bowling from Chesney Hughes on 82, with the score on 212 and Thomas was caught by Hodge, off the bowling from Hughes on 49 and the score on 231 in the 43rd over.

The last three wickets fell at regular intervals as the Anguillan bowlers attempted to wrap up the run rate. Larry Joseph was bowled by Leonard on 18, Gavin Tonge was caught by Burton off the bowling from Leonard  for no score and Hayden Walsh Jr was run out by Walters on 14, with one ball to spare in the inning.

For a team like Antigua & Barbuda, defending a score of 273 was supposed to be relatively easy under almost any circumstances and Anguilla set to score 274 to win won the game with two wickets in hand and 4 balls to spare in what turned out as the most exciting game of the season.

Anguilla was off to a brilliant start with M Hodge and Burton at the wicket and they batted responsibly for a 96 run partnership which caused a degree of frustration for Antigua and Barbuda. But when Burton was stumped by Thomas off the bowling from Anthony buy cheap generic diazepam online Martin on 40 with the score on 96 and Hodge was caught by Joseph, off the bowling from Cornwall on 55 and the score on 106, most would have thought that was the beginning of the end for the challengers. But unlike the defending champions, Anguilla had nothing to lose and they played like a team that wanted to win.

With the score pushed to 140 in the progress of the 23rd over, Jovine Gumbs was stumped by Thomas off the bowling from Walsh on 11 and again on 160, Dillion Skellekie was caught by Edwards off the bowling from Walsh on 12.

Everything depended on the depth of the Anguilla batting and only good partnerships could have helped them to stay close to the required run rate. Hughes, who entertained the crowd during his 73 minutes at the wicket batted responsibly.

But with the score on 203, in the 35th over, he was caught by Peters, off the bowling from Cornwall on 53 and that included 5 fours and 3 sixes. Next to the wicket was the last of the recognized batsmen, Chaka Hodge.

But Hodge was sent packing when he was given the LBW decision off the bowling from Martin on 01 and the score on 207 with the first ball in the 36th over. As far as Antigua and Barbuda, who were already celebrating was concerned, it was just a matter of time.

And when they picked up the wicket of Leonard who was run out by Peters for 01, with the score on 209 in the 36th over and that of Joshua John who was out LBW off the bowling from Martin also on 01, they thought that they had the game in the bag.

But a Hodge and Walters were steadfast in their approach to the dire situation. The running between the wickets was excellent, they were capitalizing on the singles and made the bad balls run down to the boundary.

It was a nerve wrecking experience for all present and the overs dried up, Antigua and Barbuda were eager to get a wicket and the two batsmen were intent on getting the required score to win and they were focused in their efforts.

Walters who batted for 56 minutes and faced 31 balls had 2 fours and 3 sixes and Hodge who batted for 86 minutes and faced 66 balls only had a single boundary in his stellar performance. One that he is not likely to forget as long as he lives.

After reaching the required score to win, supporters hastily rushed onto the field and embraced the two batsmen. Hodge was so emotional that he was in tears and had to be consoled. Walters was equally emotional, but he managed to hold back his tears.

Bowling for Antigua and Barbuda, Martin had 3 for 25 with one maiden from 10 and Walsh Jr had 2 for 50 from 9. For Anguilla, Cornwall had 3 for 49, Hughes 3 for 51 and Burton 2 for 62.


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