Harpy Eagles lead by 10.2 points ahead of final round of 2022/23 West Indies Championship

By Sports Desk March 28, 2023
Harpy Eagles captain Leon Johnson celebrating a hundred against the Red Force earlier in the season. Harpy Eagles captain Leon Johnson celebrating a hundred against the Red Force earlier in the season. CWI Media

The Guyana Harpy Eagles will take a 10.2-point lead into their fifth and final round game of the 2022/23 West Indies Championship against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Providence.

The Harpy Eagles defeated the Jamaica Scorpions by 228 runs in round four for their third win to move to 68.2 points.

Second-placed Windward Islands Volcanoes kept pace with the Harpy Eagles at the top with a six-wicket win over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the Brian Lara Stadium to move to 58 points.

Their opponents in the final round will be third-placed Barbados Pride, who have 50 points after beating the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force by seven wickets at the Queen’s Park Oval. That game will take place at the same venue.

The points table is rounded out by the Hurricanes (41.4), the Red Force (28.6) and the Jamaica Scorpions (21.2). The Red Force will play the Scorpions at the Brian Lara Stadium in the final round.

All games start on Wednesday at 9:00am Jamaica Time (10:00 am ECT).

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  • Hope says focus is on development ahead of UAE series opener Hope says focus is on development ahead of UAE series opener

    West Indies ODI captain Shai Hope hopes to see development when his team takes on the UAE in three ODIs starting at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

    The regional side will take on the UAE in three ODIs from June 4-9 before making the journey to Zimbabwe to take part in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers from June 18-July 9.

    The squad for the UAE series will be missing some of the players who participated in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which ended last week, meaning several new players will get an opportunity to represent the region on the biggest stage.

    “I just see it as another series,” said the 29-year-old in an interview on Saturday.

    “Every time we step onto the park the aim is to perform for West Indies and it gives some new guys an opportunity to showcase their skills on the world stage,” he added.

    The squad will also include some players who have been selected for the qualifiers and Hope wants them to use this opportunity as preparation for the task at hand.

    “For the members of the qualifiers squad, it gives us some prep leading into that important task,” said Hope before he reiterated the importance of development.

    “Just want to see the guys continue to grow. The main thing for me is development. Over time, we’re going to get better and hopefully that one percent can be shown here in UAE,” he added.

    Hope, the 12th ranked ODI batsman in the world according to the latest ICC rankings, also described working with new head coach, Daren Sammy.

    “I can definitely commend the communication. I see everyone being clear and frank; that’s one of the main principles here. We haven’t had many training sessions to focus on more physical stuff. It’s been, more so, based around the mental side of the game. We know that Sammy loves his stats and his planning so we’re all on the same page where we’re looking to move West Indies cricket forward,” Hope said.

     

  • Ben Stokes plays down fitness fears after not batting or bowling against Ireland Ben Stokes plays down fitness fears after not batting or bowling against Ireland

    Ben Stokes played down fears over his fitness before the Ashes after England wrapped up victory over Ireland by 10 wickets inside three days without him batting or bowling at Lord’s.

    Stokes declared with England on 524 for four on day two to ensure he was not required with the bat and after struggling with his left knee since it flared up during the New Zealand series in February, he did not bowl on the first day or day three of this one-off Test either.

    England’s captain had not made any contribution to the scorecard until he caught Curtis Campher off Joe Root during Saturday’s morning session, but the grimace on his face and subsequent hobble to join his team-mates in celebration sent alarm bells ringing ahead of the Ashes opener on June 16.

    But Stokes revealed: “I bowled this morning (in the nets) for the first time in four weeks and I felt really good. I was real happy with how I bowled.

    “I bowled for about 20 minutes and I got through that really well. Obviously I have got time to build up before I push back into flat out but I just landed quite awkwardly when I took that catch.

    “I didn’t quite see it so had to adjust myself and landed on my left leg. It twisted in a really strange way but it was fine, I just don’t know what really happened.

    “It was one of those things, but I am 32 tomorrow so that probably explains it.

    “Matty Potts sent me a screenshot this morning saying I was on track from 1931 to be the first captain not to score a run, take a wicket or take a catch and that was my team talk this morning.

    “Unfortunately one came straight to me. It is another record we’re looking to break!”

    While Stokes was in a jovial mood after England clinched a 10-wicket victory over Ireland with a day to spare, it had been a frustrating first two sessions on day three.

    Harry Tector (51) and Lorcan Tucker (44) combined to help Ireland add 118 runs for the loss of only three wickets before lunch and the run rate increased to ensure the tourists eventually impressively avoided an innings defeat.

    Tail-enders Mark Adair and Andy McBrine joined forces to produce a record 163-run partnership for Ireland in Test cricket but the duo could not pass three figures.

    Adair was bounced out for 88 and McBrine left stranded unbeaten on 86 when Graham Hume was bowled to leave Ireland on 362 for nine but with opener James McCollum unable to bat following his twisted ankle on Friday.

    “No, we won the game so, yeah, never hard to be disappointed with winning a game,” Stokes insisted when quizzed on if Ireland’s fightback took the shine off an 11th victory in 13 Tests since Brendon McCullum took over.

    “The game could have ended up finishing a lot earlier than what it did but they showed some really good grit and determination so fair play to them.”

    Nevertheless, Josh Tongue’s five-wicket haul on debut helped England start the Ashes summer with an emphatic victory and saw his name go up on the Lord’s honours board.

    Stokes added: “The first time I actually met Tonguey was the start of this week when we got together so he must think I am a pretty good bloke giving him his Test debut!

    “He was very unlucky in the first innings not to get a wicket but he definitely reaped the rewards and the way he bowled contributed to the five wickets he got in this innings because they were already on the back foot against him, knowing he had that extra bit of pace.

    “He can bowl 90mph full and short so he was one step ahead in the second innings because of the way he bowled in the first innings.”

    Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie was proud of his team’s fight on day three and revealed how close injured opener McCollum came to walking out after tea before Hume’s dismissal left McBrine still 14 runs away from his century.

    “James had the pads on, he padded up and had the boot on, so it was all a bit chaotic in there,” Balbirnie explained.

    “Andy actually came in at tea and said he didn’t want James to bat because they are good mates and he was a bit sore.

    “He really didn’t want him to hobble out in the boot. Eventually it was agreed if Andy was one hit away, he would go out and just hold up an end. It was chaos.”

  • Josh Tongue claims five on debut as England beat battling Ireland by 10 wickets Josh Tongue claims five on debut as England beat battling Ireland by 10 wickets

    Debutant Josh Tongue claimed five wickets to help England beat Ireland inside three days at Lord’s, but only after a record 163-run partnership between tailenders Mark Adair and Andy McBrine.

    Predictions before the third day started ranged from whether England would have victory wrapped up in this one-off Test by lunch or by the time the FA Cup final got under way at 3pm.

    Ireland needed 255 runs to force Ben Stokes’ side to bat again and were without injured opener James McCollum, but Harry Tector (51) and Lorcan Tucker (44) ensured 118 runs were scored in the morning session for the loss of only three wickets.

    Adair and McBrine then upped the ante after lunch, launching astonishing attacks on Stuart Broad and Jack Leach before Matthew Potts bounced out number nine Adair for a 76-ball 88 that included 12 fours and two sixes.

    Tongue continued his fine debut by picking up his fifth scalp, that of Fionn Hand, before McBrine helped Ireland make it to tea in the lead, only to be stranded on 86 not out when last man Graham Hume was bowled by Broad to leave the tourists on 362 for nine.

    It gave England a victory target of 11 and Zak Crawley needed only four balls to secure a 10-wicket success to make it 11 wins in 13 Tests in the ‘Bazball’ era under Stokes and Brendon McCullum, but the sternest examination of their aggressive brand of cricket will start on June 16 when the Ashes get under way.

    Huge scores in quick time from Ben Duckett (182) and Ollie Pope (205) in England’s 524 for four declared raised the possibility a result may occur inside two days, but Ireland made it to the close on Friday evening on 97 for three.

    With McCollum retired hurt, the onus was on Tector and wicketkeeper Tucker, who after an observant first three overs started to play his shots.

    A skip down the wicket saw him crunch Potts away to the boundary for four and two more followed to bring up the half-century partnership with Tector.

    It was Ireland’s first half-century stand of the Test but an England breakthrough followed when Stokes, after watching Potts go agonisingly close to a superb caught and bowled against Tucker, introduced Leach, who struck with his second ball.

    Tucker missed his sweep shot and gloved onto his own stumps to walk off for a well-made 44 off 64 balls.

    Ireland’s number four Tector was still there and after it took him 12 balls to add to his overnight 33, he got his first boundary of the morning by hitting Leach down the ground and further applause followed when he reached 50 with a scampered two.

    Tector’s celebrations quickly ended when the very next ball he cut straight to Harry Brook at backward point to give Tongue a fortuitous fourth scalp to depart for 51.

    Curtis Campher picked out Stokes at short fine leg next but more significant was the grimace on the face of England’s captain, who took the catch at chest height but hobbled to join the celebrations with all eyes on his troublesome left knee ahead of five Ashes Tests during the next two months.

    There would be no early finish before lunch with Adair taking a shine to Joe Root, smashing two maximums to bring up Ireland’s 200. He then crunched three consecutive fours off Broad to register his fifty from 47 balls, reaching the milestone with a ramp shot over Jonny Bairstow.

    McBrine brought up the hundred partnership off only 106 balls and recorded his half-century with a reverse sweep.

    With Adair closing in on a maiden Test century, talk turned to whether he could beat Stokes’ 85-ball ton at Lord’s but Potts clinched the much-needed breakthrough.

    Adair was bounced out after scoring 88 in a record 163-run partnership for Ireland in Test cricket.

    Hand walked out with Ireland still needing 27 to avoid an innings defeat but he edged Tongue to Crawley at second slip to give the Worcestershire seamer his maiden five-wicket Test haul to put himself on the honours board at Lord’s.

    Last man Hume remained unflustered and when he hit Root for back-to-back boundaries during the 83rd over, it meant England would bat again after tea.

    McBrine was also denied a first Test hundred when Broad bowled Hume eight balls into the evening session, which ended during the first over of England’s chase after Crawley smashed three boundaries to clinch an emphatic win.

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