The Leeward Islands Under-19s held on with one wicket remaining, to win Cricket West Indies Rising Stars Under-19 Championship in a roller coaster three-day final against Barbados at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex here in St Vincent and the Grenadines last Saturday.
Left-handed allrounder, Nathan Edwards was unbeaten with 11 off 55 balls in over 90 minutes as he played a defensive masterclass for to help Leeward Islands hold on in their second innings on 51-9 to avoid being dismissed and denied Barbados Under-19s the title in dramatic fashion.
On last Saturday’s final day of the 3-day match, the Leeward Islands Under-19s resumed their 1st innings on 172-4, 107 runs behind Barbados Under-19s 1st innings total of 279-8 declared.
Before being dismissed in the 98th over, the experience of overnight batsman, Carl Bowen-Tuckett shone through in a crucial and composed innings of 68 off 200 balls with two boundaries to anchor the Leeward Islands Under-19s ahead of his team declaration on 250-8 to enable the team to earn key batting points for scoring 250 and facing 98 overs.
Although Barbados Under-19s held a 29-run lead, the Leeward Islands Under-19s had closed the points gap due to accumulated fast bowling and batting points accumulated.
That small lead on 1st innings for Barbados Under-19s became insignificant when Edwards trapped opener, Achilles Browne without scoring with the second delivery. Medium pacer, Chamiqueko Landerfort took 4-16 off 6 overs with 1 maiden as Barbados collapsed to 76-9.
In the final analysis, to win the match the Leeward Islands Under-19s were required to chase the 106 to win or just bat out the final session. On the other hand, Barbados Under-19s had to get all 10 wickets.
The Leeward Islands Under-19s started to wobble When fast bowler, Johan Layne took a wicket in the first over of Leeward Islands Under-19s run chase started to wobble. Left-arm, leg-spinner, Nathan Sealy seemed to bowling Barbados Under-19s to victory with an inspired spell of 6-10, but one final twist occurred.
Sealy dropped Edwards at first slip off left-arm, leg- spinner, Devon Stevenson, a wicket which would have won Barbados the title. In the end Edwards and last man Onaje Armoy survived the final stages to win the championship for the Leeward Islands.
Edwards had a great all-rounder tournament. He scored 133 runs at an average of 44.33 and took 12 wickets at 15.25.
The final scores: Barbados Under-19s 279-8 declared, and 76-9, the Leeward Islands Under-19s 250-8 declared and 51-9.