In the past, Kyle Mayers’ primary role has been with the bat, but even the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) player admitted to licking his chops at the prospect of using the new ball on a lively Queen’s Park Oval pitch in their opening NAGICO Regional Super50 Zone B match on Saturday night.
Though neither Mayers nor fellow Barbados-born all-rounder Raymond Reifer are traditionally frontline bowlers, they used the opportunity with good effect to blow away the Leeward Islands for 80, and set up an overall victory by a whopping 160 runs.
Mayers’ four wickets earned him Man-of-the-Match honours, and the medium pacer praised the Oval pitch after his team’s demolition job.
“I thought the wicket was good for fast bowling,” Mayers said after the contest. “Obviously when a fast bowler gets a good wicket, which is not often in the West Indies, you try to use it and try to make the best of it.”
Asked whether he felt the Leewards were overwhelmed by pace, Mayers said: “No I don’t think so.
“I’m not the fastest bowler in the world. I think the areas we bowled, they could not put a good partnership on the top, so that put pressure on the batsmen coming in. We stayed disciplined and tried to be (as) consistent as possible.”
The pressure from a more youthful, energetic CCC was telling on the Leewards, whose score only avoided being downright humiliating due to the last wicket pair of topscorer Lionel Baker (31 not out) and Anthony Martin (26). They took the team of combined islands from 36 for nine to 80 all out.
Mayers and Reifer provided most of that pressure, but it was Kesrick Williams—CCC’s other opening bowler—who set the tone with the first-ball dismissal of Leewards skipper and West Indies opener Kieran Powell without scoring, as their main batting hope feathered an edge to wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton.
Number three and four batsmen Mali Richards and Sylvester Joseph had tormented stays at the crease, beset with appeals, before they a headed back to the Pavilion without scoring.
Jahmar Hamilton (zero) faced two balls before Reifer removed him. And apart from the last-wicket pair, only burly youngster Rahkeem Cornwall (five) found the boundary, a sublime straight drive off Mayers, who snuck through his defences two balls later.
In all, five batsmen failed to score, and the match looked to be over with the Leewards 36 for nine, before Baker and Hodge provided late entertainment, scoring one six each. Baker edged over Walton and over the ropes, and Martin heaved Kavem Hodge straight, before the bowler had revenge a few balls later.
Baker’s unbeaten 31 also included four fours.
CCC should have done a lot better with a solid platform in the first half of their innings, when they looked on course for a total nearing 300. After 25 overs they were 104 for two with topscorer Anthony Alleyne sighting 50, and Raymond Reifer new to the crease.
Alleyne kept things going for CCC after losing fellow opener Chadwick Walton, who led the Students out of the blocks quickly with a six off Tonge and three fours, before being caught short going for a suicidal single.
CCC mostly got starts from their top order, including Kyle Corbin (29), who was trapped in front by Athanaze not really offering a shot.
The Leewards were sometimes sloppy in the field, but not with their catching, and CCC offered a lot of aerial chances. Raymond Reifer (29) lofted Tonge to Athanaze down the ground, and Steven Jacobs (ten) swiped at Baker to be taken at long leg.
A partnership of 54 between 41-year-old player/coach Floyd Reifer and Shacaya Thomas—which was fraught with edges—brought CCC past 200. And after Reifer (F) perished to another big shot, Thomas took over with big sixes off Tonge, Martin and Baker, including one that sailed high into the Carib Beer Stand.
But he departed to another big shot, before Martin and Tonge mopped up the tail to give their brittle batting order a shot at victory.
As it turned out, it was never really a shot at all.