With five games left in the Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) sponsored National League Premier Division, Merry Boys are cruising at the top of the 12-team standings on 141 points and can inch closer to clinching their first League title since 2008 if they can overcome Esmeralda Sports in round seven bowling off today at Diego Martin Recreation Ground at 10 a.m. and continuing tomorrow from 9.30 a.m.
Merry Boys have won five out of six games so far this season while Esmeralda, who are in fifth place on 84 points, 54 behind the leaders, have only recorded one outright victory.
But Esmeralda have had some promising performances against the other title-chasing clubs in the competition and they will be hoping to spring a surprise on the leaders.
Guyana’s Trevon Griffith has been in superb form for the Central team, scoring back-to-back centuries as Esmeralda won first innings points over former champions First Citizens Clarke Road United and Queen’s Park Cricket Club.
That should do little to worry Merry Boys who have been dominant both home and away. They had centuries from Kevon Ramdhanie and Aaron Alfred in their only drawn encounter of the season against Alescon Comets at Pierre Road in Charlieville while national players, pacer Marlon Richards and spinner Ricky Jaipaul will both add even more strength to the side this weekend.
The Parkites are currently second on the standings, 30 points behind the leaders, and will be looking to make up some ground when they face struggling Jenexcon Tableland at Queen’s Park Oval this weekend.
The good news for Queen’s Park is that they should have most of their national players available for this weekend, with the exception of Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo who are in the Indian Premier League.
Tableland, who are second from last on the standings on 58 points, will also get a boost as they welcome back Trinidad and Tobago opening batsman Evin Lewis.
Lewis is expected to strengthen the Tableland batting after it flopped against CLICO Preysal in the previous round of the competition when Tableland lost by an innings and 37 runs.
The defending champions PowerGen Penal Sports, who are third on 110 points, will also have an interesting weekend ahead when they tackle tenth placed Caldrac Club (59 points) in California.
Caldrac stunned PowerGen in the Premier Division Twenty20 competition last week and the Penal-based team will not want to let that happen again.
In another key game this weekend, sixth placed Alescon Comets (78 points) host fourth placed First Citizens Clarke Road (89 points) at Pierre Road in Charlieville with both teams hoping to move up the standings.
Clarke Road will be hoping their players continue their good form from the mid-week T20 match when Adrian Ali slammed 102 to lead the Penal team to an eight-wicket victory over Preysal.
Clarke Road lost first innings points against Caldrac in the previous round before the Easter Weekend break and will be looking to rebound, while the same is true for Comets who lost first innings points against Esmeralda in their previous league game.
The battle to avoid relegation is also heating up, with Moosai Sports, Munroe Road, Preysal, Caldrac, Tableland and Seenath’s Auto Bamboo Sports all fighting to avoid the drop.
Eighth placed Munroe Road (62 points) host seventh placed Moosai (63) at Munroe Road Recreation Ground, while last placed Bamboo Sports (43) host ninth place Preysal (60 points) at Bamboo Recreation Ground.
The Championship Division also continues this weekend.
All matches bowl off at 10 a.m. today and continue from 9.30 a.m. tomorrow.
Premier Division League fixtures
• Seenath’s Auto Bamboo Sports vs CLICO Preysal, Bamboo Recreation Ground
• Merry Boys vs Esmeralda Sports, Diego Martin Recreation Ground
• QPCC vs Jenexcon Tableland, Queen’s Park Oval
• Alescon Comets vs First Citizens Clarke Road, Pierre Road
• Munroe Road Cricket Club vs Moosai Sports, Munroe Road Recreation Ground
• Caldrac Club vs PowerGen Penal, California
Premier Division standings
Teams P W L D Pts
1. Merry Boys 6 5 0 1 141
2. QPCC 6 3 0 3 111
3. PowerGen 6 3 0 3 110
4. Clarke Road 6 2 1 3 89
5. Esmeralda 6 1 1 4 84
6. Comets 6 2 1 3 78
7. Moosai 6 1 3 2 63
8. Munroe Road 6 2 3 1 62
9. Preysal 6 1 3 2 60
10. Caldrac 6 0 2 3 59
11. Tableland 6 1 3 1 58
12. Bamboo 6 0 4 2 43
Note: The result of the Tableland vs Caldrac Round Two match will be decided by the TTCB Disciplinary Committee
(All matches bowl off today at 10 a.m. and continue tomorrow from 9:30 a.m.)
East North East
Young Defenders vs Cunaripo, Young Defenders Ground
HKL Aranjuez vs EYM, Aranjuez
Fulham Sports vs UTT, Fulham Ground
Barataria Ball Players vs Prisons Sports, Barataria
UWI Cricket Club vs Agents, UWI SPEC
Wanderers vs Central Sports, Wanderers Ground
Felicity Sports vs QPCC 2, Felicity
Calcutta Sports vs Police Sports, Calcutta Ground
Petrotrin vs Harvard, Petrotrin
Aronco Couva Sports vs Esperanza, Couva
F&E Diamond vs Valley Boys, Diamond Ground
PowerGen vs Victoria, PowerGen Ground
Clarke Rochard vs Point Fortin, Clarke Rochard Ground
Rahamut’s Evergreen vs Rousillac United, Pluck Road
Yorkshire Club vs Valiants Sports, Canjul