Semi-final day in Senior Cup
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
The title credentials of defending champions Melbourne CC are expected to be tested this weekend when they play away to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) at Up Park Camp in one of two semi-final clashes of the Jamaica Cricket Association Senior Cup.
The second match between Kingston CC and Manchester CA will be played at Sabina Park.
Melbourne, who should have Jamaica representatives, batsmen Andre McCarthy and Jon-Ross Campbell, and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs in their line-up, will be hoping to continue their impressive run so far this season.
In six matches to date Melbourne are yet to taste defeat with their last success coming against St Catherine CA in the quarter-finals two weeks ago.
In that encounter, the Robert Samuels-coached unit, won by an innings and seven runs and were led to victory courtesy of a nine-wicket match haul from Jacobs, 78 from McCarthy, and 76 from Campbell.
"The team has been playing well all season, and we expect to continue doing so," said Jacobs. .
The JDF, meanwhile, are also expected to enter the contest on a high after recording a convincing quarter-final win over Westmoreland.
They won by 10 wickets, also at Up Park Camp, with the tournament's leading scorer, Rasheed Outar, leading the way with 68 in their first innings total of 247. Westmoreland were blown away for 193 and 82.
Former Jamaica youth representative, left-arm wrist spinner Dennis Bulli, is again expected to lead their attack with fast bowler Leighton Leslie, and left-arm spinner, Damion Grey, providing support.
Over at Sabina Park, Kingston are expected to start as slight favourites given their home advantage.
They have relied on the tournament's leading wicket-taker, left-arm spinner Paul Harrison, and fast bowler Nicholson Gordon in their bowling efforts so far, and set to do so once more.
Their batting should see Garth Garvey, opener Brian Clarke, Lionel Morant, and West Indies Under-19 batsman Brandon King leading the way.
Manchester, the dethroned champions, will be looking to improve on their first innings quarter-final success over a strong St Elizabeth aggregation.
They made 367 in their first innings with Jamie Merchant falling three runs short of a century and David Powell, getting 87.
The pair then returned to restrict St Elizabeth to 274 with Merchant claiming three wickets, and Powell, two.
"We have been hampered in our preparations this week due to the inclement weather," revealed coach Barry Barnes.
"However, having said that, we have a young team, which has been playing well all season, and once we maintain our form we should get the result that we want," he added.