Showdown at Sabina Park - Melbourne, JDF clash in Senior Cup final
Title-holders Melbourne CC and the Jamaica Defence Force will square off today in the final of the Jamaica Cricket Association's Senior Cup at Sabina Park.
A showdown between the top two teams in local two-day cricket in recent years, the encounter is set to get under way at 10 a.m. each day.
Leading the way for Melbourne, who are slight favourites for the crown, are sidelined West Indies spin bowler and Jamaica Scorpions captain, Nikita Miller, West Indies ''A'' representatives, batsman Andre McCarthy and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs.
Possessing a wealth of experience at the regional and national level, the trio is expected to lead their various departments, which includes other national representatives.
In the batting arena, McCarthy will have Jamaica Scorpions batsmen, Guyanese Trevon Griffith and American Steven Taylor while Miller and Jacobs will have as their support young national fast bowler, Oshane Thomas.
''It should be an interesting final,'' said Melbourne coach Andrew Richardson, who is in his first season in charge of the team.
''We have been playing good cricket with our bowlers leading the way, and once our batters come to the party, as they did in the semi-finals last week, we should be in good stead,'' he added.
Batting first, Melbourne posted an impressive 415 for eight declared against Kingston CC with Griffith and Tarique White scoring hundreds, and Taylor getting 81.
Kingston, in response, were bowled out for 160 on the back of a five-wicket haul from left-arm spinner, Chris Lamont. Batting a second time, Melbourne closed on 153 for eight.
The JDF, in the meantime, who are seeking a third title in four years, and overcame the challenge of a feisty Westmoreland in the semi-finals on the back of a solid unbeaten century from fast bowler Leighton Leslie, will be seeking to set the record straight having lost to Melbourne at the quarterfinal stage last season.
''Melbourne will be coming to play good cricket and so I am expecting a good final right down the end,'' said coach Martin Walcott, who is also a first-timer this season.
''We have been playing good team cricket all season and I expect nothing will change, and if we do that we should return to the top of the podium.''
The army men will be led in their batting by Jamaica Scorpions opener Jermaine Harrison, Rasheed Outar and the experienced Joseph Palmer.
Meanwhile, in their bowling, much will the expected of Jamaica Scorpions left-arm spinner, and the competition's leading wicket taker, Dennis Bulli, West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell, and West Indies ''A'' fast bowler Reynard Leveridge.
''Our players are players with quality and talent and coupled with our never-say-die attitude, we should be very hard to beat,'' said Walcott.