Volcanoes thrive under pressure
ST JOHN'S, Antigua:
Windward Islands Volcanoes head coach Andre Coley says that the three-wicket win over Barbados Pride in the Cricket West Indies Regional Super50 Cup on Saturday night meant a lot because of the resilience the players showed to perform after their islands were devastated by Hurricane Irma last year.
The Jamaican, who has been in charge of the team since August 2017, said Irma created many setbacks to preparation, but the team overcame them.
"In terms of the (Regional) Four-Day tournament, we started behind," he said. "We lost about six weeks of that preparation time, and we eventually picked up at the back end of that tournament. In this one, there wasn't a lot of time between the end of the Four-Day and it. We had a camp for three or four days in Barbados before this one, and we started slowly."
Coley credits his players for their strength of character shown when it seemed that they had lost control of the game.
Chasing 233 for victory, the Volcanoes' score was 205 for seven in the 44th over, but then left-handed lower-order batsman Alick Athanaze produced an unbeaten run-a-ball 23 to give his side the win with three balls remaining in the day-night affair at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
"I'm still processing it," Coley told The Gleaner. "I'm very proud of the fellas, knowing how we fought back."
Captain Shane Shillingford, who took home the top bowler award, with 23 wickets, said that the team remained calm under pressure, and that was also significant to their win.
"It was a little bit nerve racking, given the start that we had," he said. "I thought that the Barbados team bowled well. But one thing we did throughout the tournament, under pressure, we kept our composure and I always feel that the team that remains calm under pressure will come out on top."
The Volcanoes were in a difficult position, having lost their opening three games, and Coley explained the approach they took to building momentum.
"Having started slowly, it was important for us to at least win one game to start some momentum, and from then on, we took it one game at a time," Coley explained. "Every game was going to be our best game, better than the one before."
"After we won our first game, I said to my wife, 'We're not going to lose another game,'" he said. "We pretty much played seven or eight finals. Having lost any game, we would not have qualified, so we just never looked back."