GRENVILLE, Grenada (CMC):
With little margin of error afforded them, Jamaica will chase an outright win against Trinidad and Tobago this weekend in an attempt to win the 2010 WICB regional first-class championship.
Progress Park in Grenada's northeast will be the scene of a battle that will determine Jamaica's fortunes in a tournament they led up until the last round, when they were trounced by Barbados.
Jamaica are nine points behind Barbados in second spot on 48 points, and nothing but full points from this final-round clash will be enough to see them to their third successive four-day title.
"It's almost like a final. Everything basically rests on this game and everybody is in very good spirits going into the first day tomorrow," Jamaica's technical director Jimmy Adams told CMC Sports yesterday.
"I think that if we play to the best of our ability it is possible (to get an outright win) and I'm looking forward to a positive result come Monday."
Unbeaten up until the last round in T&T, Jamaica plunged to a disappointing 10-wicket loss to Barbados, putting their title hopes in jeopardy and ensuring the final round held the key to their fortunes.
Barbados, on 57 points, have a bye this round and will sit at home watching with keen interest.
Entering the contest, Jamaica will be buoyed by the fact they have beaten T&T in two of their last three meetings, with one encounter finishing in a stalemate.
Their batting has wobbled in the last two rounds of matches but Adams said they were not dwelling on the past.
"Worrying about anything doesn't help to solve it. It (batting) has been a concern but all the players are really looking forward to the opportunity tomorrow," the former West Indies captain stressed.
"It's another opportunity for batsmen to score runs and for bowlers to take wickets. I think we've tried to create an atmosphere where we've tried to look forward instead of dwelling on what has gone behind.
"We take into consideration what has happened but we are looking forward to some good performances over the next four days."
Jamaica will be without all-rounder David Bernard Jr, who has been selected for the West Indies. He has been replaced by Horace Miller.
However, Trinidad and Tobago could spoil the Jamaicans' party, as they are eyeing third place in the tournament, especially after their win in the last round over the Windward Islands at home.
They are currently in third on 33 points, nine points ahead of the fourth-place Combined Campuses and Colleges, and can consolidate this position with an outright win.
"We're coming off a win against the Windward Islands so that has given us some kind of confidence coming into this game," T&T coach Kelvin Williams told CMC Sports.
The players from the twin-island republic lost their opening game against CCC by 150 runs, but have recovered to register back-to-back drawn games and subsequently victories.
Already missing several of their players because of West Indies duties, they have been further hit by the loss of the youthful batting duo of Adrian Barath and Darren Bravo for this round. They have been selected to the West Indies squad for the Twenty20 International against Zimbabwe on Sunday.
Ravi Rampaul, Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard are out because of West Indies duty, while all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is still injured.
"We have to play with what we have. The guys that are coming in, I know that they can step up," Williams pointed out.
Tamar Lambert (captain), Carlton Baugh Jr, Horace Miller, Nkrumah Bonner, Bevon Brown, Odean Brown, John Ross Campbell, Jason Dawes, Danza Hyatt, Donovan Pagon, Brenton Parchment, Andrew Richardson, Andre Russell.
Daren Ganga (captain), Jason Mohammed, Daron Cruick-shank, Gibran Mohammed, Navin Stewart, Justin Guillen, Sherwin Ganga, William Perkins, Kervon Cooper, Amit Jaggernauth, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine, Imran Khan.
Two other matches will start today. Guyana oppose the Windward Islands at Grenada's National Stadium while the Leeward Islands face Combined Campuses and Colleges at Beausejour Cricket Ground.