A Man-of-the-Match per-formance from former national batsman Wayne Cuff yesterday guided the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to a 71-run win over Melbourne in the final of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Captain's Bakery Limited Overs Championship at Kensington Park.
Cuff, who represented Jamaica in 10 first-class matches and scored 344 runs at an average of 19.11, made an unbeaten 45 off 42 balls, then claimed 3-26 with is mixture of leg- and off-spin as Melbourne, chasing a modest 213 for victory, were bowled out for 141.
"Word's cannot explain what the feeling is like at the moment," said an elated Cuff, who is also the team's coach.
"I am really happy for the guys, most of whom are playing their first season. We were only able to train most of the times for only two hours on Fridays due to operational duties, and to see us week in, week out come out and play and win shows that we really deserve this title," he declared.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, the JDF were guided to their total thanks to Cuff and primarily big-hitting fast bowler Sheldon Cotterell, who topscored with 56. He also shared a 94-run fourth-wicket stand with Cuff.
The duo took the JDF from a precarious position of 51 for three and though their lower order did not offer substantive support, they were able to give the army men a good enough total to bowl at.
Part-time off-spinner Andre McCarthy, with 3-53 from his maximum 10 overs and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs, who claimed 2-41, also from his maximum, took most wickets for Melbourne.
Fairly good start
Melbourne, who were without their top players due to national and West Indies duties, got off to a fairly good start after being at 34-1 at one stage.
However, thanks to Cuff and company and three top-order run outs, the JDF were unable to defend their total.
The in-form Jacobs with 41 and Dean Williams, 19, made most runs for Melbourne, who were falling at the final hurdle for the second year in a row.
"We batted poorly, as after a fairly decent start we were hampered by the three run-outs," said Melbourne's captain, McCarthy.
"But it was a fairly good match and congrats to the JDF for sticking it out."
Both teams will now turn their attention to the national Twenty20 championship, which is slated to start in a few weeks' time.