St Elizabeth make it six in a row
St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) reigned supreme as champions of rural cricket when they ticked off another Grace/ISSA Headley championship with relative ease - a 10-wicket win against Manchester on the final day on home soil in Santa Cruz.
Scores: Manchester 170 and 150; STETHS 314 and 7 without loss.
STETHS's victory was set up on the final day by outstanding figures of six for 28 from their captain, leg-spinner Donovan Nelson, and with bowler Omar Samuels, who snared four for 32.
On day two, STETHS had secured first-innings honours and a 144-run lead in surpassing Manchester's total of 170. That advantage virtually sealed the title, although coach Clive Ledgister was reluctant to celebrate early.
A former player in the 1980s, Ledgister had taken over from long-standing former coach Junior Bennett, who had been assigned to the Jamaica's senior national team.
Legister said STETHS's win and their six titles in a row since he took over the helm was due to very hard work.
"It's blessings but still a lot of hard work," he told The Gleaner.
STETHS's reign is likely to continue for some time as for next year's championship only two members of the current side, barring scholarships, will not be around.
Manchester High had begun the day on 24 for two, still needing another 120 runs to make STETHS bat again. However, their innings would last only 38 overs, as they were bowled out for 150, leaving the champions with a mere six runs for an outright victory.
Manchester's resistance was limited to the contributions of Christopher Powell, who top-scored with 44, and Nicolas Walters, who made 31. The two featured in a 42-run fifth-wicket partnership.
Losing Manchester coach, for the second time in a final against STETHS, Barry Barnes, acknowledged STETHS were a superior side and that his team had not done enough to dislodge them.
"We were outplayed in all departments but still happy we were able to make them at least bat again. I am not happy with some aspects of how we performed but I liked the attitude of my players who kept trying, even when we were behind in the game," Barnes said.