There was a pronounced air of excitement coming from Carlisle Best last Sunday as he reported on the batting display by Massy Stores Spartan against BRC BCL at Blenheim ‘A’ in the second round of the BCA Sagicor General Super Cup championship. Best, an outstanding former Empire and Barbados batsman who captained both teams and also represented West Indies, could not hide his feelings on the ball-beating by Rashidi Boucher and Marrodon Bend, who slammed centuries in a big total of 366 for three off 50 overs after Spartan won the toss.
In what was a truly one-sided match, Spartan triumphed by a massive 291 runs as BCL were bowled out for 75 in 30 overs. Yet, no one could blame the bubbly Best for the adjectives used and the hype he created during his reports on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation Sports Express. It was an onslaught. After all, it is rare to hear of totals in excess of 350 in the island’s top limited overs competition and Best stressed that he wanted to know if it was a record.
I soon recalled that Dale Richards had scored the only double-century in the tournament, now in its 40th year, and that would be an excellent guide for quick reference. And with great relief it was confirmed. It was in 2006 in the sixth round of the preliminaries that Richards made 202 not out for Carlton in what is indeed the highest ever total of 381 for three off 48 overs against Banks at Black Rock (now Desmond Haynes Oval). Carlton won by 156 runs.
Richards’ knock came off 145 balls and included 20 fours and four sixes. Ironically, another Carlton player, Desmond Haynes, the former Barbados captain and outstanding West Indies opener, who made 154 against Transport way back in 1977, had also recorded the previous highest individual score in the tournament. Richards, a former Barbados and West Indies player, and Vonrick Nurse, who made 92, featured in a first wicket partnership of 211 in 30 overs. That match is also remembered for a hat-trick by Roger Moore, the Carlton off-spinner, who took four for 15.
As far as big totals are concerned, also in 2006, YMPC amassed 355 for seven off 50 overs against Cable & Wireless (now LIME) in the fifth round when a record 612 runs were scored at Wildey as the home side made 257 all out in 39.3 overs. Boucher and Bend, however, must still feel special. In scoring 158, which came off 125 balls and included 19 fours and four sixes, Bend now holds the record for the second highest score in the competition, while Boucher’s 137 off 136 balls with 13 fours and three sixes was his second successive century. He made 109 against Police at Queen’s Park on June 22. The pair added 257 off 219 balls for the second wicket.
Significantly last Sunday as well when four hundreds were scored to lift the number for the 2014 Super Cup season to seven, Kraigg Brathwaite, the CounterPoint Wanderers opener, fresh from a relatively good Test series for West Indies against New Zealand, hit a record-equalling fifth century in the tournament. Brathwaite made 102 not out off 97 balls containing ten fours and one six as Wanderers beat school team Caribbean Alliance/Akobah Gardens Foundation by eight wickets at Church Hill. He has now joined three other players – former Spartan opener Philo Wallace, Romel Currency of Sagicor Life UWI and YMPC all-rounder Dwayne Smith as the batsmen with the most centuries in the championship. At the age of 21, Brathwaite is the youngest to hold the record.
Wallace, the former Barbados captain and West Indies player known for his attacking batting and who served Spartan with distinction for 15 years between 1989 and 2004 after making his local domestic debut for Combined Schools (now Guardian General Barbados Youth) in 1987, first set the record by slamming his centuries between 2000 and 2003. Currency, a Vincentian and Windward Islands player, who studied at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, hit his hundreds between 2007 and 2010. And Smith, a seasoned Barbados player with experience for West Indies as well in all versions of the game, made his first century in 2006 and his fifth last season.
Prior to last Sunday, Brathwaite scored two of his centuries for Barbados Youth in 2009 and 2010 and the others for Wanderers in 2012 and 2013. Next on the list of century-makers with four are the Empire pair of Ryan Hinds and Alcindo Holder, and Kenroy Williams of Brathwaite Construction/Republic Bank St Catherine. One of Williams’ centuries was scored for Combined Schools. Williams is among the century-makers this season, scoring 105 against LIME at Wildey in the first series.
There are also three batsmen with three centuries in Dale Richards (all for Carlton); Omar Phillips, the current St Catherine player who made two for UWI and the other for St Catherine and veteran Maple opener Pedro Agard. Like Williams, the 44-year-old Agard has also boasted of a century this season – 104 against BDFSP a Trents in the second round. The other centurion for 2014 is Larry Babb, who hit 117 for Police against Spartan.
The tournament (formerly the Barbados Fire Cup) was contested as a 40-over-a-side between 1975 and 2000. Cup matches were brought up to international standard from 2001 as they were contested over 50 overs a side. The Super Cup was launched in 2004.
So far this season, the batting generally has been very encouraging. In the opening round, six of the eight teams batting first scored over 250 and there was also a total of 248 for nine. While it is still early and the third round will not be played before August 10 with the tournament slated to end November 16, the performances by the batsmen are most heartening.
(Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) championship for over three decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Holder is also the host of the cricket Talk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights.)