Barbadian Shamarh Brooks made his first-class debut as a teenager eight years ago against Guyana in Georgetown.
He has always had the ability but had largely been a frequent disappointment. But all that changed last year with back-to-back centuries that suggested he was a late bloomer finally coming of age.
Today the 27-year-old notched up his third first-class century as he led the Barbados Pride to 247 for four against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force on the first day of their second round WICB Professional Cricket League first-class match at Kensington Oval.
Brooks reached his century in 262 minutes off 189 balls with ten fours and one six. His half-century came in 142 minutes off 111 balls with six fours. The only thing missing was a larger audience to see a quality innings from the attractive right-handed batsman.
Captain Kraigg Brathwaite won the toss and opened the innings with Kyle Corbin. However the century-maker in the opening game of the 2015 campaign against Jamaica Scorpions did not stay in the middle very long.
He has developed a habit of late of poking at deliveries outside his off-stump that he could well leave alone. This would prove his downfall in the fifth over of the game bowled by his West Indies colleague, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
He pushed tentatively at a full delivery that he could left alone and edged a catch through to wicketkeeper Steven Katwaroo with his score on five to make it 7 for 1.
West Indies batsman Shai Hope filled the breach and he and Corbin took the score past the 50 mark with few alarms. However the introduction of left-arm spinner Kavesh Kantasingh would give the visitors their second scalp of the innings.
In the 20th over and with the total on 56 Hope was well caught at forward short-leg by Kjorn Ottley off Kantasingh for 18.
Brooks replaced Hope and looked assured from the outset. They batted to the lunch break without further loss with Corbin on 35 and Brooks on 14 with the Red Force managing only 27 overs in the period.
Soon after the resumption Barbados Pride would lose the wicket of Corbin. In the 32nd over bowled by leg-spinner Imran Khan, Corbin got a nick to a delivery and Katwaroo did the rest to send him back to the pavilion for 46, compiled in just over two hours where he faced 96 balls and struck seven boundaries.
His departure brought the elegant Roston Chase to the crease and this marked the best batting of the day for the home side from the two right-handers. Chase, tall and sweet on the drive, played a number of classy shots while showing a compact defence to both pace and spin.
At the other end Brooks was also strong on the drive and equally efficient on the pull whenever the bowlers dropped their lengths too short.
They added 123 runs for the partnership and Chase looked good for a bigger score when with the score on 214 in the 78th over, a misjudgment saw him being caught at long-on by Yannic Cariah off Khan for 59. Chase batted for 168 minutes, received 156 balls and struck eight fours during his innings.
Shane Dowrich, looking for a substantial knock in this match, joined Brooks and he was still there at the close on 15 having batted just shy of an hour.
Khan has so far been the most successful bowler with 2 for 62.
Barbados Pride 1st innings
*K. Brathwaite c wk Katwaroo b Gabriel 5
K. Corbin c wk Katwaroo b Khan 46
S. Hope c K. Ottley b Kantasingh 18
S. Brooks not out 102
R. Chase c Cariah b Khan 59
+S. Dowrich not out 15
Extras (w2) 2
TOTAL (4 wks, 90 overs) 247
Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Brathwaite, 4.3 ov), 2-56 (Hope, 19.1), 3-91 (Corbin, 32), 4-214 (Chase, 77.5).
To bat: K. Stoute, A. Nurse, K. Roach, J. Warrican, M. Cummins.
Bowling: Gabriel 15-3-36-1 (w2), Emrit 15-6-36-0, Lewis 2-0-12-0, Kantasingh 22-5-72-1, Deonarine 11-2-22-0, Khan 21-3-62-2, Cariah 4-0-7-0.
Trinidad & Tobago Red Force –– Rayad Emrit (captain), Evin Lewis, Kjorn Ottley, Kyle Hope, Yannic Cariah, Narsingh Deonarine, Yannic Ottley, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Kavesh Kantasingh, Shannon Gabriel.