It is always wonderful when a schoolboy scores a century in the top local domestic one-day competition. And you must take note, especially if the player is touted as one for the future.
All-rounder Nicholas Kirton, the captain of Nicholls Baking Combermere, scored 107 in a three-wicket win over Carlton at Waterford ‘A’ in the opening round of the BCA Super Cup Championship last Saturday.
From all reports, it was a very disciplined knock by the national Under-19 team left-hander, who also bowls off-spin. He faced 141 balls and struck only two boundaries as Combermere overhauled a target of 253 with 2.1 overs remaining.
Carlton were bowled out for 252 in 49.5 overs with Kirton among the wickets as well, picking up two for 33.
Kirton joins the likes of Kenroy Williams, Jonathan Carter, Nicholas Carter, Kyle Corbin, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shane Parris, Akeem Springer and Carlos Maynard as schoolboys scoring centuries in the tournament, which has been in existence for more than four decades.
Brathwaite, now the Barbados first-class captain and West Indies Test opener, stands out as the youngest ever to hit a century. He was only 16 years, 160 days, when he made 101 not out for Guardian General Barbados Youth (formerly called Combined Schools) against Wanderers at the Lester Vaughan ground, Cane Garden in the opening round of matches in 2009 (May 10).
That innings included seven fours and one six off 139 balls in a total of 254 for nine off 50 overs. Barbados Youth won by 68 runs.
The previous record for the youngest player to score a century in the Championship had been held by Jonathan Carter, who was 16 years, 259 days when he made an unbeaten 133 for Combined Schools against St. Catherine at Lodge ‘A’, Society in 2004.
Carter received 146 balls and hit 11 fours and three sixes as the Schools agonisingly lost by one run, ending on 254 for seven off 49 overs, replying to 255 for six off 50 overs.
As it turned out, there was a protest from the Schools, who “claimed” victory. They argued that the umpires had erred in calculating the overs they should have faced. The match was replayed a month later at Cane Garden and St. Catherine won by five wickets.
Brathwaite scored another century (105) as well for Barbados Youth against Carlton at Cane Garden in 2010. He also holds the record for the most centuries (seven) in the Championship with five of them for Wanderers.
Brathwaite and Jonathan Carter apart, following is the list of other century-makers for school teams: Williams – 113 (Barbados Youth) v Police at Weymouth (2002); Nicholas Carter – 117 (Barbados Youth) v Spartan at Cane Garden (2005); Corbin 109 not out (Barbados Youth) v Police at Weymouth (2007); Parris – 139 not out (Barbados Youth) v Carlton at Cane Garden (2011); Springer – 115 (Barbados Youth) v Maple at Cane Garden (2011); Maynard – 100 not out (Foundation) v Wildey at Church Hill (2015).
There was one other century last Saturday. And it would have brought back fond memories for Akeem Springer, who scored 101 for Massy Stores Spartan against Barbados Youth who were demolished by 143 runs at Cane Garden.
As far as the first round of the Super Cup was concerned, three bowlers managed five-wicket hauls.
Leg-spinner Nikolai Charles grabbed six for 29 for CounterPoint Wanderers against newcomers Barbados Fire Service at Passage Road with Wanderers winning by five wickets.
Left-arm spinner Linton Buchanan of title-holders Sagicor Life UWI took five for 20, also in a winning cause by seven wickets over Gladiola (formerly LIME) at Deighton Griffith, Kingsland.
And another left-arm spinner, Nkosi Ross, snatched five for 41 to spur YMPC to an exciting seven-run victory against Brathwaite Construction St. Catherine at Bayfield.
There is still a lot of talk, however, about the match at the SJPP ground, Pine/Wildey, which produced over 680 runs as ICBL Empire defeated Massy United Insurance Wildey by one wicket. Or is it more about the bizarre bowling of left-arm medium-pacer Dakari Louis, who sent down 19 wides in a 17-ball over?
Chasing 342 to win, Empire were 311 for nine after 46 overs. It came down to 25 runs off three overs and then came Louis’ disastrous over before the target was reached with nine balls to spare.
Someone sent me a video of the over with the words: “I have NEVER seen this in any type of cricket”.
Whether operating from over or around the wicket, poor Louis just sprayed the ball, mainly down the leg-side. What a sight it was!
And it was the second time in consecutive seasons in the same tournament that Wildey had scored over 300 runs and lost. Well, effectively in successive matches, as it was their last game (Round 9) of 2015 that they made 320 all out off 50 overs against Foundation at Church Hill and the school side responded with 323 for seven off 49.2 overs.
Strange things do happen but the “wides” over as well as a team twice scoring over 300 runs in succession and losing must be records.
Inevitably, questions were raised about the highest total ever scored in the Championship. That honour goes to Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) who amassed 416 for eight off 50 overs against the Barbados Cricket League (BCL) in a 242-run win at Paragon last season in the second round.
It was a haunting experience for the BCL, who were the only team without a win for the season. They were also demoted from the First division Championship and have now withdrawn from the 2016 BCA competitions.
Once one of the most competitive teams in the BCA, the history of the BCL must be told.
For the moment, however, let’s hope that there will be more telling performances from schoolboys.
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 three-and-a-half 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. Email:Keithfholder@gmail.com.