It was another fantastic display by Christ Church Foundation School last week as they underlined their dominance of the BCA Under-15 Competition in recent seasons by sweeping to a third title while contesting the last four Finals.
Their victims were Queen’s College by ten wickets with a day to spare at the Wanderers ground, Dayrells Road. Scheduled for three days, the match was over by 3:30 p.m. on the second day.
It, therefore, gave all and sundry a chance to enjoy the next day, August 1 – Emancipation Day.
Significantly, this season was the first since 2010 that the Tournament had reverted to the old, traditional format of playing without a limitation on the number of overs (35) in the first innings.
The Under-15 Tournament has been in existence since the 1960s when it was known as the Ronald Tree Cup and played on a round robin basis with the team (s) earning the most points declared as champions.
But after Cable & Wireless (later known as LIME and FLOW) took over the sponsorship in 1986, it was contested on a zonal format with the finalists meeting at the Wildey ground. That sponsorship ended after the 2015 (LIME) Competition.
This was fourth title in eight Finals for Foundation. All of their victories in the Finals have been by big margins, and the others were all against The Lodge, and by an innings – in 2005 by an innings and 120 runs at Wildey; in 2016 by an innings and two runs at Desmond Haynes Oval (the match ended on the stroke of tea on Day 2) and in 2018 by an innings and 44 runs, again at Desmond Haynes Oval.
Apart from Combermere, who boast of a record nine titles since 1986 including a beaver-trick between 2012 and 2015, Foundation are now the only other team to capture three titles in four seasons, as well as contest four successive Finals. Combermere led them on first innings in the drawn 2017 Final at Dayrells Road.
Fittingly for Foundation, their two outstanding players for this season – captain and all-rounder Nathan Sealy and burly batsman Kamario Grant – featured significantly in last week’s showdown.
Sealy, a left-arm orthodox spinner, who bats right-handed, grabbed his eighth five-wicket haul for match figures of ten for 62 off 39.3 overs, and hit the match topscore of 58 as he ended a truly remarkable season with 61 wickets at a most miserly average of 5.74, plus 458 runs (ave: 65.43) including two centuries and two-half-centuries.
Last year Sealy took 37 wickets.
Grant, arguably one of the biggest blokes in the Tournament – in sharp contrast to several tiny players who featured in the Final – scored 54 en route to the highest overall aggregate of 666 runs including four centuries and two fifties, with five not outs, at an amazing average of 222.00.
Sealy and Grant, along with two other Barbadians – Joshua Morris of Coleridge & Parry and Rashad Worrell of St. Leonard’s – are now in England with the West Indies Under-15 squad on a tour sponsored by the Barmy Army.
Sealy is the co-captain with Andrew Rambarran of Trinidad & Tobago.
As far as the BCA Under-15 Final was concerned, after winning the toss and dismissing Queen’s College for 135 in 60.5 overs in the first innings – Sealy sent down 30 overs including 16 maidens and grabbed five for 43, while leg-spinner Isaiah Folkes picked up three for 39 (Folkes took 41 wickets last season) – Foundation closed the opening day on 65 for three off ten overs with Joshua Dorne on 23 and Grant on ten.
Queen’s College struck in the second over of the second day’s play when Dorne fell to Micaiah Simmons without adding to his overnight score before the destructive duo of Grant and Sealy took over.
The pair added 92 in exactly 18 overs for the fifth wicket to psychologically plunge Queen’s College into a state of depression and despair.
They fell within 16 runs of each other – first Grant, who faced 70 balls and struck four fours and one six in his 54 and then Sealy, who also received 70 balls and counted five fours in his knock of 58.
Once they were parted, effectively Foundation lost their last six wickets for 35 runs to be dismissed for 196 in 54 overs – a lead of 61. The innings ended 29 minutes before tea.
Off-spinner Preston Clarke took six for 47 off 16 overs after coming on as first change.
Queen’s College were bundled out for 61 off 18.3 overs in the second innings with only two batsmen – skipper Zion Brathwaite (15) and opener Simmons (12) reaching double-figures.
Sealy snatched five for 19 off 9.3 overs.
Foundation scored the required one run for victory off the very first ball.
The 14-year-old Sealy, in his third and final year, also had the honour of hitting the highest individual score of the season – 153 not out against St. George Secondary at Constant in the opening series when he also grabbed the best innings figures of 10 for 30 in the second innings. His other century was 103 off Harrison College at Crumpton Street in Series 5.
“I feel very good because Foundation went into the Tournament under pressure knowing that we were the defending champions. We wanted to retain the title and there was a little pressure,” Sealy said.
In relation to his personal success, Sealy remarked: “It was due to my confidence, hard work and my team encouraging me and backing me to play as well as I can.
“We are more of a bowling unit so when I batted, I knew I had a big role to play as well.”
A resident of Silver Hill in Christ Church, Sealy received his primary school education at Luther Thorne. He is a close friend of Jomel Warrican, the Empire, Barbados Pride, West Indies ‘A’ and Test left-arm spinner, who as his mentor, was present for the semi-final match against Coleridge & Parry at Briar Hall.
Grant’s highest score was an unbeaten 150 off St. George. His other tons were: 111 not out v Alleyne at Church Hill (Series 2); 111 not out v Ellerslie at Church Hill (Series 3) and 120 not out v Harrison College.
Apart from the Final, the other results for Foundation were:
At Constant: Beat St. George by an innings and 281 runs at Constant. Foundation 384-2 declared. St. George 57 all out and 46 all out.
At Church Hill: Beat Alleyne by an innings and three runs. Alleyne 113 all out and 71 all out. Foundation 187-4 declared.
At Church Hill: Beat Ellerslie by an innings and 67 runs. Ellerslie 43 all out and 74 all out. Foundation 184-4 declared.
At Cane Garden: Drawn. Lester Vaughan 125 all out and 70 all out. Foundation 170-8 declared, NB: Rain washed out play on the last day.
At Crumpton Street: No result. Foundation 326-5 b Harrison College.
At Briar Hall: (Semi-finals). Beat Coleridge & Parry by six wickets. Coleridge & Parry 74 all out and 164-5 declared. Foundation 117 all out and 122-4.
So congratulations to the Foundation team again as well as the management and coaching staff including Nhamo Winn, Denis Osbourne and Head of Physical Education, Seibert Straughn to whom I extend condolences on the passing of his mother.
And praise must also be showered on the Barbados Under-19 team for winning the rain-hit regional one-day Tournament in St. Vincent on the heels of the national Under-17 side retaining their title in Trinidad & Tobago.
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-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org).
Email: [email protected]