Spartan are the winners of the Barbados Cricket Association’s (BCA) Elite Division. The Queen’s Park-based club ended a decade-long drought on the final day of the season yesterday when they defeated Wildey by a massive 204 runs to capture the island’s most prestigious cricket title for the first time since 2010. On that occasion they shared the championship with the University of the West Indies.
The new champions entered the final series at the top of the table on 107 points which gave them a 15-point lead ahead of their two nearest challengers for the title – arch rivals Empire and Wildey. They were in joint second position on 92 points, but Spartan amassed 119 points to lift the trophy and pocket $20 000.
On the first day, Spartan were bowled out for 167 and at the end of the day, Wildey were 60 runs for the loss of two wickets and requiring 108 runs to take first innings lead. At that stage Wildey held the advantage, they had gained four vital bowling points while Spartan had not earned any batting points.
On Saturday (the second day of the game) a bizarre declaration by Wildey after losing two quick wickets while adding just one run to their score virtually handed Spartan the match on a platter. Wildey’s surprising declaration gave Spartan an overall first-innings lead of 106 runs.
The Parkites gleefully accepted their unexpected gift from Wildey and quickly raced to 148 in their second innings for the lost of eight wickets before they declared to give Wildey the task of scoring 255 runs for victory. By the close of play they were in shambles at 44 for the lost of eight wickets.
As a result of Wildey’s capitulation in their second innings only rain could have prevented Spartan from being crowned champions of the Elite Division. Early morning showers would have caused some anxiety among the Spartan team and their supporters. According to reports, the ground staff and officials of the club were at Queen’s Park just after dawn on Sunday to ensure the match would begin at its scheduled 12 o’clock start.
Their efforts were not in vain as umpires Michael Nurse and Kareem Taitt promptly called play at noon. Twenty-five minutes later Wildey were bowled out for 50.
“There is no greater feeling than winning the Elite Division, being crowned champions this year bodes well for the club. It was a team effort. I am new to captaincy and I received tremendous support from the senior members of the team. It was not easy, there were times during the season when the going was tough but we stuck to the task,” an elated captain Chad Williams said after the match.
The captain said winning the title was vital for the longevity of the club. According to Williams, Spartan which was founded in 1893, was lacking in financial resources and the $20 000 prize money would go a long way towards assisting them.
“It was really a big motivation for us to win the title. All of us were aware that the prize money would help the club, our coach Dave Marshall kept telling us we got to win trophies,” Williams added.
Spartan’s march toward the title began in the fifth series of the competition when they defeated Wanderers by an innings and 36 runs, to move into third position on 59 points behind joint leaders Empire and Wildey who were on 72 points.
They destroyed Empire by 253 runs in the sixth series, inflicted a nine-wicket defeat on St Catherine in the seventh series, while the match against the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme was drawn. Spartan collected 74 points in their last four matches.
Spartan, the third oldest club on the island, first won the title in 1899. Now one hundred and twenty years later they have won the championship for a record 21st time.
Empire placed second with 111 points. St Catherine who placed last with 40 points have been demoted to the First Division. Meanwhile, YMPC who won the First Division returns to the Elite Division after being demoted in 2011.
The final points standing of the Elite Division are: Spartan 119, Empire 111, Wildey 96, Wanderers 83, Carlton 80, Gladiola 75, UWI 70, Barbados Youth 59, Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme 57 and St Catherine 40.