Harpy Eagles eye big victory against Barbados Pride as Four-Day resumes
Long-time rivals in Regional First-Class cricket, Barbados and Guyana, will meet on Wednesday as the Four-Day season resumes with lots of attention on this key fixture.
With just three rounds remaining, it is a matter of do-or-die for the Harpy Eagles, as ideally, they need to win all of their remaining matches to have a chance of regaining the title, and a sixth in seven seasons.
It is a tall order, but a big victory over Pride will do a world of good for those ambitions.
On the other hand, another victory for the unbeaten Pride, who are also the defending champions, would mean one hand on the trophy.
The Bajans lead the points standing with 42, while Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, who are also unbeaten, have 38.6, followed by Leeward Hurricanes (24.6 points), Harpy Eagles (21.4 points), Windward Volcanoes (10.8 points), and Jamaica Scorpions (8.8 points).
In the previous two meetings, back in the curtailed 2020 season, Pride, for the first time since the revamped First-Class season started in 2014, defeated Harpy Eagles in both home and away fixtures.
Chances for a third consecutive juggernaut are high as they have named several players with international experience in their squad, led by Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, and Jomel Warrican.
The Eagles’ batting has continued to be a sore point this and the previous season, and they enter this match off an innings and 57-run defeat by Hurricanes in Round Two.
But some promising signs were shown in the practice match prior to departure, with Tagenarine Chanderpaul compiling 163, and Anthony Bramble, Tevin Imlach and Vishaul Singh getting fifties.
With Ronsford Beaton and Antony Adams being confirmed as travelling reserves for this match, it potentially means a debut for pacer Demetri Cameron, while Akshaya Persaud and Kevin Sinclair sit on the bench.
While the Eagles need wins, they also need vital fast-bowling points, and the trio of Keemo Paul, Nial Smith and Cameron will be key.
Head Coach Esuan Crandon is calling on the young players to step up and make the most of their opportunities.
Eagles’ other matches are against Jamaica Scorpions from May 25-28 at Diego Martin and Trinidad and Tobago Red Force from June 1-4 at the Oval.
Outside of team glory, individual performances in these matches will count towards selection to the West Indies Test team for the upcoming visit by Bangladesh in June.
Guyana Harpy Eagles squad: Leon Johnson (Captain), Keemo Paul (Vice-Captain), Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Tevin Imlach, Vishaul Singh, Akshaya Persaud, Anthony Bramble, Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie, Nial Smith, Demetri Cameron, Antony Adams, Kevin Sinclair and Ronsford Beaton.
Management staff: Albert Smith (Manager), Esuan Crandon (Head Coach), Ryan Hercules (Assistant Coach), Angelica Holder (Physiotherapist), Keshava Ramphal (Physiotherapist).
Barbados Pride squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Camarie Boyce, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (vice-captain/wk), Justin Greaves, Keon Harding, Chaim Holder, Shai Hope, Akeem Jordan, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, Ramson Simmonds, Jomel Warrican.
Management staff: Vasbert Drakes (Head Coach), Ryan Hinds (Assistant Coach), Wendell Coppin (Manager), Dr Jacqueline King (Physiotherapist), Jamar Layne, Alexander Forde (Strength and Conditioning coach).