By Neto Baptiste
Wicketkeeper, batsman and captain of the senior men’s cricket team, Devon Thomas, said he was always confident the country would have triumphed in this year’s Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB) 50 overs Tournament played here over the past week.
Antigua and Barbuda defeated three-peat champions St Kitts by 40 runs on Saturday to lift the title for the first time in four years.
Thomas said there were no doubts by any of the players ahead of the match, despite having lost to their rivals in the preliminary round.
“It was a positive feeling because most of the guys fully understood what the coaches and even the manager wanted, so it wasn’t a situation of being nervous. It was just a normal day of cricket and we are home, so honestly I never felt nervous. The team looked very good, we came out early and warmed up and the vibes was very great,” he said.
“I was looking about 240 or 250 but we ended up getting about 40 more runs extra. I think that was added pressure there and 280 is the most we scored at All Saints and I think it was a good total on a big field,” he added.
Winning the toss and opting to bat, Antigua and Barbuda amassed 283 for nine in their 50 overs. Rahkeem Cornwall was chief amongst the batsmen, hitting a top score of 59 from 63 deliveries. He was assisted by Elroy Francis Jr who made 38, Thomas with 34, and Nino Henry with 32.
In their chase, St Kitts fell short at 243 for nine in their allotment of 50 overs. Their best effort came from Terrance Warde with 77 from 112 balls. He hit seven fours and one six in the process. Jacobs, with 48 and Akeem Saunders with 31, assisted in the failed efforts.
Thomas said his team’s 15 runs loss to St Kitts may have served as motivation. “The loss came at the right time to me. It came in the preliminary round and we had semifinals and so you don’t want to say you win all of your games in the preliminary round and then in the semifinals you have a loss,” he said.
Leg-spinner, Hayden Walsh Jr, copped both the top bowling awards and the Most Valuable Player accolade during the presentation. Walsh, who was recently named in the West Indies T20 and ODI squads, finished the tournament with the most wickets after claiming 14 scalps, and he also had the best bowling figures of five for 16 against Nevis. Thomas won the tournament’s scoring award after amassing 309 runs in six matches.