With then Tropical Storm Maria churning in the Atlantic, many wondered what impact this would have on the opening weekend of the very first installment of the Saint Lucia Premier League T20. The teams had been training for months, and went to Soufriere all confident of dazzling what was set to be some massive crowds.
SRDF Soufriere Pitons, kicked things off on Friday (September 15) night against neighbours Choiseul Craft Masters. Craft Masters batted first and thanks to a skillful 48 from Christian Charlery, posted a decent score of 141 all out. Valange St Ange also contributed well with 18. For the Soufriere Pitons, Nick Elibox was excellent with figures of 3-25. In reply, the Pitons stumbled, at one point being limited to 52-6. Sanjay Pamphile came in and kept the game alive with a destructive 49 from 23 balls, and came close to snatching an improbable victory for his team. The Choiseul team remained resolute however, dismissing Soufriere for 129 in 19.1 overs, a victory by 12 runs; Travis Gifford capturing 3-15 with the ball. The lively crowd was treated to an exciting opening game, which set the tone for the games to follow.
Photos by Rae Anthony, Sports Avis
In Saturday’s first match, the Gros Islet Knights were destroyed by the Avatar City Blasters. Batting first, Gros Islet was restricted to 72/9 from their 20 overs, thanks to very disciplined bowling from the City Blasters. Johnel Eugene was the pick of the bowlers with 2-11. In reply, the City Blasters made a mockery of the total, blasting to 73/1 in just 6.5 overs to win by 9 wickets. Tarryk Gabriel was brilliant with 42 from 26 balls.
In the second game, Garey Mathurin’s Micoud Trailblazers came up against Johnson Charles’ Nagico South Castries Lions. Micoud batted first and posted a respectable total of 137/9 from their allotted 20 overs, thanks in part to 40 from 37 balls by Richard Peter. Kester Charlemagne picked up 3-23. In reply, Nagico never got going, with Dwight Thomas providing the only meaningful resistance with a gritty 41 from 49 balls. Micoud held their nerve in a tight finish, bowling out the Lions for 130 in 17.4 overs. HayzelCharlery grabbed 4-29, leading his team to a hard fought 7 run victory.
After losses on the first two days, the SRDF Soufriere Pitons and the Nagico South Castries faced off for the first match on Sunday, each hoping to get their first win of the tournament. Soufriere batted first in this crunch match and posted 166/7 from their 20 overs, representing the highest score in the SPL at the time. Nick Elibox was effective for Soufriere, scoring 61 off 40 balls. For the Lions, Xavier Gabriel grabbed 3-27. In reply, figures of 4-31 by fast bowler Quint Mesmain made it impossible for the Lions, as they were only able to muster 137/9 from 20 overs. Johnson Charles top scored with 32 from 24 balls, but his efforts were not enough to prevent a 29 run victory for Soufriere.
In the final match of the weekend, the Choiseul Craft Masters came up against the Micoud Trailblazers, with both teams having won their opening games, albeit narrowly. With weather conditions deteriorating by the hour, the match was reduced to 18 overs aside. Craft Masters won the toss and elected to bat and posted a formidable total of 194/5 from 18 overs, thanks to a classy 76 from 51 balls by Junior Henry and a brutal 47 off 20 balls by Murlan Sammy. GareyMathurin was economical with 2-30. The weather interrupted again just after the half, and the score was revised to 160 to win from 14 overs. Trailblazers got off to a decent start, but were soon strangled by some smart bowling from the Craft Masters. Travis Gifford grabbed 2-15 as the Trailblazers limped to 93/7, a devastating 66 runs win for the team from Choiseul, as they booked their place in the semifinals with one group game to go.
The action continued last weekend in Vieux Fort with six games on the schedule after games in Mabouya Valley were postponed. The games were packed with non-stop action with Avatar City Blasters and Choiseul Craftmasters continuing their winning ways whilst Micoud Trailblazers and Mabouya Valley Renegades secured the other two spots.
The big weekend now moves to Soufriere at the Mini-Stadium as the teams set to battle out the semi-finals and finals (including a third place playoff). The likes of Daren Sammy, Garey Mathurin, Craig Emmanuel andAudy Alexander will all be on show.