Much will be at stake when Jamaica Scorpions play away to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua in the sixth round of the WICB First-Class Championship, starting today.Campaigning at different ends of the points table, the Scorpions, on 53 points, will be looking to move a step closer to the top two, Guyana Jaguars and Barbados Pride.The Jaguars, on 85 points, lead the championship, while the Pride are second on 63.The Leewards, in the meanwhile, have lost all five fixtures to date and are lurking at the bottom on 13 points. The Windward Islands Volcanoes are fifth on 29 points, with the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force fourth on 37.PRODUCING BETTER RESULTS”If we want to make a run for the title, we have to start producing better results, starting with the Leewards,” stated Jamaica captain Paul Palmer Jr.”They are down, and we need to keep them down by not only winning, but getting as much bonus points as possible.”With a three-win, two-loss record, the Scorpions will be hoping that the addition of batsmen Jermaine Blackwood, Kirk Edwards and Shacaya Thomas will add much strength to their batting, which has struggled all season.Blackwood missed the team’s first five matches due to West Indies duties, Edwards is making a return after missing their fifth round due to injury, while Thomas has been included for the first time this season.”We have strengthened our batting with the addition of (Jermaine) Blackwood and the return of Kirk (Edwards), and we’re looking for better totals,” said Palmer Jr.”This is in addition to our bowling unit, which we will be looking to for continued good showings.”The team’s bowling will be led by West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell and sidelined spinner Nikita Miller.As for the Hurricanes, who will be captained for the first time by Jamaica’s Nkrumah Bonner, they are hoping that this change, as well as an extended training camp, will make them stronger.”Jamaica is a good team, but we are playing at home and hope to use this to our advantage,” said Bonner.”We have players with talent, but have been struggling with the basics, and if we can correct that, we should be very competitive.”In addition to Bonner, their leading run-getter, the Leewards are expected to bank on discarded West Indies pacer Gavin Tonge, former captain and wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton, as well as promising young batsman Orlando Peters.
(1) AWESOME DESTINY (2) SUPERTRONICS/MAN IN BLUE (3) BIG GEORGE (4) SUB STRUCTURE (5) BATTLE SONG/CLEARLY OURS (6) GOLDEN GLORY BIGGEORGE TIPPED TO WIN BIG GEORGE, with four-time champion Omar Walker riding for DaCosta, has won two of his last three races and is tipped to repeat in the third race over the straight for four-year-olds and up. He represents the in-form horse in a small field of six, and despite the presence of the recent course winner ANOTHER BULLET and lightly weighted COME DANCE WITH ME. BIG GEORGE, however, has most appeal with only 53.0kg. Having dropped two classes to contest the fourth race (claiming $180,000) over 1000 metres round, SUB STRUCTURE, with Nelson aboard, should score an overdue win at the expense of the fleet-footed CLASSICAL TRAIN in the field of 12. The last two races in the first SUPER-6 should be won by BATTLE SONG (loves the straight) under in-form Aaron Chatrie and GOLDEN GLORY (Odean Edwards up) to beat his improving stable-companion CLASSY AVIATOR (Chatrie up) in the sixth race over 1400 metres for maiden three-year-olds. FIRST SUPER-6 FANCIES The Pick-9 had no takers at Caymanas Park last Saturday, and the carry-over to tomorrow’s meet stands at $1.2 million. Both Super-6s were caught by punters and start anew with guaranteed minimums of $750,000. The first Super-6 is from race one to six; the late Super-6 from five to 10. We look at the first Super-6, which commences with a restricted allowance race over 1500 metres, confined to native and imported three-year-olds, to be contested by seven starters. The ones expected to figure seriously are recent winner WILL IN CHARGE under leading jockey Dane Nelson; the American filly AWESOME DESTINY with champion jockey Shane Ellis riding for trainer Gary Subratie, and MY COMPANION, who will now have the services of 3.0kg claiming apprentice Odean Edwards after flopping behind ORPHEUS in the Sir Howard Stakes over 1200 metres last Saturday. AWESOME DESTINY was all the rage (3-5 favourite) on her debut over 1200 metres some weeks ago but could only manage third, beaten three lengths by CRUISING MOTION. Now better for the experience and the longer trip to her liking, AWESOME DESTINY is expected to recoup losses despite the presence of the Robert Pearson-trained native-bred colt WILL IN CHARGE, who looked improved when scoring over a mile in the good time of 1:40.3. AWESOME DESTINY should chase the expected leader STUNNER before going through approaching the home turn and holding WILL IN CHARGE at bay. SUPERTRONICS, to be ridden by Robert Halledeen for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, went down fighting against the speedy YOGA recently and gets a glorious chance to go one better in the second race, a 4-y-o-and-up restricted allowance over 1100 metres (non-winners of two) in which eight will run. SUPERTRONICS has been knocking loudly at the door in recent weeks and should now win from MAN IN BLUE and BIMINI.