Scorpions skipper chides team for shock loss to Pride, but believes they can rebound

By Sanjay Myers
Senior staff reporter

Thursday, December 20, 2018

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JAMAICA Scorpions Captain Paul Palmer says the batting capitulation in the 41-run loss away to Barbados Pride in the West Indies four-day tournament was an embarrassing episode that his team is eager to rebound from.

The Scorpions dominated the first two days of the contest at Three Ws Oval inside the Cave Hill campus, replying to the Pride's first-innings 167 all out with 248.

Buoyed with an 81-run lead they dismissed the Pride for 187, leaving a victory target of 107 runs, albeit on a wearing pitch that was producing variable bounce and plenty grip for the spinners.

On the third day, the Scorpions made a hash of what appeared a modest target, suffering a stunning collapse from 52-3 to be bowled out for 65. Left-handed opener John Campbell's 19 was the highest score. West Indies Test slow left-arm orthodox bowler Jomel Warrican starred with a 12-wicket haul for the Pride.

“It is disappointing, but it's also embarrassing for us as players… to go out there and get bowled out for 65. It's embarrassing as a group… but it's the first game of the season and we just have to put it behind us as quickly as possible and bounce back,” Palmer told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“I think it was a lack of application from us because at one point we were 50-something for four and we lost six wickets for fewer than 20 runs. The wicket wasn't the best to bat on but we could have tried to apply ourselves some more and get the job done.

“It was spinning, it bounced, it kept low; it was doing all sorts. It was still spinning and had uneven bounce on the second day, but it just got worse as the game went on,” the 26-year-old skipper explained.

In the Scorpions' first innings, Campbell and fellow left-hander Palmer struck 78 and 67, respectively. But the total could have been bigger had the batsmen capitalised on the 107-run opening stand between Campbell and Chadwick Walton (21).

Palmer rued that missed opportunity, arguing that an extra 50 runs on their first-innings lead would have pushed the game beyond the Pride's reach.

“That [to get over 300 runs] was the aim because at one point we were 100 without loss, so it was disappointing we didn't get a bigger lead. That would have made it a lot more difficult [for the Pride] on a deteriorating pitch. If we had got a bigger lead it would have played into our hands better,” he said.

From a bowling perspective, Palmer believes there is room for improvement, despite twice dismissing Barbados Pride for under 200.

Ace left-arm finger spinner Nikita Miller did the bulk of the bowling and ended with 10 wickets in the match, while left-arm wrist spinner Dennis Bulli claimed five. Derval Green was Jamaica Scorpions' best pacer, grabbing 3-10 in the first innings before a knee injury prevented him from any further bowling. Jermaine Levy took a wicket in each innings, while fellow seamer Reynard Leveridge went wicketless.

“In terms of the bowling there is still work to do because apart from Derval Green none of our fast bowlers really got amongst the wickets.

“Nikita Miller will always do his thing. I think Dennis Bulli bowled well in patches — we think he can be a bit more consistent. I wouldn't just say 'hats off to the bowlers' because it was a bowler-friendly wicket. But just the same, we have to give credit where credit is due, and we did well to bowl them out for meagre totals,” Palmer said.

The Jamaica Scorpions captain insisted there is plenty of time to right the wrongs with them still having nine rounds of matches remaining this season.

“We should have started with a win; we played well enough to deserve a win. We were winning the sessions until that last one where everything fell apart.

“From here we just have to lift ourselves and try to bounce back. Losing the first game might push us to finish the season strongly because in [previous] seasons we started well and then withered away,” Palmer told the Observer.

Jamaica Scorpions (five points) and Trinidad and Tobago Red Force (4.4 points) — who have both played only one game each — occupy the respective fifth and last places in the six-team league standings. All other teams have played twice.

Defending four-time champions Guyana Jaguars lead the pack with 37 points, followed by the Pride (22.6), Leeward Islands Hurricanes (22.2) and Windward Islands Volcanoes (21.6).

The Scorpions next game is a day/night fixture against the Volcanoes at Sabina Park, starting January 4, 2019.

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