Old Harbour were denied a third hold on the SDC T20 title by a brilliant run chase from defending champions Junction/Bull Savannah in yesterday’s grand final in St Ann.
Having lost the toss, Old Harbour posted an impressive 220 for three with opener Devoy Smith scoring a majestic unbeaten 116 runs. But in equally brilliant fashion the St Elizabeth champions responded with 221 for seven from precisely 19 overs on a batting paradise at the Naranda Bauxite Sports Club.
The game was predicted to be close between two of the most consistent teams in the history of the competition.
Prior to now Old Harbour were the only team to win back-to-back titles, achieved in 2011 and 2012. Junction had to match that record in order to retain their status as champions en route to securing their third title overall.
On a placid batting strip, Old Harbour perhaps would have fielded too if they had won the toss. However, Smith’s superb century knock off 65 balls and a blistering 21-ball 64 from international player Rovman Powell, laid the foundation for a fascinating contest.
At their turn to bat, Junction went immediately on the attack with top order batsmen Owane Holness (86) and Shane Powell (43) sharing in an 80-wicket stand for the second wicket. At 98 for three after 10 overs, the champs were within striking distance. But the departures of Powell and Holness gave Old Harbour the edge with five overs remaining as the asking rate crept upwards with Junction at 135 for four after 15 overs.
The game took a dramatic twist, though, when medium pacer Derron Royal, who had taken two wickets for 16 runs so far in the match, was called for an illegal bowling action by umpire Verdayne Smith. At that point veteran seamer Lascele Davis (3-36) and Rovman Powell (2-37) had finished their quota of four overs each.
With Royal, Old Harbour’s specialist bowler at the death, unable to bowl his two additional overs , Junction’s David Powell (69 not out) and Christopher Dyer (35) pounced with menace against the part-time bowling of Ronville Brown and Krischon Givans.
Both bowlers went for a combined 58 runs, as Junction scored at a mesmerizing rate to claim an unbelievable victory.