WHEN the match between the TT Red Force and the Leeward Islands Hurricanes bowled off yesterday, Montcin Hodge was at the wicket and when play ended he was still there. The right-handed opener ended on an unbeaten 112 to put the Hurricanes in a strong position against the Red Force in the Cricket West Indies Regional Four-Day Tournament.
The Hurricanes closed the day on 291 for six in the first innings, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba. It was the third first class century scored by Hodge in his 68th match. Hodge would have been glad to convert his 50 into a century, as his conversion rate has not been the best over his career. The Anguillan scores half centuries fairly regularly having cracked 23 fifties during his career. His knock yesterday lasted 278 deliveries and included 14 fours and one six.
The Hurricanes were not always in a commanding position, as two wickets in two balls from fast bowler Shannon Gabriel left the match evenly poised at 168/5 during the second session. Hurricanes were cruising at 168/3 with Hodge and Akeem Saunders at the crease. Saunders played with aggression throughout his innings which eventually led to his demise. Gabriel grabbed his first wicket in the over when Saunders struck a delivery to Jason Mohammed at short mid wicket who took a sharp catch moving to his right. Saunders scored 41 off 66 balls with five fours and one six. It was a brief stay for Jahmar Hamilton, as he was out first ball when Gabriel trapped him leg before to give the Windies pacer another wicket.
The Red Force were now back in the contest, but Rahkeem Cornwall joined Hodge adding 101 runs for the sixth wicket. Cornwall dominated the partnership cracking 65 off 84 deliveries with 10 fours and one six. After progressing to 186/5 at tea, the Hurricanes batted slowly after the interval before Cornwall punished left-arm fast bowler Daniel St Clair. Cornwall struck St Clair for three fours in one over taking Hurricanes past 200.
Hodge was almost caught at short leg on 79, but leg spinner Imran Khan who bowled 35 overs on the day, was left frustrated as the ball fell just short of the fielder. Hodge regained his confidence as he struck both Khan and Charles for four through the covers.
Hodge got another lifeline when he was 90, but Kyle Hope could not take a difficult chance at first slip. Cornwall continued to play his shots bringing up his 50 when he swatted Khan for a flat six over long off.
Hodge moved to 99 when he pulled Khan for four down to square leg, before bringing up his century with two runs on the off side as the partnership approached 100. The stand between Cornwall and Hodge was finally broken when the former was well caught by Amir Jangoo at first slip off Gabriel. Terance Warde joined Hodge and the pair took the Hurricanes to 291/6 at the close.
Gabriel ended with 3/41 in 16 overs and Khan snatched 2/100 in 35 overs. Day two will bowl off at 10 am today.
TT Red Force vs Leeward Islands Hurricanes
Hurricanes 1st inns
M Hodge not out*112
K Powell*b D St Clair*6
K Carty c&b I Khan*25
D Thomas c K Hope b I Khan*11
A Saunders c J Mohammed b S Gabriel*41
J Hamilton+ lbw b S Gabriel*0
R Cornwall c A Jangoo b S Gabriel*65
T Warde not out*5
Still to Bat: A Joseph, N Bolan, J Louis,
EXTRAS (B10, LB15, W1)*26
Total for six wickets*291
BOWLING: Gabriel 16-7-41-3, St Clair 16-3-50-1, Charles 16-1-54-0, Khan 35-7-100-2, Cariah 7-1-21-0
Fall of Wickets: 17, 61, 111, 168, 168, 269