Montserrat cricket team falls to Antigua and loses several players to injury

Photo courtesy Laurell Allen / Montserrat Cricket Association
The Montserrat cricket team huddles before the third and final day of its match against Antigua & Barbuda in St. Kitts.

The Montserrat cricket team suffered a 222-run loss to Antigua & Barbuda on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at Warner Park in St. Kitts in the Leeward Islands Tournament. It was a painful defeat – literally – for Montserrat, which was forced to concede at 151 for 7 because its remaining three batsmen were either injured or ill.

Montserrat, which was coming off a thrilling 45-run victory in Nevis, must now scramble to assemble a healthy lineup for the finale Monday against St. Kitts at Warner Park.

The Montserrat injury report after Saturday’s loss was troubling. Three key players – captain Zawandi White (knee), fast bowler Damion Williams (ankle) and top-order batsman Kasjuan Sullivan (torn hamstring) – will miss the rest of the tournament. Meanwhile, all-rounders Shernyl Burns and Deno Baker are recovering from the flu, putting their availability Monday in question.

Montserrat came into the match with high hopes following the win in Nevis. However, facing an experienced and talented Antigua team on one day’s rest eventually took a toll.


Montserrat won the toss and elected to field. The Emerald Boys bowled out Antigua for 214 behind four wickets from Burns, three from Jemol Williams and two from Damion Williams. At one point, Antigua was 133 for 7.

“We had Antigua on the back foot,” Montserrat coach Parmanand Jailall says. “We dropped some catches. We had about seven chances. I believe if we took those catches we could have bowled them out for about 120.”

Former West Indies player Hayden Walsh Jr. – batting eighth in the lineup – turned the match into a virtual T20 affair, smacking 70 runs in 74 balls to push Antigua past 200.

Montserrat then struggled at the crease but managed to eke out 154, thanks to a 26-run partnership for the final wicket between Baker and Damion Williams.

With a healthy 60-run lead, Antigua turned the screw in the second innings and posted 319 for 7 declared. Three batsmen – Tyrone Williams Jr., Essan Warner and Karima Gore – scored half centuries. It became a game of attrition for Montserrat as injuries piled up. Opening pacemen Damion Williams and Jemuel Cabey bowled only a combined 7 overs in the second innings, leaving the onus on the supporting cast.

The Antigua sharks smelled blood and went after the tiring Montserrat bowlers. The gulf between the two teams was reflected on the scorecard. Though both teams lost 17 wickets in the match, Antigua scored 533 runs to Montserrat’s 311 and batted for 9 hours and 5 minutes to Montserrat’s 5 hours 41 minutes.

Baker – the Man of the Match against Nevis with 9 total wickets – was unable to play in the second innings vs. Antigua. Sullivan retired hurt on 6 runs after batting for 17 minutes.

“If not for the injuries and illness I believe we would have stayed out there batting much longer,” Jailall says. “I’m still proud of these guys.”

With Montserrat chasing 380 to win on the final day, it was clear that victory was out of the question and a draw was more realistic. After Montserrat started 36 for 3, middle-order batsman Shawn Tuitt took it to the Antigua bowlers, scoring 69 runs off 83 balls, including 7 fours and 3 sixes. He shared a 90-run partnership with Stevel Rodney.

Tuitt, who also claimed four wickets and was clearly Montserrat’s most valuable player in this match, lost his wicket shortly after lunch when he was caught in the slips. Three wickets quickly followed, the last being the dismissal of Nehemiah Younge, securing Antigua’s victory. Rodney was left stranded on 46.

Photo source: Leewards Cricket
Stevel Rodney was left stranded after a battling 46 runs in 128 minutes.

“When Nehemiah came out to bat he told me he’s the last [batsman] left,” says Rodney, who batted for 128 minutes. “I just wanted to fight as hard as I can, knowing those guys were injured. I was really hoping to bat out the rest of the day.”

Rodney was bowled by Walsh Jr. in the first innings but held his own against the veteran leg-spinner in the second. “Facing a quality bowler, there’s a bit of nerves,” says Rodney, who changed his batting stance in the second innings. “I batted more in the center [guard] position. Also, I was able to spot when his googly is coming.”

There was some initial confusion after the match, with some media members believing it had ended in a draw. Antigua’s victory was later confirmed.


Jailall, Montserrat’s first-year coach, was asked if any of the three ailing remaining batsmen – Baker, Sullivan and Damion Williams – wanted to try to bat. “When we got the report from the physio, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk of making the injuries worse,” the coach said.

Jailall conceded that the short five weeks of preparation for the tournament likely caught up with his squad, notably with the injuries but also in the mental aspect of the game. Also, the Antigua cricket system is structured and disciplined. At least four players in the lineup have fathers who also played for Antigua.

“I still admire the fight in our guys,” says Jailall, an officer with the Royal Montserrat Police Service. “We took Antigua to Day 3. Antigua’s last match against Anguilla ended in two days.”

Now, with three players out and two more ailing with the flu, Jailall has the tough task of fielding a competitive team against a talented St. Kitts squad. A substitute player was flown in from Montserrat on Saturday, and as a former Montserrat player, Jailall says he will be ready in an emergency.

“As a player-coach, if I have to take the field, I will do so,” he says.







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