Middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood came within two runs to what would have been his fifth first-class hundred as the Jamaica Scorpions hold the upper hand over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes after day two of their Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League Regional Four-Day Championship match at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium yesterday.
At stumps, the Scorpions reached 260 for six replying to the Hurricanes first-innings score of 227.
Wicketkeeper Denis Smith is not out on 36 and with him is Derval Green on eight.
It was a day however that belonged to the right-hander, Blackwood, who batted with maturity against a probing Leewards attack led by off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall and seamer Sheeno Berridge.
Blackwood came to the crease with the Scorpions on 16 for one after opener Assad Fudadin got yet another failing score of just two runs.
The right-hander showed why he was once considered for the senior Windies team, as his responsible innings was mixed with patience and aggression at varying stages.
He shared in several useful partnerships, including two half-century stands, first with Paul Palmer, and then Oraine Williams.
He and Palmer took the Scorpions to lunch at 91 for two, with Blackwood on 35 and Palmer 15.
After the fall of Palmer leg before wicket (lbw) to Cornwall for 21, Blackwood added 39 runs with Nkrumah Bonner who himself went via the lbw route to Cornwall for 14.
Blackwood then found another useful partner in Williams as they batted to tea at 188 for 4 with Blackwood looking in good nick on 88 and Williams 14.
With a century looking imminent, Blackwood took the cautious approach as captain Jahmar Hamilton brought on his trump card seamer Berridge.
That move did the trick as Blackwood was deceived by a slower delivery when he had got to 98 and was adjudged lbw to leave the Scorpions on 202 for five.
Blackwood’s three-hour knock included 11 glorious fours, one of which was a spectacular chip and drive through extra cover off Cornwall, which sped to the boundary.
Williams and wicketkeeper Denis Smith took the Scorpions to the Hurricanes first-innings score of 227. However, the former went caught behind off pacer Archibald for 30.
Smith and Derval Green then saw through to the end without further loss as the Scorpions hold a 33-run lead with four wickets in hand.
Cornwall has so far taken three for 72 and Berridge two for 47 for the Hurricanes, who earlier added 12 runs to their overnight 215, with Terrence Ward being unbeaten on 65.