THE VALLEY, Anguilla - Winston Reid found a new method that worked wonders here yesterday.
The experienced left-arm spinner made fools out of Leeward Islands batsmen en route to a career-best haul on the opening day of the second round Busta Cup match.
In an outstanding display of subtle variation, the 36-year-old took eight for 77 from 24.2 overs in which he bemused the Leewards batsmen whose irresponsible approach left a lot to be desired.
By the time he was finished, the joint defending champions had wasted their encouraging opening stand of 61 and were all out for 186, a total Barbados would have been satisfied with after Roland Holder won the toss.
Their position was strengthened at the close thanks to an unbroken partnership of 76 off 26 overs between Adrian Griffith, 32 not out, and Sherwin Campbell, whose unbeaten 40 was compiled with an assurance he has lacked for most of the last year.
The Ronald Webster Park pitch, typically glossy and firm, offered generous bounce in the early stages, but neither Pedro Collins nor Patterson Thompson utilised it effectively in the 12 overs they shared.
It was left to Reid, who later confessed he was trying something unusual.
``There was some turn and bounce and I had to bowl in a style that I don't like,'' he told The SUN On Saturday.
``I had to toss the ball a lot and the batsmen were not patient. Although the wicket was doing something they should have been a bit more patient.''
Reid's figures bettered his previous best haul of six for 73 against the Windward Islands in St. Vincent four years ago, but he does not rate it as his most impressive performance.
``These were my best figures, but I thought I bowled a lot of bad balls,'' he added, while mentioning that his five wickets against the Leewards in Barbados last year gave him more satisfaction.
Yesterday, he was again assisted by flawless wicket-keeping from Courtney Browne, who held a catch and effected three stumpings.
The Leewards would have been anticipating a bigger total when their inexperienced openers Alex Adams and Wilden Cornwall spent the first 80 minutes in the middle with few problems.
Cornwall, the more aggressive, made 38 and Adams, scorer of a record 308 in the Leeward Islands tournament last season, hit 32 before Reid broke the stand with a return catch on the second attempt that accounted for Cornwall.
Adams, a hometown boy, was beginning to play with more confidence when he pushed forward to Reid and was caught at forward short-leg.
It was an even contest at lunch, taken at 87 for two, but after the break the home team suddenly lost focus and gifted the wickets to a succession of ill-advised strokes.
Seven wickets went by for 65 before commonsense returned to the Leewards' approach in a last wicket partnership of 31 between captain Ken Benjamin and Whitmore Quinn, the latter enjoying the pleasure of lifting Reid over his head for six.
The only middle-order batsman who buckled down to some extent was No. 4 Sylvester Joseph. He played well for 31 before he missed a cross-batted swing and was stumped off leg-spinner Dave Marshall, who supported Reid with the other two wickets off 18 consecutive overs.
Runako Morton swept Reid for successive boundaries with the last two deliveries before lunch, but in trying to repeat the shot, he was bowled off his pad nine minutes after the break.
In a jiffy, Dave Joseph, feeling a bit under the weather, provided Reid with a simple return catch.
Twenty-five runs were added between Sylvester Joseph and Earl Waldron before recklessness followed.
Waldron ran down the pitch, lifted his head and tried to hoist Reid over mid-wicket. He missed badly and did not even bother to await confirmation that he was stumped.
Carl Tuckett was lbw on the back foot to Marshall and young wicket-keeper Jason Williams was out in similar fashion to Waldron to allow Browne to bring off his eighth stumping off the tournament.
When Anthony Lake snicked an attempted cut into the gloves of Browne, the Leewards were 155 for nine and Barbados seemed likely to be batting before tea.
Instead Benjamin and Quinn played intelligently and held up Barbados for 40 minutes before Marshall took a good catch running around from mid-wicket.
Day 2: Campbell creams 'em
THE VALLEY, Anguilla - Sherwin Campbell rediscovered the meaning of batting with a truly magnificent century here yesterday.
His unbeaten 169, the fruit of immense powers of concentration, solid defence and measured aggression, put Barbados in an impregnable position in their second round Busta Cup match against the Leeward Islands.
When Campbell reached his 14th first-class hundred in the middle of a sunny, windy day at the Ronald Webster Park, it was a big relief to the little 28-year-old opening batsman whose last first-class century was in 1997.
By the time stumps were drawn, Barbados, who started Day 2 on 76 without loss, had reached 394 for five.
With Barbados' lead at 206, Leewards, the joint defending champions, face an uphill task over the next two days of trying to avoid a second successive defeat.
Barbados' cause was also helped by captain Roland Holder's commanding 72 off 70 balls, Courtney Browne's cameo knock of 43 from 46 balls, and a depleted Leewards attack which had to toil without big fast bowler Whitmore Quinn, off the field with an ear infection.
The unquestioned highlight of the day was Campbell's impressive effort.
Gone was the batsman who struggled with a lack of confidence and scrappy footwork during the last 12 months.
In for eight hours and nine minutes, he played almost everything from the middle of the bat and was particularly strong off the back-foot.
He had two ``lives'' - he was caught off a no-ball on 54 and dropped on 161 - but those chances apart, he was at home against the pace of Kenny Benjamin and Carl Tuckett as well as the off-spin of Anthony Lake and Earl Waldron.
Campbell, ignored by the West Indies selectors for the ill-fated tour of South Africa, said afterwards that he was not bothered by his unconvincing form of recent times.
``For most of the last six months, I was not focused enough. I wasn't worried. I know that as long as I am focused enough, I will score runs,'' he told SunSport.
``It feels great to be back in the runs again. The pitch was a good one and I just decided to put my head down.''
Campbell said he did not work on anything special with his batting in an effort to regain form. There was something else that helped him.
``I have been doing a lot of physical training. When you're physically fit, you're mentally fit and that helps you in the middle,'' he said while going through some exercises after the day's play.
Campbell and Adrian Griffith had laid the foundation the previous afternoon by wiping off nearly half of the Leewards' 186.
Within 22 minutes on resumption, Griffith was gone for 35, his innings ended when he advanced to drive Lake and was bowled behind his back.
There was another casualty in the pre-lunch session in which Barbados added 71 despite accurate bowling from Benjamin and Lake.
Horace Waldron, looking more assured as he went on, got to 31 before a loose flash outside the off stump off Benjamin six minutes before the break cost him his wicket.
Holder might not have suggested permanence in his first 15 minutes at the crease, but he then unleashed some breathtaking strokes.
Day 4: Home and dry
THE VALLEY, Anguilla - Not even a heavy early morning shower could stop Barbados from romping to an emphatic victory over the Leeward Islands here yesterday.
Their 10-wicket success, achieved as early as 3:20 p.m. in spite of a delay of an hour and three-quarters and the unavailability of key seamer Hendy Bryan, was their second successive triumph in the Busta Cup.
Ryan Hinds, whose left-arm spin was not used in this tournament until Sunday evening, effectively settled the outcome by removing the Leewards' last pair of recognised batsmen.
The home team, resuming on 164 for four, still needing a further 44 runs to avoid an innings defeat, were in with a fighting chance of drawing the match once Dave Joseph was in.
The powerful right-hander made an impressive 101, but once he was out the Leewards' resistance ended and they were all out for 239 at 2:20 p.m.
It left Barbados ample time to wipe off a straightforward target of 32 and send the joint defending champions to a second straight defeat.
``All the guys have come to the party - as we say here - (with each) understanding his role and trying to perform his role as best as he can.
``That's been instrumental in the way the guys have played,'' Barbados manager Tony Howard said after the match.
``This match was a little difficult with the interruptions for rain. It caused a recalculation of our situation, but we got so far ahead on the first day it wasn't difficult to come out with a win.''
The 17-year-old Hinds, the value of his left-arm spin seen during last year's Red Stripe Bowl, did the job required of him when he was asked to bowl the day's first over.
``The strategy this morning was to start with Ryan, and if he got a wicket early we were going to stay with him for a little bit. He did that.
``Just about everything seems to be working for us and we are happy,'' Howard said.
Joseph and Wilden Cornwall were the Leewards' last two specialist batsmen in and Hinds removed them on either side of lunch with the help of catches from captain Roland Holder.
Cornwall, the regular opener who batted at No. 6 because of a thigh strain that kept him off the field for part of the second day, did not survive beyond the first over.
Pushing forward to the fifth ball, he provided a bat-pad catch to silly-point. It was the only wicket for Barbados in the session before lunch, which was shortened by the heavy morning rain that again left the bowlers' run-ups damp.
On resumption, Joseph and wicket-keeper Jason Williams, who made 36 not out, frustrated Barbados in a sixth-wicket partnership of 47 in which Joseph raised his fifth first-class century off 164 balls.
It was an innings with a lot of aggression but the 29-year-old former Leewards captain defended when he had to.
Before lunch, he hoisted Hinds over long-on for a six, but when the teenager came back for another spell after the break Joseph tried to swing his very first ball out of the ground.
The ball spiralled into the air and Holder made good ground running around from mid-wicket to end a potentially match-saving innings that included 12 fours and two sixes in just under 3 1/2 hours' batting.
Joseph was sixth out 45 minutes after lunch and within another 45 minutes the Leewards were all out.
Earl Waldron, his left arm fractured by Patterson Thompson on Sunday, was unable to bat.
Anthony Lake probably did not know the position of the match when he ran down the pitch and had a big swing against Reid. He predictably missed and was stumped for his third duck in the tournament.
Wicket-keeper Williams and Kenny Benjamin hung around for a little time before the luckless Thompson finally had his first wicket of the competition in the only over of pace used by Barbados yesterday.
Thompson trapped Benjamin lbw with a ball of fullish length although the Leewards captain gave the impression that there was a fine edge.
Reid wrapped up the innings in the next over when Whitmore Quinn was unable to negotiate a faster ball and was lbw.
Bryan, who was in the course of an incisive spell of fast-medium bowling when he fell and dislocated his left elbow on Sunday evening, was unable to take the field yesterday.
The injury has also prompted doubts over his availability for the third round match against Guyana starting on Friday at Kensington Oval.
``I don't know. The elbow is swollen. When we get home we're going to have a look and see what the physio says. Then we'll take it from there,'' Howard said.