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In 2018, the Saint Lucia Premier League only had one score over 200. This year, after just one weekend, there have already been two, plus a score of 197.
The opening weekend saw a massive win for Choiseul Craft Masters in the opening match. Defending champions, South Castries Lions, defeated Mon Repos Pioneers, Gros Islet Knights beat Vieux Fort North Raiders, Avatar City Blasters dropped Soufriere Stumpers to their second straight loss, and then Choiseul capped it off with another win.
Within the first four overs, former West Indies opener Johnson Charles lashed 41 off just 16 balls (3×4, 4×6, strike rate of 256.25) to give the champs a perfect start. Grenadian Andre Fletcher picked up where his opening partner left off, ending on 67 from 44 balls. Collinus Calendar mirrored Charles late in the innings, 41 off 16, as the Lions ended on 228-6. Mon Repos were somewhat embarrassingly dismissed for just 118 in response. Keygan Arnold took 3-23, Xavier Gabriel 1-9, and Tonius Simon 2-12.
The Knights were winless last season, but they are off to a flyer in 2019. Gros Islet hit 209-4, West Indies U19 batsman Kimani Melius leading the way with 74 from 46 balls (11×4, 2×6). Vieux Fort North kept pace, largely due to Julian Sylvester’s 99 off 54 balls (4×4, 11×6). But he was one of three victims for teenager Tyrel Chicot, who ended with 3-32 as Gros Islet won by 38 runs.
The Daren Sammmy-led Avatar City Blasters, the 2017 champions, were all out for 197. Sammy’s long-tome friend and teammate Gaspard Prospere made an even 100 off 42 balls (12×4, 7×6), the first in SPL history. Quint Mesmain’s unbeaten late-innings 64 off 33 balls notwithstanding, Stumpers were held to 162/8. Alleyn Prospere took 3-18 as Blasters won by 35 runs. With that, Soufriere, is all but out of the playoffs.
At the other end of the spectrum, Choiseul are marching into the playoffs after two wins. Denzel James hit 99 off 59 balls but the Mabouya Valley Renagades were held to 157/6. Audy Alexander took 3-30 whilst Clem St Rose and Bronté Bess produced some tight bowling.
Choiseul plugged away at the target, sustaining a minor blip in the middle overs when they lost three quick wickets. Fittingly it was Vince Smith who hit the winning runs. His unbeaten knock of 30 was not especially flashy, but he guided his team to the win and put them in pole position to advance.