Saturday, March 2, 2024

Irish stint paying off

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Playing professional cricket in Ireland for the first time is already paying off for all-rounder Joel Leacock.
He made an immediate impact on his return to Barbados with a match-winning performance for defending champions Republic Bank St Catherine over ICBL Empire in the quarter-finals of the Sagicor Super Cup last Sunday at Bayfield.
Leacock made 22 and took five wickets for 11 with his slippery fast-medium bowling to gain the Man Of The Match award as St Catherine won by 97 runs to book a semi-final spot.
It was his first game since returning home after helping Leinster Cricket Club win the Irish Division One 50-over League for the first time in 14 years by scoring 334 runs in 12 matches with two half-centuries and capturing 26 wickets at an average of 14.77 from 104.3 overs.
His best bowling performance was five wickets for eight runs off 9.3 overs with five maidens. The 25-year-old also held eight catches and was chosen as the best all-rounder in the league.
“The pitches in Ireland were slow but became easier with more time being spent at the crease. The conditions were also reasonable for bowling, but as a bowler, you had to pitch the ball up a lot more and be consistent in your length and stay patient,” he said.
The young man said he played against some of Ireland’s national cricketers such as Kevin O’Brien and Trent Johnston.
“It really was a great experience and I’m hoping to bring this back to my club St Catherine and by extension, Barbados sometime in the near future,” said Leacock, who hails from St Lucy and has to travel all the way to St Philip to represent the Bayfield-based St Catherine in domestic competitions.
He added that Leinster was already preparing to contract him again next year.
“A special mention must go out to Mr Hendy Wallace [new Barbados chairman of selectors] and Mr Hugh Mullen (chairman of Leinster] for providing me with this opportunity and making this a reality,” Leacock said.

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