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Martin Nurse Slams Record Double Century

By S. Ali
The in-form opener Martin Nurse will be celebrating his 24th birthday in a few days with a ton of runs on his cake as he struck a belligerent double century for Inspire Sports Wanderers to become the first batsman in the last three decades to score two double centuries in the Barbados Cricket Association Division 1 championship and further staking a strong claim for a spot in the Barbadian national team.

Martin Nurse who plays with Cosmos.

Playing on his home turf at Dayrells Road, Nurse slammed an unbeaten 209 against title holders BNB St. Catherine on the first day of third round matches. The left-hander Nurse blasted 23 fours and 12 sixes in an innings which lasted 225 minutes off only 159 balls. He raced to his century in just 134 minutes off 99 balls with 11 fours and five sixes before attaining the double as Wanderers declared their first innings at 308 for four off 52.4 overs after they were sent in. By the close, St. Catherine were 62 without loss.

Nurse’s other double-century was in 2003 when he hit 213 for Combined Schools against BCL at Lester Vaughan, Cane Garden, in the opening round. He ended that season with 798 runs at an average of 53.20.

Nurse’s breath-taking innings was his sixth Division 1 century after making his debut as a 15-year-old in 2000 for Combined Schools (now called Barbados Youth) against Spartan at Queen's Park as a student of Deighton Griffith. He would mark his debut with a fighting century (103) in the second innings.

Nurse’s double-hundred was his second for this season in the Division 1 championship, following an equally belligerent 179 off Caribbean Lumber YMPC at Beckles Road in the second round of matches. In his only innings in the Sagicor Super Cup championship this season, Nurse smashed an unbeaten 115 against Super Centre Spartan at Queen’s Park in Round 2.

Nurse has extended his tremendous form after finishing as the runner-up in runs and averages in New York’s premier Metropolitan Cricket League division I with 2008 champions Cosmos. Cosmos manager Shadi Khan who recognized Nurse’s talent early on, prompting his stint with the New York-based club, and intent on increasing Nurse’s profile with the Barbadian national selectors subsequently orchestrated a move for the all-rounder to Clarke Road United of Trinidad for the 2009 season following Clarke Road's tour of New York in 2008. The move appears to be reaping immediate dividends as Nurse returned to Barbados from his Trinidadian stint with a wealth of experience and seemingly a new found appreciation for the finer points of the game. His decision to remain in Barbados for the 2009 season is also proving to be worthwhile as he continues to forcibly announce his presence to the Barbadian national selectors. To that end history may be on Nurse’s side as only nine double-centuries have been scored in the BCA Division 1 championship in the last 30 years. More importantly, all of the batsmen who have achieved the feat have played cricket at the first-class level.

One might expect that the boys of Cosmos will be glued on his performance for the rest of the 2009 season and to see if the Barbadian selectors take due notice.

The following is the list of batsmen who have scored double-centuries in the last three decades of the BCA First division championship:
1981 - Shane Julien (Wanderers) 200 not out v BCL at Dayrells Road.
1982 - Terry Hunte (YMPC) 202 not out v Combined Schools at Beckles Road.
1988 – Thelston Payne (St. Catherine) 203 not out v Banks at Bayfield.
1997 - Floyd Reifer (BET) 265 not out v Banks at Wildey.
2002 – Ahmed Proverbs (St. Catherine) 210 v BDFSP at Brereton.
2003 – Martin Nurse (Combined Schools) 213 v BCL at Lester Vaughan, Cane Garden.
2004 – Ryan Hinds (Empire) 201 not out v Spartan at Bank Hall.
2005 – Alcindo Holder (Empire) 202 not out v St. Catherine at Brereton.
2009 – Martin Nurse (Wanderers) 209 not out v St. Catherine at Dayrells Road.
Source - www.bcacricket.org ; Keith Holder and Carl Bennett also contributed to this article.

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