Jones enjoying life at top of the innings
Malachi Jones, the Bailey’s Bay all-rounder, has described his boundary-filled century against Somerset in the Premier Division as one of the “finest moments of my career”.
Promoted up the order to opening batsman, Jones thumped a whirlwind 184 from 142 balls in his team’s total of 320 for six against the visiting side at Sea Breeze Oval at the weekend.
He hammered 19 fours and ten sixes and along with Rodney Trott, the Bay captain, shared in a 177-run stand. He also added 73 runs for the first wicket with fellow opener Sinclair Smith.
“The ball wasn’t coming on to the bat, it was sort of spongy at first,” said Jones, the son of former Southampton Rangers all-rounder Olin Jones.
“But once you got stuck in, it became pretty comfortable to bat on. The bounce was pretty consistent and the bowlers weren’t doing too much with the ball because the wicket was kind of flat.”
Jones’s swashbuckling knock eclipsed this season’s previous highest individual innings achieved by St David’s all-rounder Allan Douglas Jr who struck an unbeaten 160 against former club Cleveland County in a Premier Division game at Wellington Oval last month.
It also surpassed his previous highest innings of 175 playing for Willow Cuts against Warwick Workmen’s Club in the Western Counties final in 2012.
“It was definitely one of the finest moments of my career and right up there with the wicket I took with my first ball at the World Cup [in 2007] simply because of the fact it was a chanceless innings,” Jones added. “I didn’t give any chances and really stuck to my game plan, which was to at least bat 25 overs.
“It’s the most balls I have faced and the longest I have spent at the wicket in my life.”
Jones is enjoying a new lease on his career facing the new ball at the top of the order.
“I’m actually liking it,” he said. “Over the past few seasons at Bay I have been batting in the middle order and the captain [Trott], coach [Irving Romaine] and myself came to the conclusion that I’m not getting any runs in the middle.
“I was getting caught on the boundary and so they decided they might as well let me open the innings when the ball is hard and you only have two fielders out [outside of the circle] for the first ten overs and it’s less risky because most of the fielders are in.”
Jones is now keen to carry his form into the second round of the Eastern Counties when Bay rest their title on the line against challengers Cleveland County at Lord’s on Saturday.
“I wanted to open the innings in the last counties game [against then holders St David’s] but they put me in the middle and I ended up getting a duck,” Jones said.
“But hopefully I can open on Saturday and see how that goes.”
Jones has also been in form with the ball, claiming three wickets in Bay’s 199-run win over Somerset last weekend, which followed on from his four-wicket haul for the West Enders in Cup Match at Wellington Oval.
“I’m basically in the team to lead the bowling attack,” Jones, who took four for 20 in the St George’s first innings, said. “I always look to get early wickets and do what is required for the team.”
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