Safe Hands Award stays with Douglas
After the crushing innings defeat by Somerset at Cup Match, St George’s had something to smile about yesterday when Allan Douglas Jr became the first player to win the Safe Hands Award for three straight years.
Douglas took three catches in the only Somerset innings, including a running catch to dismiss Chris Douglas and break the record opening stand of 153 with Terryn Fray. The award was changed a few years ago to take in all-round fielding.
“The first one was the best one because I had to run from mid-off to long-off to take the catch off my first cousin, so I think that was the most memorable one of Cup Match 2018,” said Douglas yesterday after receiving the award and a cheque for $1,000 from Mahesh Reddy, the chief physician at sponsor Bermuda Healthcare Services, yesterday.
“The one in the covers was a line drive at me and I just fell back to cushion it; it wasn’t a hard catch. The caught-and-bowled, a lot of people thought I could have just kept running and caught it. But as you can see on the video, I was catching my balance from finishing my follow through and had to jump to make sure I could get to the ball.
“Overall, my best catch was the one in 2017 on the boundary off Stephen Outerbridge.”
Douglas admits that fielding comes easy to him, no doubt it runs in the family, as his father was a former goalkeeper and wicketkeeper.
“Everything you see on the field is all natural, that’s just in my genes,” said Douglas, who joins Janeiro Tucker as the only other player to win the award three times since its inception in 1998. “My father was a goalkeeper for PHC, won FA Cups and has played at the highest level behind the stumps.”
The award, now in its 20th year, was named the Calvin “Bummy” Symonds Trophy in 2003, in honour of the former St George’s captain who led the East Enders to eight victories between 1961 and 1969, including four by an innings. Last week, Somerset experienced their first “two-to-one” victory in Cup Match since 1948, after outplaying St George’s over the two days, scoring a mammoth 378 for nine declared, before dismissing them for 121 and 223.
Douglas was hard-pressed to explain his team’s performance, with only a century from Onias Bascome late on the second day giving them some hope of salvaging a draw.
“I can’t put any blame on anybody because I was out in the middle also, but I just don’t know what we’re going through as a team,” he said. “Hopefully we can pull it together because right now it is starting to be embarrassing, not just for the players but the community also.
“For the people who come out and pay money to watch St George’s win, that was not a good performance by all of us, except for Onias standing up and batting exceptionally well on the second day. Without that we would have been way worse than what we were looking.
“Hats off to him, that was one of the best hundreds I have seen in a long time in Cup Match.”
A major turning point in the second innings was the dismissal of Douglas in the second innings when he left a delivery from Dion Stovell and watched it turn into his stumps.
“That was probably the only ball that he turned that whole day,” Douglas said. “When I left it was outside off but I didn’t cover my off stump and the ball came back so big. I watched it onto the stump, my backlift was too high. It was just a great delivery, what we call a ‘Jaffa’.”
That dismissal made it 79 for five, which became 79 for six three balls later when Stovell then trapped Detroy Smith leg-before for his second duck on his Cup Match debut. Somerset, who have held the trophy since 2012, will be confident of continuing that dominance when they head to Wellington Oval next year.
Douglas is urging the fans to be patient as the team tries to turn things around.
“What I can say [to the fans] is be patient, because if you remember when St George’s were dominant and enjoy those times then you should be able to enjoy the times with your players when they are down also,” he said. “When you see a player walking around let them know you are still with them. We get a lot of backlash from fans, but hopefully the fans and the community are very patient with us because when we do get it right it is going to be our turn to dominate.
“As you can see from the Colts Cup Match our youth do have promise, so it is only a matter of time. Now, it is Somerset’s time and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Douglas also had a message to those players who have opted not to be a part of the team this year.
“Hopefully I can get some of these players who are not playing to come out and play,” he said. “It’s not the selectors’ fault, not St George’s fault, but hopefully the players who are not playing — I’m not going to call any names, they know who they are — will put things to the side and come out next year and represent the St George’s community.
“You had people living in England, America, Canada who were watching this game and want to see certain people playing. Hopefully this two-to-one will bring those players back out.”
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