Strong spine lifts Cleveland to victory
Cleveland County began the defence of the Eastern Counties Cup with a comfortable five-wicket win over Flatts Victoria at Sea Breeze Oval on yesterday.
Cleveland dismissed Flatts for 129 runs in 49.1 overs and reached their target with the loss of five wickets from only 27.1 of their allotted 66 overs.
Both teams had top-order batsmen retire hurt, with Flatts’s Reginald Baker complaining of chest pains and taken to hospital after being treated at the ground by St John Ambulance personnel.
It was reported that Baker was suffering with high blood pressure and did not return to the game.
Flatts, who won the toss, were led by a disciplined knock of 42 from Nelson Bascome who was caught in the covers by Dennis Musson with the score 127 for eight.
Bascome hit four fours and a six, after sharing in a fifth-wicket stand of 69 with captain Cofield Robinson.
They took the score from 32 to 101 when Robinson was bowled by Dion Stovell for 20 in the 39th over.
Spinner Makai Young took the last four wickets to keep Flatts to a respectable total, finishing with four for 21.
“I don’t regret batting first,” Robinson said. “With Reggie Baker it kind of messed up the team mentally. With the extra 20 runs he could have got it might have got us to a bigger total. We also had one or two dropped catches. We just have to bring our total game. Hopefully we can come back stronger next year.”
Steven Bremar, who was awarded the Cup Match Sportsmanship Award on Thursday, said he was surprised Flatts opted to bat.
“Usually when the challengers come up they put the champions in, to try to get them out cheaply and try to knock the runs down,” he said.
“Their total was never going to be enough. I stacked my team with batsmen right down to No 11, so 129 would never have been enough with the ability we have.”
Cleveland had an early hiccup when Kamau Leverock claimed two wickets in his second over to have the holders 13 for two, after Mishael Paynter was dropped at third slip by Bascome in Leverock’s first over.
Leverock then struck player-coach Curtis Jackson on the side of the head with a short delivery, sending him to the Acute Care facility at Southside, where he had three staples inserted to close the wound.
Jackson faced just three balls on his return to the Cleveland team.
He said he tried to duck under a short delivery which did not rise much higher than waist height.
“I called for a helmet but then Mishael [Paynter] told me there was blood coming from my head,” Jackson said.
Jackson returned to the field to watch his team wrap up the win after solid knocks in the middle order from Dion Stovell (37), captain Steven Bremar (29) and Makai Young (31 not out).
Stovell was at the crease for 95 minutes and hit three fours and a six off 51 balls before he was bowled. Bremar tried to smash a full toss from Regino Smith, who kept wicket earlier in the innings, and skied an easy chance to Kijuan Franks at cover. Leverock was the pick of the Flatts bowlers with three for 25, following on from his six-wicket haul on his debut against Bailey’s Bay last weekend.
Cleveland play St David’s in the final on September 1.