Bay out to take advantage of St David’s
Challengers Bailey’s Bay are hoping to capitalise on the absence of Chris Douglas and George O’Brien from the St David’s team when they take on the holders in the first round of the Eastern Counties Cup at Lord’s on Saturday.
The pair have stopped playing for St David’s because of an internal dispute, with Douglas stepping down as captain after the team’s Twenty20 defeat to Bay last month.
Bay, who beat St David’s in the first round of the competition two years ago at Lord’s, are hoping history can repeat itself when the two teams meet again.
“Our biggest challenge remains being consistent,” said Bay captain Terryn Fray, who will be leading Bay for the first time in the Counties.
“We’ve been pretty consistent this season, especially against St David’s; we haven’t lost to them yet.
“I don’t feel any pressure; I think most of the pressure is on St David’s. There is a lot of talk around what is going on with them, but I don’t feel we have any big talking points at Bay.
“We don’t have the trophy, so we’re just showing up and giving these guys a show, like we have already this season. It would be nice to lift the trophy in my first season as captain. Whatever we do, we’ll do as a team; it’s not just one person.”
George Cannonier, who returned as head coach in the St David’s shake-up, says the holders will be at full strength. They look certain to include at least a couple of colts, namely wicketkeeper-batsman Iyuan Smith and all-rounder Brian Hall, who has served his two-year qualification after transferring from Western Stars last season.
“We have players who are not playing for one reason or another, but we’ve played without them and won, so we’re not really worried about that,” Cannonier said. “The game is bigger than the players.”
Fray replaced Rodney Trott as Bay captain this season while St David’s also have a new captain, with Lionel Cann returning to the helm for the 50-overs matches.
“I’ve been pretty much groomed into this position for the last couple of seasons,” Fray said. “I’ve never played for anybody else; Bay is my home team, my family team. The respect has been there from the fans, the executive at the club and, of course, the players, who I’ve been playing with my whole life.
“I still look to Rodney and Stephen [Outerbridge] for advice. I’ve been in a captaincy position at the national team, too.”
Fray does have ties to St David’s, however, as he lives there and could have played for them in the Counties.
“Before I was playing senior cricket, I was living in St David’s, so I definitely would have qualified,” he added.
“I love St David’s; all those guys are my close mates; Chris, OJ, ‘Pudda’ [Justin Pitcher] and Delyone, we all get along really well. It’s good fun when I ride into St David’s and I see the flags and hear people chanting.”
The 115th annual Eastern Counties series was launched by Digicel yesterday in its second year of a three-year sponsorship deal, when team representatives visited their Hamilton office.
Cleveland, who have proven themselves to be a stronger contender in the competition, will meet the winners in the second round before Flatts Victoria play in the final on August 31.
“We won it last year and then lost in the final round to St David’s and we’ll be ready on [August] 17 for whoever shows up as the winners come Saturday,” said Dennis Musson, a former Cleveland captain. “We’ve had a taste of victory; it took us 33 years to win it since the first time, but in recent times it is fair to say that Cleveland are a part of the race. It’s not a two-horse race any more.
“We can beat St David’s and we can beat Bay on the day.”
Flatts should not be ruled out, warns captain Cofield Robinson. “It’s a big field down at St David’s and we have a few young spinners who have been getting wickets,” he said. “We’re going to have a few spinners in the team who are going to play a big part in the game.”
As to who he would like to meet in the final, Robinson said: “We have beaten Cleveland twice this season, so we can start with that,” he said.
Flatts will be boosted by the return of Kamau Leverock from England where he is playing club level.
The all-rounder is scheduled back in the island this week.
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