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One of the best games ever

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St David’s Cricket Club coach

Wendell Smith shares his thoughts from this year’s –enthralling Cup Match clash –at Wellington Oval

Enthralling, captivating, edge of your seat thrilling, yes these superlatives all aptly describe Cup Match 2011. What a fantastic game this was. It had all the intrigue and suspense of a movie. Really and truly, it should rate among the best ever.

The match had so many key moments. There was the initial burst by Justin Pitcher, backed by the excellent catching display by an athletic and fit St. George’s unit during the first two hours. During this short period of time, nine wickets fell. St. George’s fans were over the moon; what incredible stuff indeed.

Then on day two, the removal of Janeiro Tucker, by the St. George’s skipper who chose to bowl himself, was vital.

Later, when Somerset looked dead and beaten as St. George’s coasted to seventy for one, Joshua Gilbert enticed Orande Bascome to charge him, and had the skipper stumped. As the Royal Gazette’s sports reporter Josh Ball so aptly indicated in his post match review, “All hell broke loose,” after this.

From the comfort of seventy for one, within the blink of an eye, a collapse of mammoth proportion ensued. Yes, the bottom fell out and the boat was taking on water rapidly. 70 for 1 became 86 for 6, and amongst those gone were the set batsman Firque Crockwell and the highly talented OJ Pitcher.

Enter Lionel Cann, the man of the hour. He proceeded to show Bermuda why many in the East rate him as the best, and most explosive batsman on the island. He proceeded to seal up the leak and bring some order to the proceedings, while all around him chaos and tension threatened to overwhelm the meek.

A school of breams just a half hour before, the Somerset team were quickly transformed to a group of hungry sharks. None proved more dangerous than Somerset’s young off spinner, Joshua Gilbert. He deserves immense credit for his fine display of tight off spin. Thank goodness (from St.George’s perspective) that he didn’t have St. David’s Dell Hollis at the other end to complement the spin attack. Dell’s guile and experience, and ability to bowl the best drifter in the local game today, may have really caused havoc. We will never know, and his omission is another matter.

Back to the game. Cricket, it is said, separates the men from the boys. It is also said that there is a fine line between winning and losing. And so it was, for if the same Joshua Gilbert holds a difficult chance offered by Cann, in all likelihood the coveted trophy would have been headed west. Again, we will never know.

Few are talking about the dropping of Jason Anderson by “cover fielder”, Jacolbi Robinson. This too, was a key moment, for Anderson proceeded to do what all good batsman do, make his opposition pay.

Truth be told, once Somerset were dismissed for 97 in the first innings, then and there, this game should have been over as a contest.

St. Gorge’s should have, but didn’t, capitalize on this position of strength, and accumulate a lead of at least 150 runs.

Once there, the result could only, with the state of the wicket, be one way.

To Somerset, you showed character and determination, and for that you are to be highly commended. Kevin Hurdle was a revelation with his accurate pace bowling and late order batting. To your colts and our own, well done, you all proved that you more than belong in the classic. Great accomplishments must surely await.

To Sefan Kelly, that was, as the Brits say….”brilliant.” To see the stumps of Jones and Robinson knocked back and cart wheeling was a joy to behold. However, the most dramatic event of all had to be the first ball clean bowling of Kevin Hurdle to a no ball. Yes, the script writer had more twists to provide, for, from this moment on, Hurdle demonstrated his competence with the bat. Once again, he and young Gilbert provided food for thought to their teammates in respect to application and technique. By the way Stefan, yes we were entertained.

It is also said that the cream rises to the top, and so, enter the stage, one Lionel Cann. In the movies, there is usually, but one star, and on this occasion, he was not to be upstaged by anyone. It was a golden moment to demonstrate poise under pressure. Champions find a way to win and Lionel has a history of winning-just ask the guys from U.A.E. ‘s 2005 World Cup team. With an hour or so of selective stroke play, culminating with two crucial swings of the bat, Cup Match 2011 came to a most suspenseful conclusion.

My message to all the young batsman out there today is simply this. You must learn to concentrate for longer periods of time.

Skill will only take you so far, it is the mental application, the ability to avoid temptation, and to bat on, for extended periods, that will see you reach your potential.

As they say, you can’t make runs in the pavilion. Value your wicket more.

On a personal note, well done Firque Crockwell. It is also said that you reap what you sow, and thus, your hard work was rewarded with a solid half century.

Every great movie has its credits,so let me, at this time, pay tribute to a fantastic coaching staff.

In Herbie Bascome and Clevie Wade, St. George’s are well served with resourceful, enthusiastic, and committed practitioners.

In Clay Smith, they learned this year that they have a gem at the helm. For, he provided the team, coaches and manager with typed documentation regarding each player from Somerset and how to dismiss them.

I sat and marveled on Thursday morning as the players heeded his advice and bowled with a purpose and plan in mind. Young brother, you have more than gained my respect.

To Neil Paynter and his committee, a job well done, for the grounds looked immaculate and the setting was the best that I have ever seen at Wellington Oval.

To HSBC, Aspen and Dunkley’s, thank you for the continued sponsorship that is helping to bring professionalism and comfort to the annual classic.

To Carlos Caisey, the food was divine, and to our two fabulous DJ’s, Rochester and Iceman, you certainly brought laughter and entertainment to the crowd with your clever choice of music eg. “Hit the road jack and don’t you come back no more, no more.”

Finally, cricket was the winner this year. So, to both teams, take a bow, for you deserve to be congratulated for treating the spectators to a truly memorable event.

The entertainers: Stefan Kelly appeals unsuccessfully for lbw against Somerset?s Malachi Jones on day two of Cup Match, while (below, left) Joshua Gilbert celebrates taking another wicket and (below, right) St George?s president Neil Paynter kicks off the celebrations following his club's victory.

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Published August 04, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 04, 2011 at 10:43 am)

One of the best games ever

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