Quality players make my job easy, says Pitcher
St David’s skipper OJ Pitcher believes a win in this weekend’s showdown with St George’s at Wellington Oval will all but end the 50-over Premier Division title race.
Pitcher’s side are 32 points clear of nearest challengers St George’s, and despite having played a game more than their East End neighbours, will be champions in everything but name should they win.
Although there will still be six rounds of matches left to play, it would seem inconceivable that the Warriors would lose their remaining games, having already beaten those sides quite comfortably once, or in some cases twice, this season.
Sunday’s encounter has lost some of its bite following St George’s defeat to Southampton Rangers last weekend. The home side know they will have to win in order to stand any chance of catching their close rivals.
“It’s very important for us to get a win this weekend as it will ease the pressure for the remainder of the season,” said Pitcher.
“A win puts us so far ahead of the chasing pack that we are almost ensured of the title.
“By letting it drag on, it puts a little bit more pressure on us and gives the teams chasing us a bit of confidence coming down to the last few weeks of the league.
“We all know cricket is a funny game and anyone can defeat you on any giving day thus making every game as important as the last one.”
One key factor in the weekend’s eastern showdown is the form of the players on both sides.
While St George’s may have won Cup Match, it was due in large part to the contributions of the St David’s players.
Justin Pitcher took five wickets on day one to wipe out Somerset for 97, Stefan Kelly won the MVP award for taking ten wickets in the match and then Lionel Cann sealed the deal with a game-winning knock on Friday night. Cann also won the Safe Hands award for the best catch.
“We had a lot of players involved in Cup Match as well as a few of us who were involved with the national team so we have been working very hard and keeping our skills intact,” Pitcher said.
“This year’s campaign has been an excellent one for us so far and all of the hard work that we have put in with (coach) Wendell (Smith) has paid off.
“We have only lost one game in the 50-overs league in which we only had ourselves to blame as we dropped catches and made bad decisions while batting, but we are human like everyone else and have bad days.
“As skipper it has been a pleasure to see the performances that many of our players have had as we have a few players in the top ten batting averages, and a few in the top ten bowling which is a skipper’s dream.
“There is a lot of quality around me as captain which makes my job so much easier than most captains.”
Should the Islanders not take a step towards wrapping up the league title this weekend, then it could go down to the wire and potentially see St David’s face Eastern Counties rivals Bailey’s Bay needing a win to claim the title.
Pitcher said: “To win the league title against Bay on their home ground would mean all that and more to every St David’s Islander especially due to the fact of us not being involved in Eastern County.
“It’s even been said that we were scared to play because we would lose, but fear is something that does not play any part in St David’s as we are hard as nails and fear no one.
“We love the game and therefore always put our best foot forward and with the young talent mixed with the older talent that we have, as well as the coaching staff, I’m sure that it’s the other way around.”
Bay are only one point behind St. George’s and can leap frog them with a win over Rangers, who are fighting for their Premier League lives, at Southampton Oval.
Tha defending champions are one point behind Devonshire Rec. (40), who play bottom club PHC at PHC Field, tomorrow, and have played a game more.