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Invincible Cavaliers complete sweep with Knockout victory

Spring Garden Cavaliers’ skipper Dave Greenidge saluted his all-conquering Commercial Cricket League team after they brushed aside rivals Forties whose batting flopped in a one-sided Knockout Cup final at Shelly Bay.

Cavaliers’ seven-wicket victory with more than 11 overs to spare completed an unprecedented clean sweep of the league’s four major trophies, in the process avenging defeat in a controversial KO Cup final 12 months ago.

“It’s been a great season overall for Spring Garden Cavaliers having captured all the hardware,” said Greenidge whose team won the league title for a second successive season after lifting the Memorial Cup by beating Forties at the start of the season and then edging Jamaican Association in the final of the Twenty20 League Cup.

Cavaliers’ only defeat came in the first week of league fixtures when Forties avenged the eight-wicket Memorial Cup defeat with a six-wicket win seven days later. Forties still led the league table at the half-way stage but faded to finish runners-up.

“Our players enjoyed the season immensely and showed much resolve and character during the games which challenged us the most.

“There were many solid individual performances which gave us the edge over the other teams.

“Forties were our main worry for the season and after we lost our only game to them, our players overcame their complacency and played hard, enjoyable cricket,” added Greenidge.

Simon Jones, who enjoyed a magnificent season with the bat after standing in as skipper in place of the injured Gordon Campbell, said: “Congratulations to Spring Garden. They thoroughly deserve the success they have enjoyed this season and have been the most consistent team.

“The rivalry between us and Spring Garden has been hard-fought this year but the games have been played with a great sense of camaraderie too.

“You always hate losing but it’s not as bad when you lose to a good bunch of guys.”

Forties struggled to post a competitive total in Sunday’s final after losing the toss, subsiding to 114 all out in the 36th of their 40 overs, despite a battling 42 by opener Jones, who took his tally for the season to 599 runs from 12 innings in all competitions one run short of finishing with an average of 75 which included an unbeaten century and six half-centuries.

Harold Minors (21), Ernest McCallan (16) and Yatin Gawas (10) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures. The departure of Minors, who hit the only boundary in the Forties innings, a six off Barry Richards, at 102 signalled the start of a swift capitulation. Jones fell four runs later, bowled by James Pace (four for 10 from four overs), the last six wickets tumbling for just 12 runs.

Earlier, Forties were pegged back by Freston Hurdle (two for 21 from eight) and Jeff DeSilva (two for 30, also from eight) while fourth-change Rohan Henry snapped up two for seven from three.

Dhammika Weerappuli (two for 19) raised Forties’ hopes of an improbable win by having Greenidge caught behind by Minors for four and then having Pace well caught at long-on by Kavi Selvarajah for three with the total 23.

But opener Ricky Hill dug in with DeSilva, the pair riding their luck at times to add 41 for the third wicket before Hill (33) nibbled a Dylan DeSilva outswinger to be well caught one-handed by Minors.

Man of the match DeSilva, who finished unbeaten on 36, teamed up with Ricardo Waldron (15 not out) to guide Cavaliers home in the 29th over with an unbroken stand of 51, helped by a series of loose deliveries, the winning runs coming from five wides in Gawas’ third over.

“It was tough scoring big runs on the thick grass of Shelly Bay but our total was never likely to prove enough,” admitted Jones.

The match marked the farewell of three Commercial League stalwarts.

Cavaliers’ hard-hitting left-handed batsman Richards announced afterwards that the match was his final Commercial League game, although he plans to continue playing in the Evening League.

“My swashbuckling ability has diminished considerably,” he conceded. “I think Spring Garden have enough good cricketers without me. I’ll manage the team and organise the games. I may even look to play a bigger role in the Commercial League executive.”

Forties’ Palithapushpara Kumara, out for a duck in his final league innings after being adjudged caught behind, is leaving the Island later this year to return to his native Sri Lanka.

A year ago, he battled injury to reach a magnificent 90 and appeared to have clinched the match in the final over after Cavaliers had posted a formidable 250 for three with a shot initially signalled a six. The match ended in chaos when the umpires reversed the decision. The league never officially made a ruling but Greenidge recently sportingly conceded the game to Forties.

League president Armell Thomas has confirmed he is stepping down, after four seasons at the helm, because of family commitments.

“I’m very thankful for serving as the president of the Commercial League and I’m sure the league can get stronger as new faces come on board. I would like to thank the sponsors like Island Construction and TanT Driving School over the time I was president for showing their continuous support. I would like to thank the affiliates and the fans as well,” Thomas said.

Added Greenidge: “Armell will be a great loss at president and I hope that his departure won’t result in the demise of the league. The teams, their families and supporters look forward to the friendly, intense Sunday rivalries.“

Photo by Liz Campbell Celebration time: Restaurateur Victor Alleyne (centre) joins the victorious Spring Garden Cavaliers side who swept all before them in the Commercial Cricket League this season, including Sunday's KO Cup final.

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Published September 21, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 21, 2011 at 8:57 am)

Invincible Cavaliers complete sweep with Knockout victory

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