Outerbridge doubtful for Belco Cup defence
Bailey’s Bay could be without influential captain Stephen Outerbridge when they open the defence of their first Belco Cup title next weekend.
Outerbridge, who had a recurrence of the hamstring injury he picked up on the recent tour of Florida, when Bermuda played the United States in last week’s Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 Tournament, admitted the injury has not completely healed and could keep him out of action for the first few weeks of the season.
Outerbridge’s loss would be a blow for the Bermuda captain who won last season’s Logic Premier Division Player of the Year as Bay took league, Belco, T20 and Eastern Counties titles last season. Bay, who have won this competition four times but for the first time last year under the Belco Cup banner, face a tough semi-final clash against perennial champions Southampton Rangers next Saturday.
In ten finals since the competition became the Belco Cup in 2003, Rangers have won seven times and are back in the competition this season after failing to qualify last year. Bay will meet Rangers at St David’s while St David’s travel to the west end to meet the other top four team from last year, Willow Cuts, at Somerset Cricket Club.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch of the 2013 tournament at Belco headquarters, Outerbridge acknowledged the importance of a good start to the season.
“On behalf of Bailey’s Bay I would like to thank again Belco for sponsoring this event which kicks off the season,” said Outerbridge. “Many teams believe that if you can get a good start in the Belco Cup, that basically determines what’s going to be the outcome for the season.
“Again we look forward to being very competitive in this tournament and hopefully we can put in the same performances as last year.”
Bay’s major signing during the transfer period was national team player Tre Manders from Western Stars while Dennico Hollis has left to join Somerset.
“With Tre Manders we’ve got a very promising player and it will be very exciting to introduce him to our batting line-up and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”
Outerbridge says the emphasis at Bay will again be on developing the young players. “For Bailey’s Bay our intentions have shifted a bit and we’re starting to focus more on our youth,” he stated.
“We did win last year with sort of a young team but we do have a lot of promising under-15s and we’re investing a lot of time and funds into the development of cricket and you can see Bailey’s Bay have produced a lot of national team cricketers and we’re doing a lot of work in that regard.
“Last year we just wanted to get the monkey off our back and now that we won we know as a team we are capable of putting in really good performances. People talk about everybody being out to get us but we have nothing to prove and at the end of the day our main goal is to develop our young players and hopefully we can push on from our performances from last year.”
Willow Cuts will meet one of their former players, George O’Brien, when they host St David’s whose two titles in 2001 and ‘02 were in the last two years as the Camel Cup. Cuts are chasing their first title in the competition which began in 1987 as the Premier Cup, then the Camel Cup for 14 years. Belco have sponsored the competition since 2003.
“It’s a pleasure to be in the Belco Cup once again,” said Cuts captain Dwight Basden. “We went out in the last two years in the first round so we want to make it our first priority to make the final and end up winning it.
Cuts have also lost batsman Chris Douglas to Cleveland while signing veteran spin bowler David (Chick) Adams who won the competition with St George’s, and Chris Foggo of St David’s.
“Hopefully they can fill the void but some of the runs and wickets will have to be shared by the rest of the fellas,” said Basden whose team just missed out on the league title last year.
“We fell short in the mental aspect of the game, our troops were lacking a bit of mental toughness so this year we are trying to build on that toughness to get us over the hump. In the first game, the curtain-raiser, we want to make a good account of ourselves, go out there and win it and that will give a signal to the rest of the league that we mean business.”
Saturday’s winners will meet in the final on Sunday at St David’s. Each year Bermuda Cricket Board, Belco, Somerset and St David’s team up to donate proceeds from the final to a charity and this year the BCB National Academy will be the 2013 recipient of all entry fees and additional donations. The umpires will also donate their fees to the National Youth Academy.
Said Denton Williams, Belco’s chief operating officer: “We are proud to host our 11th year of Belco Cup, a sporting event which has moulded itself into Bermuda’s springtime traditions. Belco is equally pleased to support local cricket, as well as Bermuda’s youth through the National Youth Academy and its efforts. We look forward to enjoying two days of cricket and another successful year of Belco Cup.”
Added Nyon Steede, vice-president of the BCB: “The BCB is very excited to launch the season with this extremely popular competition. It always provides outstanding cricket. The Belco Cup is a major talking point in the cricket community as clubs compete to maintain a place in the top four teams in the domestic league. I look forward to a weekend of thrilling senior cricket.”
See scoreboard page for past winners of the competition.