Somerset bank on same squad
Champions Somerset have pinned their hopes for a successful title defence on the same nucleus of players that landed them Cup Match glory nearly a year ago.
As many had predicted, the cup holders retained the entire squad that thrashed St George’s by ten wickets on home turf last year.
Somerset’s selection committee deliberated for nearly three hours before the team was announced.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” said committee chairman Michael Corday. “There was a lot of discussion on different scenarios and we really went through it with a fine tooth comb. But we kept coming back to the same conclusion; can we strengthen this team by making a change, and I don’t think we can.
“We can add different dynamics to it, but as far as strengthening it, I don’t think we could. I think it was a case of if it’s not broke why fix it.
“This team has such good chemistry, unity and camaraderie, so we just kept going full circle back to the conclusion. We are all on the same page and we think this is the team that gives us the best chance.”
Some of the players seeking to break into the champions’ team this year gave the selectors food for thought after impressing during Saturday’s final trial match.
Jordan DeSilva produced a fine all-round display, stroking a battling half-century (60) in the middle order after earlier claiming 2-58 for the Vice-President’s XI. He also executed a run out in the field.
Wicketkeeper Shaquille Jones gloved two catches, made a stumping behind the stumps and looked settled facing the new ball at the top of the Vice-President’s XI batting order before he fell for 15.
Medium pacer Justin Donawa also impressed for the President’s XI bowling from the southern end, claiming 3-25 after being brought into the attack as first change.
DeSilva was overlooked for selection while Donawa and Jones were chosen as reserves.
“They didn’t do themselves any harm, and that’s the luxury we have right now,” Corday said. “That’s a nice problem to have right now where we have players that’s hard to leave out of Cup Match.
“You can only pick 11 players and I just think this team right now deserves another go at it.”
Corday said the response from Somerset’s membership when the team was announced was positive.
“The were no issues, no worries,” he added. “The reaction was very positive.”
Somerset: team: Jekon Edness (capt), Malachi Jones (vice-capt), Terryn Fray, Chris Douglas, Stephen Outerbridge, Tre Manders, Greg Maybury, Kamau Leverock, Derrick Brangman, Jacobi Robinson, Janeiro Tucker. Reserves: Shaquille Jones, Justin Corday, Justin Donawa.
Somerset’s final Cup Match trial ended in a draw on Saturday.
Led by half-centuries from Chris Douglas (68), Tre Manders (54) and Janeiro Tucker (74 not out), the President’s XI racked up 286 for six declared after electing to bat on a good batting track.
The President’s XI lost their first wicket with only 18 runs on the board after all-rounder DeSilva made the breakthrough to dismiss Terryn Fray (0) cheaply.
But a 102-run second wicket partnership between Douglas and Manders steadied the ship and put the President’s XI back on course for a challenging total.
Tucker and Stephen Outerbridge (38) added 58 further down the order to keep the runs flowing at a steady rate.
Kamau Leverock (20) and Greg Maybury (16 not out) were the remaining President’s XI batsmen in double figures.
In reply, the Vice-President’s XI got off to a decent start with opening pair Shaquille Jones (15) and Koshun Durrant (28) adding 37 for the first wicket before first change bowler Justin Donawa trapped Jones leg before to make the breakthrough.
Jones’ dismissal triggered a collapse as the Vice-President’s XI lost three quick wickets for the addition of 17 runs.
Middle order bat DeSilva (60) spearheaded a revival as the Vice-President’s XI sought a way back into the match.
He added 45 runs for the fifth wicket with Deunte Darrell (17), 57 for the sixth with the swashbuckling Malachi Jones (34) and 33 for the seventh with Joshua Gilbert (24) before he became the ninth wicket to fall.
The Vice-President’s XI were limping along at 201 for nine when stumps were drawn at 7:30pm.
Donawa (3-25) and off-spinner Jacobi Robinson (3-49) were the pick of the President’s XI’s bowling.