‘It’s not mission impossible’ says St. George’s captain
Returning St George’s captain Oronde Bascome is confident his young team can beat the odds and reclaim the Cup Match on Friday.
Six changes were made to the team that suffered a heavy defeat in Somerset a year ago, including the selection of four teenage colts.
But Bascome need only talk to his father Herbie to know that the task is not an impossible one. Herbie was one of four colts in 1997 that helped St George’s win back the cup they lost the previous year.
Twenty five year-old Bascome is carrying a heavy load on his shoulders. His father, uncle Gregg Foggo and grandfather Gregory Foggo all captained St George’s in the classic. Bascome won the match two years ago when St George’s were already the holders. Taking the cup from a strong Somerset team will be an even bigger challenge.
“Personally I don’t believe it is a tougher job. I believe it is a tougher job retaining the cup,” Bascome said. “Right now we don’t have anything to lose and there is a different mentality that we have to go out on the field with. We have to be ruthless and have a no-holds-barred attitude and go out there and try to take it.
“Somerset have an excellent squad, a very deep batting order but I also feel we have the talent and the youth to run through their side twice.”
St George’s have tweaked their bowling attack, bringing in young seamers Lateef Trott and Zeko Burgess and while they may be a genuine spinner short with the omission of Delyone Borden, Bascome insists there is plenty of variety in the bowling department.
“I believe we have a lot of variety in the bowling, with myself, Treaddy (Gibbons), Rodney Trott, Allan Douglas and Onias Bascome who is a really good bowler aside from the three pacers that we picked,” said the captain. “There’s a big variety that the selectors have given me, I’m very pleased.
“It was pretty much what I wanted. It’s always a case of not everyone can play, but I think this is the most balanced team that we could have picked from what we have seen in training. It wasn’t just about the final trial, we had five trials this year and they played a big part in the selection of this team.
”Batting was not a priority but obviously OJ (Pitcher) coming back into the team gives us a big boost. Bowling is the main point. Our youthfulness on the field is going to be a big part. I need run outs and half chances taken by my young fielders.
“This is a team full of potential, full of hunger and I think we have what it takes to win this cup. These are seasoned cricketers, not just youngsters as you can see with one of my youngsters (Christian Burgess) scoring 98 and another (Onias Bascome) scoring 148 last week against Somerset.”
The Cup Match wicket was used for the final trial, a low-scoring match won by the Vice-President’s team by five runs.
How well it will play over the two days is difficult to assess as there was overnight rain which delayed the start by an hour and then a mid-afternoon shower which halted play for two hours.
“You couldn’t really judge the wicket because it was kind of wet in the morning, but it was a tough wicket to bat on and you really had to put your head down,” said Bascome who suffered a first-ball dismissal on Saturday, an edge which carried to Lionel Cann at slip. “Only the strong is going to survive out there.”
Bascome admitted he was beginning to feel the big day nerves, which affects even the most seasoned of players. It is the Island’s biggest sporting event, after all.
“Cup Match is the biggest event I have ever played in, it is different from anything else in the world,” he stressed. “I should be okay, it’s just strategy-wise where I’ll be up thinking about what decisions I’m going to be making.
“I have one of the best teams backing me right now, the selection committee and coaching staff, which is second to none in terms of Cup Match and cricket in Bermuda. I’ve been picking their brains since I became captain, not just this year but over the last three years. I’m raring to go.”