Hard to leave out Outerbridge, says Corday
There were few surprises when Somerset Cricket Club hierarchy announced their squad to defend the coveted Cup Match trophy on home turf this week to the club's general membership in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Perhaps the only real surprise was the amount of time it took the champions to announce subtle changes to their line-up from the one that drew with St George's at Wellington Oval last year.
After nearly three hours of deliberations, the changes many had predicted all along were confirmed, with all-rounders Jordan DeSilva and Deunte Darrell earning recalls to the champions' line-up.
DeSilva was drafted into the squad as a replacement for Kamau Leverock, who is unavailable through cricket commitments in England while Darrell got the nod over early-order batsman Stephen Outerbridge, who was dropped despite impressing in the final trial with an unbeaten knock of 38.
Michael Corday, Somerset's selection committee chairman, said that omitting Outerbridge from the squad was “a hard decision to make”.
He added: “That was an absolute nightmare because Stephen is such a class guy and we know what we are losing in him in terms of experience and what he brings to the table. Stephen is just a class act and even today he played a really good innings with Deunte. They both batted together and just their demeanour and the way they met in between the wickets was rewarding to watch and so positive.
“Stephen has played some valuable innings for us and has been unfortunate with a couple of dismissals. But Deunte is such a fierce competitor and a quality bat who is in really good form, so we just decided collectively that now is the time to make this change.”
Darrell and DeSilva virtually picked themselves after thumping half-centuries for the President's XI and Vice-President's XI respectively during the final Cup Match trial.
Somerset's selection committee convened deliberations behind closed doors at 8.45pm on Saturday with the squad they presented to club management ratified at 11.40 and announced to the general membership at midnight.
Corday has absolutely no doubts that his committee has assembled a winning formula.
“We are confident this particular team is capable of, not just retaining the cup, but to really take the game to St George's and try and win it,” he said. “The attitude at Somerset Cricket Club has always been to try and win the match, and I do not think that has changed.
“We have a really balanced team in terms of players that can bowl, bat and field. If you look at the team, we can call on anybody.”
Somerset will be led once again into battle by Jekon Edness, the wicketkeeper, who captained the west-enders to victory at Somerset in 2012.
Malachi Jones, the all-rounder, has been appointed as vice-captain.