St David’s name two colts for county final
A one-match ban served, Dennis Musson returns to captain Cleveland in today's final of the Eastern Counties against St David's at Lord's.
Musson, the Cleveland vice-captain, replaces Hasan Durham in the only change to the team that beat Flatts in the last round and takes over as captain from Dion Stovell.
St David's, the challengers, have made three changes to last year's team, including naming two colts, Cejay Outerbridge and Christian Burgess.
Musson was banned by the Eastern Counties Cricket Association for his conduct during the controversial drawn first-round match with Bailey's Bay which also saw Allan Douglas Jr, the captain, handed a two-game ban which ends with today's match. Shaki Darrell is serving a 14-game suspension which will last five years.
Cleveland have kept the bulk of their team throughout the series except for changes forced by the suspensions, with batsmen Aaron Adams and Mishael Paynter retained for what should be an intense final as St David's try to retain the cup they lost last year in Bailey's Bay.
“The final is against the team we took the cup from last year so they'll be gunning for us,” said Carlton Smith, the Cleveland president, who doubled up as coach in the last round while Clay Smith was in England with the BCB National Academy teams.
“A lot of those [St David's] guys have played Cup Match but they value County Cup more than Cup Match. We know they'll be coming at us, we had a little scare from Flatts and anything can happen.”
Normally the champions are more inclined to bat second, but batting first worked for Cleveland last season when they posted 282 for eight and then dismissed St David's for just 137 to win the cup for the first time in 33 years.
“We're planning on batting first and putting up 300,” Smith said. “Last year we declared [after 53 overs] because we needed more overs to bowl them out.
“This year we'll try to bat our 65 and bat sensibly. Now the shoe is on the other foot.
“The weather will hold up and if they get in trouble they might do a rain dance, but it should be a good game. They are the team I respect the most out of the other three.”
Meanwhile, St David's have been more bold in their selection, with Cejay Outerbridge, a 19-year-old left-arm seam bowler, named for his debut along with Christian Burgess, the St George's Cup Match player, who comes in as wicketkeeper-batsman. He qualifies through living in St David's. The other change from last year's team is batsman Shea Pitcher who has been recalled.
St David's have had a modest league season by their standards and on the same day that Southampton Rangers could replace them as league champions, St David's will be hoping to repeat their feat of two years ago and reclaim the cup on home soil. In 2013 they beat then- champions Bailey's Bay at Lord's only to lose it to Cleveland at Sea Breeze Oval 13 months ago.
“We have a well-balanced team, a good bowling attack with three or four spin options as well as four or five medium pace options,” said Sammy Robinson, the St David's cricket chairman and player who was not available for selection this year.
“We have some good fielders in Delyone [Borden], Shea [Pitcher], Chris [Douglas], Justin [Pitcher] and OJ [Pitcher], we just have to execute on the day,” said Robinson, one of the changes to last year's team. “If the guys are fully focused then I don't see any reason why we can't pull off the victory.
“Christian lived in St David's for about ten years when he was younger and he brings something a little extra in the wicketkeeping department and can bat. He has some experience from training in that Caribbean Premier League camp so he has obviously gained some experience from that and we want to take advantage of that.
“We welcome him into the team and hopefully he can perform on the day for us. Cejay has bowled very good this year, without being rewarded with wickets.”