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Gibbons ready to win back cup

Ready, willing and able: Gibbons has recovered from a broken toe and is looking forward to proving himself in the final Cup Match trial this weekend (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

St George’s Cup Match preparations have received a shot in the arm with confirmation that key batsman Treadwell Gibbons Jr is fit to play in Saturday’s final trial match at Wellington Oval.

The Western Stars opener batsman had originally been ruled out of this year’s Classic with a broken toe.

However, Gibbons put any doubts to rest about his fitness when he featured in Stars emphatic eight-wicket win over his former club Cleveland County at St John’s Field on Sunday, scoring 21 from 23 balls.

He also claimed a wicket with his seam bowling and held a catch for added measure.

“I am back out training and feeling 100 per cent fit and I am ready to go,” Gibbons said.

The left-handed batsman opened the innings for St George’s in last year’s Cup Match along with Fiqre Crockwell, who was fatally shot last month.

Gibbons said Crockwell’s death has given the St George’s players another incentive for victory.

“We are coming to get that cup for Fiqre,” Gibbons said. “We want to win it for Fiqre.”

Gibbons’s availability has perhaps made the task of the St George’s selection committee a little easier.

“It’s nice that he is playing and I am happy to hear he is back out there playing,” a club official said.

“He was originally ruled out injured but I am glad he’s back out.”

St George’s, the challengers, have been forced to make multiple changes to their squad from the one that suffered a heavy defeat against Somerset at Wellington Oval last year — their first win in the East End in 34 years.

As well as the absence of Crockwell, St George’s are without Christian Burgess, the wicketkeeper, who has injured his right knee, while Jason Anderson is serving a life ban after a violent altercation with George O’Brien Jr in last season’s Champion of Champions match.

Gibbons’s Stars team-mate Temiko Wilson and Bailey’s Bay player Sinclair Smith are both bidding for Burgess’s vacant spot behind the stumps.

Still, it leaves Ryan Steede and the rest of the St George’s selectors looking to replace most of their top order, as the team’s coach acknowledged last week.

“The door is open, spots are up for grabs, it’s just a matter of the players grabbing the opportunities,” Steede said.

“St George’s have taken licks the last two or three years and something has to change. We can’t keep doing the same thing year after year and expect better results.

“We’re looking for some committed, honest players who are going to represent St George’s to the best of their ability, not guys who want to play when they want to play.”

Somerset, who are gunning for a third straight victory, will host this year’s Cup Match at Somerset Cricket Club next Thursday and Friday.

• Stevedoring Services Limited, A Polaris Company, is the sponsor for this year’s Cup Match MVP Award.

The MVP will be announced after close of play on the second day of the two-innings match and will receive the award during a formal ceremony at the City of Hamilton Dock Stevedore House on Front Street on August 1.

The chosen MVP will receive a $1,500 gift certificate for international travel as well as a $500 gift certificate for cricket or any other sporting gear.

Warren Jones, the Polaris Holding Company CEO, along with members of the Stevedoring Services team will present the MVP award on behalf of Stevedoring Services Limited.