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Douglas repays selectors with MVP performance

Star with bat and ball: Douglas scored a half-century and took five wickets for St George’s at Somerset Cricket Club (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Allan Douglas Jr repaid the St George’s selectors for recalling him with an outstanding display with the bat and ball in this year’s Cup Match.

The son of former St George’s wicketkeeper, Allan Sr, thumped an aggressive 77 in the first innings, and then claimed five wickets in Somerset’s first innings to put himself in contention for the Cup Match MVP award.

“I actually told my father two weeks before Cup Match that I was going for his [top score] record and I passed it by two runs, so I guess I am now king of the house,” said Douglas, who also hit a breezy 33 in the second innings and was chosen as the winner of the Safe Hands Award for the first time.

“The wicket was pretty good and the ball was coming on pretty true. It was coming on pretty good so it was easy for me to play my game straight.”

The 29-year-old all-rounder came to the crease with St George’s in deep trouble at 15 for four and along with Lionel Cann, another player recalled to the challenger’s team this year, stabilised the innings with a timely 119-run fifth-wicket partnership.

“That was a very vital partnership,” Douglas said. “If that partnership did not happen we would have been in a serious spot of bother.”

Digging his team out of a hole with the bat is something Douglas has become used to.

“Playing for St David’s this season and even playing in the last Cup Match trial match I came to the wicket at 25 for five and did the exact same thing,” he said. “I got 70-odd runs and dug the President’s team out of a spot of bother, so it was pretty much the same thing as the last trial.”

Douglas’s aggressive approach with the new ball still fresh and his team on the back foot might have made the cricket purist shrug.

“Even though we were 15 for four it didn’t make sense trying to play somebody else’s game,” he said. “I said ‘I’m just going to play my game and play aggressive like I normally do’ and it paid off for me.”

Douglas showed no mercy to the Somerset bowlers, cracking five fours and seven sixes in his 77, which came off 47 balls.

“I thought it was a really good innings,” Allan Douglas Sr said. “He and Lionel came in and done a really good job to repair and they just really brought us back into the game.

“He is certainly a better batsman than I was. He has lots of potential and if he continues to do what he has to do he will be all right.”

After notching a maiden Cup Match half-century, Douglas capped a fine all-round display by returning superb figures of five for 64.

“On the first day the ball wasn’t doing too much but the wicket deteriorated on the second day and I got bounce, and turn, and the height I have makes it hard for people to play me straight.”

Douglas’s haul were his first wickets in Cup Match.

“The only other times I have bowled in Cup Match I was only brought on so the bowler could change ends,” he said. “I had only bowled three overs prior to this Cup Match.”

Douglas’s father, added: “Any time a guy can get five wickets on that track there it’s pretty good bowling. I’m a very proud father.”