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Smith proves worth on both sides of stumps

Impressive debut: Smith scored 31 and 42 at Somerset Cricket Club (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Sinclair Smith came disappointingly close to becoming the 26th player to score a half-century on his debut in Cup Match after knocks of 31 and 42 ended with him being dismissed lbw.

More known for his work behind the stumps, the St George’s player was aiming to become the first colt since Delray Rawlins two years ago to score a fifty. Coming in at No 8 in the first innings with St George’s trying to build a big total, Smith helped bring up the 200 after adding 31 from five boundaries in some useful late-order stands.

His and the team’s innings ended when he was ninth out, trapped leg before by Malachi Jones. He immediately gestured to Emmerson Carrington, the umpire, that he hit the ball, as St George’s declared on 230 at the fall of that wicket.

That performance was good enough to earn Smith a promotion up the order in the second innings, coming in at No 3 and his hit of nine more fours in a season-high knock of 42 which enabled St George’s to reach tea on the second day at 104 for two, still two runs behind the Somerset first innings total of 336.

This time he looked set to join the exclusive club, but again was denied, this time by Derrick Brangman.

“The umpire’s decision is final but I was definitely disappointed in the first innings,” said Smith, who is a team-mate of both Jones and Brangman at Bailey’s Bay.

“In the second innings I thought I would carry on where I left off and just make my mark. There had been a lot of doubt about my batting and me just being a wicketkeeper, so I had to prove myself and chose the right time to do it.”

Smith took his first two catches when he caught Stephen Outerbridge for 49 at 6.20pm on the first evening, and then held on to another sharp chance to dismiss Jacobi Robinson late in the Somerset innings just before lunch on the second day.

After Treadwell Gibbons and Oronde Bascome shared in an opening stand of 43 in the second innings, Smith came in to solidify the batting. Again he did not disappoint, hitting the ball with confidence as he passed Bascome in the Twenties and dominated a second wicket stand of 55 before he was out just before tea with St George’s 98 for two.

“We were looking to structure things just in case we ran into any trouble and they asked if I was up for No 3,” Smith said. “I had a good game wicketkeeping so I thought I would take my confidence into the batting.

“That was my highest score so far this season, I’ve really been struggling so far with the bat so it was good for it all to click.”

Smith will soon be involved in another big match when Bailey’s Bay aim to win back the Eastern Counties trophy at the end of August against either Cleveland or St David’s.

“The Eastern Counties is big, but this is a much larger scale, not just the eastern side of the island but the whole island and with people watching it on television and live streaming,” said Smith, who got his chance because of an injury to Christian Burgess, last year’s wicketkeeper.

“I didn’t get too rattled by the pressure but just thrived off it,” he said. “I consider myself a big-day player. I didn’t get as many dismissals as I would have liked but I just took the two catches that came my way.

“I’m satisfied with that, but definitely disappointed not to get a fifty. Hopefully there are more chances to come.”