Cann back to boost St David’s challenge
St David's recalled three home grown players and included a colt for their team to face Cleveland County in the second round of the Eastern Counties tomorrow at Sea Breeze Oval.
The champions, meanwhile, have made one change, bringing in Keishon Smith, a colt, for veteran Aaron Adams.
Back as guest players for St David's are Lionel Cann, their former captain, Chris Foggo, the wicketkeeper, and Ankoma Cannonier, the St George's opening batman.
Macai Simmons, also of St George's, will make his debut in the competition in a team captained by George O'Brien for the first time in the counties after OJ Pitcher was ruled out through injury.
St David's are confident they have picked a winning team as they go all out for victory, desperate to reclaim the trophy they lost to Cleveland two years ago at the same venue.
“We have to put a strong team out there, we're playing the champions and can't take them for granted,” said Cleveland Richardson, the St David's president, moments after the team was announced last night.
“We're well represented in both batting and bowling and the skipper just received his mandate, which is to go out and perform on the day. As we're undefeated in the league we feel pretty good, but we do have five changes from our league team.
“We're pretty confident with the guest players we've included, they bring strength to the team.”
It has not been a good last two appearances in the competition for St David's, losing the trophy in 2014 as Cleveland ended a 33-year wait to win the cup with a resounding victory. They posted 282 for eight and then dismissed St David's for just 137 to be crowned champions.
Last year in the final St David's posted a challenging 237 for seven declared, a challenge that Cleveland did not accept, despite having 60 overs to score at four runs an over.
Cleveland settled for the draw early in their innings, reaching 142 for six from 58 overs to retain the trophy.
“That's cricket, maybe we could have declared a little sooner, congrats to Cleveland,” OJ Pitcher said after his knock of 92 earned him the man of the match award.
“They did what was in the rules, they didn't play too many aggressive shots, hung around and batted the overs out. They played for the draw and you can't knock them for that, they played according to the rules.”
Pitcher will be missing for St David's after a recent bike accident sidelined him with a knee injury, that could also keep him out of the final in two weeks' time if St David's advance to meet Bailey's Bay.
The challengers have also had to replace the injured Christian Burgess, a colt in last year's team, and Shea Pitcher who is off the Island.
Cann and Foggo will bring some experience to the batting in the absence of Pitcher, as will Shannon Rayner who rejoined St David's in the league this season.
The 20-year-old Cejay Outerbridge, a colt last year, will be one of their main bowlers, forming a seam attack that also includes O'Brien, Justin Pitcher and Rudell Pitcher.
It will be a busy weekend all around for St David's, who will look to move one step closer to the Premier Division title when they take on Western Stars at St John's Field on Sunday.
St David's extended their winning streak in the league to 11 games last weekend and now lead Bailey's Bay by 30 points with four matches remaining.
In other matches on Sunday, Southampton Rangers host Cleveland while Bailey's Bay take on Willow Cuts at Sea Breeze Oval.
Four teams are battling for promotion from the First Division, with league leaders Somerset taking on PHC at home on Saturday, before hosting neighbours Somerset Bridge on Sunday. St George's play PHC at Wellington Oval, while Flatts welcome Devonshire Rec to Lord's for a match between the second and third placed teams.
St David's: George O'Brien (captain), Delyone Borden (vice captain), Chris Douglas, Chris Foggo, Justin Pitcher, Lionel Cann, Ankoma Cannonier, Rudell Pitcher, Cejay Outerbridge, Shannon Rayner, Macai Simmons (colt). Reserves: Ricky Foggo, Dean Smith, Dean Simons.
Cleveland: Dennis Musson (captain), Dion Stovell (vice captain), Steven Douglas Jr, Jason Simons, Adrian Burrows, Curtis Jackson, Clay Darrell, Damali Bell, Hasan Durham, Mackih McGowan, Keishon Smith (colt).