Bay blessed with embarrassment of riches
Malachi Jones and Zeko Burgess are both hoping to make their Eastern Counties debut when Bailey's Bay take on new holders St David's in the much-anticipated final at Sea Breeze Oval on Saturday.
Bailey's Bay, who came within one run of defeating Cleveland in last year's controversial first round match at St David's which ended in a draw, will have a strong squad to choose from when they select their team tonight.
Jones, who joined from Willow Cuts last season, and Burgess, a former player with St George's, are both now eligible to play in the counties.
“The guys are training hard. We trained yesterday and will train today,” said Irving Romaine, the Bay coach. “Everybody is battling for spots, we have 19 guys eligible for 11 spots, so competition is tight.”
Over the past couple of games Bay have rested one or two players in order to have a look at others, with batsman Tre Manders left out on Sunday against Western Stars after arriving late at the ground.
“Tre came late and we followed our guidelines that if you're late you have to be dropped,” Romaine said. “We don't favour anybody.
“The last couple of weekends we have rested guys, giving everybody a chance to play and almost using it as trials for county cup. For Eastern Counties teams this is a big time. It's been very competitive in training and the team will get picked on Wednesday night.”
Bay warmed up with a good win over Stars on Sunday to remain in second place in the Premier Division title race, 21 points behind leaders St David's who they meet in the possible league decider on Sunday at Lord's. Both teams have two games remaining.
The host club will also be keeping a nervous eye on the weather with rain in the forecast for late Thursday or Friday, possibly impacting the county final. Bay will be hoping history does not repeat itself as two years ago their bid for victory was halted by a heavy afternoon downpour at Sea Breeze Oval, just as the match against Cleveland was shaping up for an exciting finish.
“We're confident we can get two wins [this weekend]. Obviously, the weather will play a part if it continues to rain right up to Friday, which would even put a damper into the pitch preparation,” Romaine said. “But there is nothing we can do about Mother Nature.”
With Jones, Burgess, Kyle Hodsoll and youngster Nyhrobi Carmichael, Bay have a good seam attack, complimented by the spin of Rodney Trott, their captain, and Jordan Smith. Hodsoll had a timely best performance of the season, taking seven wickets against Stars on Sunday.
“That's Kyle. He puts in the work, week in and week out, and benefited by taking seven wickets,” said his coach. “On the big day hopefully he gets some more.
“I think it will be a very hard team selection, I would think each selector will have different players in their teams, so there could be some arguments going on. That's the benefit of having a surplus of players.”