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Determined Bay keep slim title hopes alive

Cause for celebration: Rodney Trott, centre, enjoys a brief moment of success with team-mates after trapping Ajuan Lamb leg-before at Lord’s (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bailey’s Bay handed Premier Division leaders St David’s their second loss in the league yesterday — with the title race to be decided during next weekend’s final round of matches.

It may not be enough to win the title for Bay, who still trail St David’s in the table.

Now it will come down to St David’s home match against Western Stars, who inflicted the first loss on the East Enders a couple of weeks ago, and Bay against Willow Cuts who were relegated after their loss to Southampton Rangers.

The win for Bay was their first over their Eastern Counties rivals since the Belco Cup final in May.

Chasing the 166 for seven posted by Bay in their 50 overs, St David’s were well placed at 94 for two midway through their innings when two crucial wickets fell in the 25th and 26th overs to turn the tide and livened up a contest that lacked the intensity of previous clashes this season.

Victory would have given St David’s the title.

“It’s always good to beat them and it’s always a good game against St David’s,” said Irving Romaine, the Bailey’s Bay coach, smiling again after a disappointing draw in Saturday’s Eastern Counties final.

“We win the series 3-2 but it was a challenge to get the guys up for the game from both sides.

“Everybody was running a little behind this morning and the warm-up was sluggish for both teams.

“It was hard playing a long game like county yesterday and then again today, but the competition was still there. We came away with the victory today which moves us closer [to St David’s] going into the last weekend.

“That rain-out match [against Southampton Rangers] has come back to haunt us because St David’s got a win that day.”

Bonus points are all that separates the two Eastern Counties teams in the league race, after St David’s suffered two losses immediately after playing matches in the Eastern Counties.

Yesterday, they fell 26 runs short after slumping from 94 for two to 108 for six between the 25th and 35th overs.

Then, after a slight recovery to 133 by the 42nd over, the wheels fell off again with Bay taking three more wickets in the 42nd, 43rd and 45th overs to leave the home team on the brink of a first home defeat in the league at 139 for nine.

That crucial ninth wicket was that of opener Delyone Borden who did yesterday what Chris Foggo managed in the counties, put up stubborn resistance.

Borden batted for three hours and 17 minutes for a top score of 57, even showing obvious signs of discomfort in the 40s as he started to feel unwell.

He was also dropped in the next over after bringing up his 50 with a six over deep mid-wicket off Malachi Jones, when the usually safe hands of Dennico Hollis fumbled and then put down a sharp chance at deep gully off Lateef Trott’s bowling.

Once again a low total proved difficult to chase in a clash between the two sides.

“On the wicket at St David’s, the way it takes turn and is inconsistent, when we came in to bat today we were looking for 170, 180 so we knew a score like that would be competitive,” Romaine said.

“We decided to bowl slower at them by taking the pace off the ball and it worked out.”

Rodney Trott, the Bay captain, claimed four for 27 and Malachi Jones, bowling at a gentler medium pace, claimed three for 27.