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Romaine backs Bailey’s Bay to rebound

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Bowler Irving Romaine, left, and his Bailey’s Bay team-mates protest to the umpire after an appeal for a return catch against Allan Douglas last weekend was turned down (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Irving Romaine insists that Bailey’s Bay are not out of the running for the One Communications Premier Division title despite two losses last weekend.

Romaine, who is assisting Noel Gibbons with coaching this season, made his first appearance as a player last weekend, but could not prevent the team from going down by two wickets to defending champions St David’s on Sunday.

More known for his batting, Romaine came on the ball as third-change and nearly turned the match around with three for 22 from eight overs of spin before St David’s reached their target of 152 with two wickets in hand.

The former Bermuda captain is hoping it will be a rare performance by him, with youngster Jordan Smith back from school in England and looking to play against Somerset on Sunday at Sea Breeze Oval.

“The team asked me to play, but I don’t want to take any youngster’s spot,” Romaine said. “They had a team meeting and the youngsters asked me to play.

“Noel Gibbons has been in charge lately, though I’m still around. Some of the youngsters wanted to play with me and if they need me again I certainly will play. However, it won’t be a regular occurrence, not at all. I don’t want to stop any youngster’s development.”

Bay have just one win in their first three matches, the early results already putting them 26 behind surprise leaders St George’s who, along with St David’s, have perfect records. St George’s have 40 points, St David’s 37 and Southampton Rangers 29, 15 more than Bay in fourth place.

“It’s just two losses, it’s not a crisis,” Romaine said. “Our batsmen are not firing, but we definitely have a strong bowling attack.

“It’s nothing to panic about, last year we were in the same predicament, two losses straight off the bat, then it rained the next weekend. That left us at the bottom of the table though we still ended up coming second.

“Obviously that’s cricket, the other two teams [St George’s and St David’s] came to play, threw something at us and we didn’t respond. But we’ll catch our feet.

“Most likely I won’t be playing on Sunday, my back is still very stiff because I hadn’t bowled a ball in I don’t know how long. Jordan Smith returned this week and that’s an off-spinner who could replace me.

“When the England-based players come back they have to play. It’s their time.”

Somerset and Western Stars both travel eastward tomorrow hoping to get their first wins under their belt. They occupy the bottom two places in the standings.

Stars, who were dismissed twice for less than 100 last weekend, need a big improvement in their batting if they are to get any points against St David’s at Lord’s with the home team aiming for a third straight title.

St George’s, with former captain Wendell Smith back helping Ryan Steede with the coaching, have been the surprise team so far after just getting promoted. Now they face a big test when they host Southampton Rangers at Wellington Oval in their first home match in the 50 overs competition.

In the First Division, Cleveland, Devonshire Rec and Somerset Bridge are looking for their third straight wins in the battle for the lone automatic promotion spot. The First Division teams will play matches today and tomorrow with leaders Cleveland taking on Warwick at Southampton Oval today before travelling further west tomorrow to meet Willow Cuts at Somerset.

Today, Willow Cuts are also at home against Devonshire Rec while Flatts play Somerset Bridge at National Sports Centre. Tomorrow, PHC play Flatts at PHC Field and Warwick take on Devonshire Rec at Southampton Oval.

• Mishael Paynter of St George’s was voted MVP on Thursday for his knock of 155 against Somerset on May 20. Paynter, who opened the batting, was at the crease for 47.3 of his team’s 50 overs, hitting 20 fours and three sixes off 147 balls. He also claimed two wickets in the 47-run victory. Kian Butterfield of Warwick was voted the First Division’s MVP after taking four for 11 against Willow Cuts and then scoring 20 not out in the seven-wicket win the same weekend.

•W endell Smith has replaced Noel Gibbons on the St George’s Cup Match selection committee, chairman Damon Walker confirmed yesterday. Players interested in contesting for Cup Match places are asked to attend a meeting on Monday at 6.45 at the club.

Bowler Irving Romaine, left, and his Bailey’s Bay teammates Derrick Brangman and Rodney Trott appeal to the umpire for a return catch against Allan Douglas last weekend was turned down (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)