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Bascome digs deep but cannot save a draw

Bright spark: Onias Bascome pushes through the covers during his second-innings century for St George's at Somerset Cricket Club on Friday(Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Not even a Herculean effort from century-maker Onias Bascome could save St George’s from their worst defeat in Cup Match for 70 years.

A dyed-in-the-wool St Georgian, Bascome showed wonderful powers of concentration and admirable bloody-mindedness to almost salvage an improbable draw for the East Enders.

Bascome spent almost four hours at the crease, scoring 101 runs from 141 balls before being trapped leg-before by Somerset off spinner Dion Stovell with 11.1 overs remaining.

It was an innings to remember in a Cup Match St George’s will want to quickly forget.

“This [century] means the world to me and it’s something I’ve thought about since I was young,” said Bascome, whose century was his first in four Cup Match appearances.

“To actually do it is an amazing feeling and it’s one of the proudest moments of my life. It’s too bad it couldn’t have been better. I almost saved [the match] but not quite.”

The 23-year-old came to the crease with St George’s in a perilous state at 89 for seven and proceeded to frustrate Somerset on a docile pitch with the support of tail-enders Charles Trott and Zeko Burgess.

Bascome, batting at No 8, shared a ninth-wicket partnership of 97 with Burgess, the pair showing a discipline and resolve that was sadly lacking in several of their team-mates.

“I’m a St George’s youth through and through, blue and blue, and I wanted to do this for my club, the president [Neil Paynter] and everyone in the community,” said Bascome, who also claimed three wickets in Somerset’s innings. “That was on my mind the whole time. The team was in a situation and I had to go out there and dig deep.”

Bascome reached his milestone with a straight six, prompting wild scenes as St George’s supporters ran on to the field to mob their hero and enjoy a solitary moment of jubilation.

With the celebrations lasting for more than ten minutes, Bascome might have lost his concentration as he was dismissed on the first ball of the next over to extinguish hopes St George’s had of denying Somerset victory.

“I thought we were going to go the whole way,” Bascome said, who banged his bat on the ground in frustration after getting out. “We took it down to the wire — we wanted the draw.”

Since his debut in 2013, Bascome — who was left out in 2014 and 2016 — has struggled to convert starts into big scores and admits he is relieved to have finally silenced his critics.

“A lot of pressure is off, especially as I hadn’t scored any runs in Cup Match,” he said. “I’ve had some 20s and 30s, so this is an amazing feeling. It was an emotional moment.

“Hopefully [my innings] can spark something new for the years to come. We’ve got a young team and we have to be patient.”

Ryan Steede, the St George’s coach, said Bascome “came of age” during his innings and believes he could help fill the void left by Lionel Cann, who was dropped this year, and has surely played his last Cup Match.

“Onias batted exceptionally well,” Steede said. “At the tea break he came to me and said, ‘coach, I’m going to do whatever I can to save this match.

“I just said, ‘put your head down, it’s a nice track to bat on, so look to get a big score’ and he did that.”

Steede added: “After leaving Lionel Cann out we were looking for someone to put up their hand and take on the role. Onias was the one that stood up.

“Unfortunately our other batsmen didn’t really do what he did. Hopefully our players can learn something from Onias’s innings.”