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Jackson: I’ll be back if Cleveland need me

Inspecting the evidence: Curtis Jackson sees blood on his glove after being struck on the head by Kamau Leverock, as Nelson Bascome comes over to help last Saturday and intends to play in the final against St David’s, vowing to wear a helmet(Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Curtis Jackson is available to play in next weekend’s Eastern Counties final against St David’s if his team needs him.

The Cleveland County coach was struck on the head by a short delivery from Flatts Victoria pace bowler Kamau Leverock last weekend and was taken to the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre at Southside to be treated for a head wound. However, the 51-year-old batsman has shaken off the blow and is ready to lend his experience when holders Cleveland take on St David’s on September 1.

“If I’m selected to play then I’ll play,” Jackson said yesterday. “I’m not the only one who picks the team, it’s myself and a few other members as well. I’m still going strong, not finished yet.”

Jackson went off just a few minutes after coming to the crease at the fall of the second Cleveland wicket in just the third over after Leverock had youngsters Jabari and Q’Shai Darrell caught behind by Regino Baker in his second over. Jackson retired at 22 for two before Cleveland lost a third wicket on 26 when opener Mishael Paynter departed.

“Everything’s fine, if you saw it now you wouldn’t even notice it,” Jackson said of the wound on his head. “It wasn’t a bad injury, I got a few staples and had a CT scan which came back normal. The scan was just as a precaution.

“I did come back to bat if they needed me. I guess I’ll be playing in a helmet now. It wasn’t the speed, the ball just didn’t rise as high as I anticipated.”

Jackson made his Counties debut 30 years ago, for Cleveland against St David’s, and in 24 innings has scored 222 runs with a top score of 40 in 2002.

Jackson was back at the ground in time to see the team overcome the early setback as middle-order trio, Dion Stovell (37) captain Steven Bremar (29) and Makai Young (31 not out) all had valuable contributions to see the team to the target of 129 with the loss of just five wickets.

Now Cleveland, who dethroned Bailey’s Bay in the first round, are preparing for another big threat from St David’s, who would love to host the 2019 series as the new champions.

“They are going to come at us hard,” the coach said. “We have to continue to play the way we’ve played all season, play as a team and stick together.

“I always believe the Eastern Counties is won on the day, by the team that wants it the most. We have a good fanbase, especially when we play certain teams. Like I told my guys leading up to the first county game against Bay, if we believe in ourselves we can beat anybody.

“This is going to be a very good challenge for us, with us getting promoted we’ll be playing St David’s next season in the Premier Division. Even though they are likely to have more guest players than us, if we can compete with them we should be all right for next season.”

• Stovell took his aggregate runs in Eastern Counties to 781 in 16 innings with his knock of 37 last Saturday.

Nelson Bascome, the Flatts bowler, achieved his highest score in 14 county innings with his knock of 42 last weekend, which beat his previous best knock high of 20 against Bailey’s Bay in 2011. Team-mate Regino Smith has been in a slump since his outstanding 145 against Bay in 2012, failing to reach double figures in five innings since.

Smith, who has also scored 57, has an aggregate of just 228 in 11 innings since his debut in 2007.