Bay come up short as St David’s turn screw
Holders St David’s avoided defeat and then nearly pulled off victory in the final half-hour as their first-round match against Bailey’s Bay in the Eastern Counties Cup ended in an exciting draw at Lord’s on Saturday.
St David’s posted 226 for eight in their allotted 65 overs and appeared to be heading for another loss to Bay this season when the challengers mounted a strong reply, 108 for two at one stage.
However, St David’s slowed up their run chase by taking five wickets for 56 runs as Bay eventually finished 21 runs short of victory on 206 for eight.
Bay were a batsman short after colt Jermaine Usher suffered a serious ankle injury while trying to stop a ball on the boundary. He was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Bay were set a winning target of just over four runs an over in their allotted 53 overs, but St David’s bowled just 41 of those overs in 3hr 20min before the umpires pulled the stumps at the designated 7.20pm cut-off time.
The finish of the match brought back memories for the Bay players of their match against then champions Cleveland County at the same ground in 2015 when their delaying tactics denied Bay crucial time in their run chase.
That match was stopped at the 7.20pm finish just after Bay levelled the Cleveland score of 127. Cleveland were initially stripped of the cup, but were reinstated as champions on appeal.
Terryn Fray, the Bay captain, watched a similar situation unfold as his team were denied their full allotment of overs, falling just short of victory with 12 overs not bowled.
“It ridiculous, I think the Eastern Counties really needs to have a look at the format and consider how they should go forward with the team batting second,” Fray said. “It’s totally unfair.
“We have drawn today, but to us it is like a loss, by missing out on 12 overs of our innings. On top of that, we bowled our  overs nine overs faster than what we should have.
“The integrity of the game is not being upheld by the opposition and by the competition. We had that situation four years ago, nothing got done.
“Today [Saturday] we were here cruising, and would have mowed that score down in 50 overs but we finish 12 overs short and that’s not a good reflection of the game. It’s almost as if we’re being punished for doing the right things.
“I really think the Eastern Counties need to sit down, maybe after this year, and refine the rules that govern this game because this is unacceptable. If the players can see it, then people on the side can see it.”
Rodney Trott (53) and Fray, with a Counties best score of 69, laid the foundation for the run chase with a second-wicket stand of 93, which brought up the hundred.
However, umpire Emmerson Carrington was seen to urge the St David’s players to get on with the game after they took time to celebrate Trott’s wicket, caught at long-off by substitute Chare Smith who picked up two crucial catches in the deep.
Time was becoming a factor with wickets falling after batsmen tried to accelerate the scoring, one eye obviously on the clock. When Stephen Outerbridge was third out on 144, Bay still needed 85 runs in 75 minutes.
Macai Simmons, the sixth bowler used by St David’s, claimed three key wickets, trapping Outerbridge leg-before in his first over and then removing the last of Bay’s main threats, Zeko Burgess and Sinclair Smith as the score slumped to 190 for eight.
Justin Pitcher, bowling at the club end, led from the front in his debut as captain, taking four for 60 from 12 overs. He got the breakthrough when he trapped opener Coolidge Durham leg-before with just 15 on the board, then coming back for his second spell to pick up the key wickets of Derrick Brangman and Malachi Jones before bowling Fray to make it 181 for six.
“I’ve got a good group of guys behind me and we just back ourselves and never give up,” Pitcher said. “We fight through injuries and leave it all on the field.
“I leave it all on the field, I was just starting to cramp up. It was a long day for me.”
As for Fray’s criticism, Pitcher replied: “They really messed up by sending us in and we ended up batting out the overs,” he said. “The game was in our hands; they had to come to us and basically we were always in control.
“Our plan was to lose only one or two wickets up to lunch and always increase the run rate later in the innings.”
Earlier Delyone Borden led the St David’s batting with 79 in three hours and six minutes at the crease, hitting eight fours and a six, while OJ Pitcher celebrated his first county match in two years with a knock of 64 off 102 balls as he and Borden added 65 for the third wicket.
Opener Shannon Raynor added 30 in two hours and four minutes, hitting five fours.
Zeko Burgess led the Bay bowling with four for 44 from eight overs while Malachi Jones claimed three for 57, after claiming the wicket of opener Oronde Bascome on the last ball of his second over.
St David’s struggled to post a challenging target after scoring as just under three runs an over for most of their innings when they had 63 runs after 25 overs, 68 after 35 and then 153 after 55 overs. Bay bowled 13 maidens, including seven by Rodney Trott.
“It’s always a tough game against Bay, two of the best teams in the eastern region,” Pitcher said. “I wasn’t expecting an easy game, we had to dig deep and fight, from ball one to the last minutes of the game.”