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St George’s taking time on appointing new Cup Match captain

St George’s selection committee chairman Damon Walker.

The search for a new captain continues for Cup Match challengers St George’s Cricket Club.

Damon Walker, the club’s selection committee chairman, confirmed yesterday that the East Enders have yet to appoint a successor to Lionel Cann, who has retired from top-flight cricket.

“Being the short time and all of that, we are trying to cram all of this in and are going through that process now,” Walker told The Royal Gazette. “We have received two applicants and are interviewing them.

“That [candidate] then has to go before the management committee after the selection committee makes their recommendation.

“The management committee will then confirm it or go in a different direction if they feel. They don’t have to take the selection committee’s recommendation.

“That’s where the process is right now and will probably be confirmed sometime next week.”

Walker declined to identify who the two candidates are when pushed, although it is obvious that Onias Bascome, as club captain, will be one of the contenders, while George O’Brien will captain in a trial game for the second successive weekend today.

Also in St George’s ranks is Rodney Trott, of Bailey’s Bay, who impressed as stand-in Bermuda captain during the global qualifiers for the ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

“In a perfect world we would have had all of that done before the first trial match and I was even trying to get it done before the first trial,” Walker added.

“But to keep the process fair, we had to extend it beyond the first trial and give guys time to decide if they want to write in.”

Cann, who was recalled by St George’s as captain in 2019 at the age of 46 for a third stint at the helm, confirmed last month that he is moving away from club cricket.

The former all-rounder scored 1,199 runs from 40 innings, one of only five players to score more than 1,000 runs in Cup Match, with a highest score of 104 which he achieved in 2009.

Former player Mishael Paynter, head coach Wendell Smith, assistant coach Clay Smith and the eventual captain will join Walker on a five-man selection committee.

Clay Smith, the former captain, and Paynter have replaced former players Ryan Steede and Dexter Smith.

Somerset were scheduled to host last summer’s Cup Match in the West End. However, for the first time in its 119-year history the two-day match was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two-day classic seemed destined not to be held for the second straight year after the champions had initially declined St George’s formal challenge.

Somerset subsequently said in a press statement that they withdrew with a “heavy heart” after “much deliberation” over health and safety concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of cricket that they felt would “impede the integrity” of the annual two-day match

However, after having a series of meetings with their members to address a number of concerns surrounding their decision, the holders completed an about-turn and will now defend their title at Wellington Oval on July 29 and 30.

Somerset have yet to hold a trial match while St George’s are scheduled to hold their second today at Wellington Oval.

“We are shooting for three trials and it looks like we are going to get those three in,” Walker said. “Everything seems to be flowing pretty smoothly right now with our preparations.

“I know from the cricket standpoint we haven’t hit any hiccups yet. I haven’t heard of any big roadblocks for the rest of the management committee, either, so it sounds like everything should come off.”

The challengers will make at least two changes to the 2019 team, OJ Pitcher joining Cann on the sidelines after getting injured in a bike crash.

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Published July 10, 2021 at 8:04 am (Updated July 10, 2021 at 8:14 am)

St George’s taking time on appointing new Cup Match captain

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