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OJ Pitcher injury a blow for St David’s in county cup

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OJ Pitcher, seen in action on his return to the Eastern Counties in 2019 when he scored 64, has been sidelined with a shoulder injury after a bike crash (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

St David’s, the Eastern Counties champions, are looking at their player options ahead of the opening round of this year’s series on Saturday after news that one of their key players is likely to miss the season because of injury.

Brothers Ricardo, left, and Derrick Brangman, team-mates for St David's, but could play against each other in the Eastern Counties this season. Derrick plays at county level for Bailey's Bay, while Ricardo is eligible to play for St David's this season (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

OJ Pitcher, a former St David’s captain, was involved in a bike crash on June 13 and suffered a shoulder injury that is expected to sideline him for the whole season. Pitcher was missing from St David’s opening Twenty20 match against Southampton Rangers on Sunday which they lost by 39 runs.

Ricky Brangman, the coach of St David’s, admits the potential loss of Pitcher for the season would be a blow to the team who are set to open the defence of their Eastern Counties title against Flatts.

“We are very disappointed, he is one of the guys I look for to bring the team through,” Brangman said. “Last year he played two games and got hurt and was out most of the season; now it looks like he is out again.

“It’s a big blow to us, but I guess that’s life and we have to keep going on. I just hope he gets better.”

Pitcher, also a former St George’s Cup Match and Bermuda captain, has had his share of injuries over the past five years, following a bike crash in 2016 that left him with a bruised knee.

In 2017, in the first round of the Eastern Counties against Bailey’s Bay, he collapsed on the field with chest pains and was taken to hospital. The injury ended his season that year and in 2018 he stood down as St David’s and Bermuda captain to concentrate on returning to full health.

The injury to Pitcher is a blow to the team who are also likely to be without another experienced player, Delyone Borden, who has other interests as a professional golfer, as is Pitcher. Recently, another St David’s veteran, Lionel Cann, announced he is retiring from club cricket.

Brangman will make his Eastern Counties debut as a coach this season. He joined St David’s as coach last season but the 2020 series was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Already the club have recognised they may need to call on outside players to boost their team for county.

“I was thinking the other day that maybe I’m bad luck because it seems I can’t get the full team that I want to get,” Brangman said. “Another player, Chare Smith, is staying in England in school and we have a couple of other guys out hurt.

“It’s disappointing. We’re talking about a few players now and we will invite a few players to training.

“I’m excited, this is my first time coaching in the Eastern Counties, and if I had a full squad to pick from it would make it much easier. We’re going to sit down and invite a couple of players who have played for the St David’s county team before.

“We’re positive everything will be OK, the players are giving their all and are training. I don’t want to be the coach who goes out in my first season and loses the cup. No, I don’t want that!”

Brangman’s son, Ricardo, who joined the team last season, is eligible to play for St David’s in the Eastern Counties this season after a one-year qualification. Another son, Derrick, also joined St David’s last season, but he already plays in the counties for Bailey’s Bay.

“And Kevin Hurdle isn’t eligible because he has already played for Flatts,” Brangman said of another St David’s league player who he cannot call on.

“The league team isn’t bad. For that first game against Rangers on Sunday we had a different team out there, so it is going to take some time for players to get used to one another.

“The hard part about having youngsters in Twenty20 is that it is a fast game for them. I would prefer 50 overs, the longer version of the game, when they don’t have to race.

“But it all comes from training. We’ll work it out.”

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Published July 14, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated July 14, 2021 at 11:55 am)

OJ Pitcher injury a blow for St David’s in county cup

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