Champions St David’s lean on guest players
St David’s, the Eastern Counties champions, have named two colts and five guest players in their squad that will begin their title defence against Flatts in the first round at Sea Breeze Oval today.
Ricardo Brangman and Aaron Paynter are the two colts while Chris Douglas, Shannon Rayner, Macai Simmons, Oronde Bascome and Seth Campbell come in as guest players.
Brangman, a wicketkeeper-batsman, joined St David’s last season and has been given the nod to showcase his talents at this level in his first year of eligibility having completed the required one-year qualification.
All-rounder Paynter, 18, is the nephew of former Bailey’s Bay siblings Mark and Roger Trott.
At age 39, Brangman is also one of the oldest colts in the competition’s 117-year history.
Justin Pitcher, the captain, George O’Brien Jr, the vice-captain, Brian Hall and Dean Simons make up the rest of the St David’s team. The reserves are Shaquille Pitcher, Sa-Qui Robinson, Jyus Dill and Isaiah O’Brien.
“I feel pretty good with the team we have,” said coach Ricky Brangman, who is belatedly overseeing his first county game after the 2020 series was lost to the pandemic.
“I feel the players we have brought in can do the job for us. I know Flatts are going to come with their ‘A’ game and do the best they can, and we are going to do the same.
“The guys are up for it. We have trained hard and everybody is ready to play.”
As a result of the pandemic, today’s contest at Sea Breeze Oval will mark the first time local players have competed in red-ball cricket in more than a year having been exposed only to the shorter Twenty20 format during that period.
“I think the players that we have can adjust to the longer format,” Brangman added. “We have a lot of seasoned players that have played for years, so it shouldn’t be any problem for them to adjust to the longer format.”
The champions were forced to make changes because of the unavailability of several key players.
Former captain OJ Pitcher and fellow all-rounders Lionel Cann and Chare Smith have been ruled out.
Pitcher suffered a shoulder injury in a bike crash, Cann has retired and Smith has stayed in England for school.
Meanwhile, challengers Flatts have also named two colts in their squad in teenager Shane Robinson and Swadesh Gund, of India.
Dajon Carey, the captain, Regino Smith, the vice-captain, Kijuan Franks, the player/coach and wicketkeeper, Logan Jones, Nakota Bascome, Reggie Baker, Nelson Bascome Jr, Cofield Robinson and Kamau Leverock make up the rest of the team. The reserves are Jauresse Smith, Cameron Smith and Che Woolridge.
Carey says he and his team-mates are up for the challenge.
“We are definitely up for the challenge of trying to break this longstanding, 30-plus year duck that we have,” he said.
“We decided to take a home-grown squad this year that we thought was best suited for the occasion.
“We have our game plans and are glad counties is back and glad to be playing again.”
As for playing red-ball cricket for the first time in more than a year, Carey added: “Both teams will be in the same boat so it’s an even playing field as far as that’s concerned.
“You definitely have to change the mindset into the longer form of the game and apply yourself a little bit better.”