George O’Brien questionable for Eastern Counties final
George O’Brien Jr, the St David’s seam bowler, is questionable for his team’s title defence against Bailey’s Bay in the Eastern Counties Cup final at Sea Breeze Oval on Saturday.
The experienced player injured his knee amid jubilant St David’s celebrations shortly after claiming the last Cleveland wicket to clinch his team’s thrilling eight-run win in the second round of the competition held at the same venue on August 14.
“Unfortunately, George got hurt in the last counties match against Cleveland,” Ricky Brangman, the St David’s coach, told The Royal Gazette. “After he bowled the last wicket [Keith Whorms], he was coming off the field with people all around him, and somebody jumped on his back and hurt his knee a bit.”
O’Brien played an integral role in St David’s hard-fought win against Cleveland in one of the most dramatic county matches in recent years.
Sharing the new ball with Seth Campbell, he claimed three wickets in the first over of the challengers’ innings shortly before the tea break to leave them reeling at five for three.
O’Brien picked up three more wickets in his second spell to finish with six for 63.
He did not play in St David’s three-wicket defeat by Willow Cuts at Somerset Cricket Club last weekend.
“He took a break because of his knee,” Brangman added. “That’s why he didn’t play, as we have been resting him up.”
O’Brien has also yet to train with his St David’s team-mates at Lord’s this week.
“He was at training [Tuesday], but didn’t train,” Brangman said. “But he looked OK walking around good and everything.”
Brangman, the former Southampton Rangers captain and coach, remains optimistic that his key player will shrug off his injury and be available for Saturday’s big match involving the two most decorated clubs in the Eastern Counties competition.
“George looked OK but I can’t say at the moment,” Brangman added. “We’ll just have to wait and see after he has a fitness test.
“He should be OK. I know George and the way he is. He should be all right.”
O’Brien is the latest injury concern that St David’s have been confronted with during this Eastern Counties series.
They were forced to make two changes to their team in the lead-up to the second-round clash with Cleveland, as veteran Sammy Robinson and colt Ricky Foggo came in to replace injured pair Macai Simmons and Aaron Paynter.
The cup-holders are now gunning for a third straight win, having soundly beaten challengers Flatts by 180 runs in the first round on July 17.
The popular competition was cancelled for the first time in its 117-year history last year because of the global pandemic.