George O’Brien man of series after Bay capitulation
Sea Breeze Oval (Bailey’s Bay won toss): St David’s beat Bailey’s Bay by six wickets
St David’s cruised to a comfortable six-wicket win over challengers Bailey’s Bay in a lopsided Eastern Counties Cup final that failed to live up to expectations at Sea Breeze Oval on Saturday.
Few could have predicted the shocking manner in which a formidable Bay line-up capitulated after getting off to a reasonably good start despite the early loss of opener Rodney Trott.
However, a stunning batting collapse in which six wickets fell for 40 runs resulted in Bay ultimately paying for the decision to bat first, as their paltry total of 100 was not enough to trouble even a St David’s top order that had struggled in the first and second rounds
As it was, the champions completed the victory with a session to spare, meaning the match that had promised so much offered the least — in particular from a Bailey’s Bay perspective.
Justin Pitcher, the St David’s captain, and fellow seam bowlers George O’Brien and Seth Campbell were the catalyst for Bay’s demise at the crease.
The trio constantly varied their line, length and pace to good effect to keep a procession of batsmen making their way from and back to the pavilion at an alarming rate.
Bay were coasting along at 42 for one before Pitcher triggered a slide that saw five wickets tumble in the space of 26 runs to place St David’s firmly in the driver’s seat.
The all-rounder blew away Bay’s top order before passing the baton over to O’Brien and Campbell, who finished the job in equally clinical fashion.
Remarkably, opening bowler O’Brien bowled 18 overs unchanged spanning the entire Bay innings.
His match haul of three for 30 earned him man-of-the-match honours and also moved him into fourth on the all-time leading wicket-takers in the competition with 53, two behind former Bay seam bowler Clarkie Trott (55).
O’Brien also copped the man-of-the-series award for his 11-wicket haul this year, which saw St David’s complete a sweep of victories, including best figures of six for 61 against Cleveland.
First-change Pitcher claimed four for 38 and Campbell three for 25 as St David’s used only three bowlers to get the job done.
Apart from Terryn Fray, the Bay captain, guest player Tre Manders and Zeko Burgess, the home team’s remaining batsmen struggled to come to grips with the bowling on a track possessing few demons.
Manders, who made a top score of 36, was dropped at square leg off the bowling of O’Brien early in his innings before settling down.
The early-order bat dominated a 41-run second-wicket partnership with Sinclair Smith after Campbell bowled opener Trott without scoring.
Manders produced some excellent shots all around the ground and seemed destined for a big knock.
But an innings that promised much ended when he played a Pitcher ball on to his stumps.
Fellow guest player Malachi Jones was next to go, for five, caught behind by St David’s wicketkeeper Ricardo Brangman after edging a Pitcher ball that was short and wide.
Colt Detroy Smith never looked settled before he was pinned in front for two to give O’Brien his first wicket of the day.
O’Brien struck again with his next ball to have colt Cameron Jeffers caught at short cover.
Pitcher then had Fray caught at backward point for 19 to leave Bay reeling at 82 for seven.
Zeko Burgess and Jordan Burgess survived the remaining overs of the morning session to carry Bay to lunch without further damage.
However, O’Brien struck another telling blow when he had Zeko Burgess caught behind for 17 shortly after play resumed.
Youngster Jordan Burgess departed soon after for a duck when he was trapped leg-before playing back to a Campbell ball that kept low.
Bay’s hundred arrived off an O’Brien ball that went for four leg byes. Campbell finally brought the curtain down on the innings in spectacular fashion with a yorker that rattled Kyle Hodsoll’s stumps.
With plenty of time on the clock and chasing a total that perhaps even caught the champions by surprise, openers Chris Douglas and Sammy Robinson got the chase off to a flyer.
The in-form Douglas went for the big shots early, punishing anything loose with authority.
The pair quickly moved the score along to 29 when Robinson injured his toe and retired hurt.
The incoming Shannon Rayner was let off the hook early in his innings after offering a chance behind that went unclaimed.
Douglas continued his assault on the bowling at the opposite end with some polished stroke play that powered the left-hander past the 500-run milestone in the Eastern Counties.
Bay finally made the breakthrough when Jeffers trapped Douglas for 38 to open his account.
The leg spinner struck again with his very next ball, a googly that Oronde Bascome shouldered arms to, only to see it clip the top of his off stump.
Brangman then departed also without troubling the scorers after being trapped in front pushing forward to the off spin of Trott, as St David’s slipped to 65 for three in the wink of an eye.
Bay squandered another opportunity when Rayner was dropped at square leg off Trott’s next ball.
The all-rounder made the most of his reprieve as he kept the chase firmly on track with some sensible batting; playing every ball on its merit and using his feet to hit cleanly through the line.
Pitcher’s innings also had a slice of luck as Jeffers was unable to grasp a return catch.
Rayner, who finished 35 not out, and Pitcher (22) added 35 for the fourth wicket before the latter offered an easy catch at mid-off with the scores level.
This left it to Brian Hall to serve the last rites, which he duly obliged by dispatching Hodsoll to the long-off boundary for four to spark widespread celebration.
Jeffers was the pick of the Bay bowling with two for 19.
In keeping with tradition, organisers held the draw for the 2022 series in St David’s after the match.
In a replica of this year, St David’s will again begin their defence against Flatts, with Cleveland following in the second round and Bay in the final.
R Trott b Campbell 0
†S Smith c Simons b Pitcher 8
T Manders b Pitcher 36
*T Fray c Bascome b Pitcher 19
M Jones c Brangman b Pitcher 5
D Smith lbw b O’Brien 2
C Jeffers c Douglas b O’Brien 0
Z Burgess c Brangman b O’Brien 17
K Hodsoll b Campbell 5
J Burgess lbw b Campbell 0
S Jackson not out 0
Extras (lb 7) 7
Total (35.2 overs) 100
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-42, 3-49, 4-61, 5-68, 6-68, 7-82, 8-94, 9-95.
Bowling: O’Brien 18-5-30-3; Campbell 17.2- 0-25-3; Pitcher 10-0-38-4.
C Douglas lbw b Jeffers 38
S Robinson retired hurt 2
S Rayner not out 35
O Bascome b Jeffers 0
†R Brangman lbw b Trott 0
*J Pitcher c Fray b Hodsoll 22
B Hall not out 4
Extras (lb 3) 3
Total (4 wkts, 27.4 overs) 104
M Lowe, G O’Brien, S Campbell and D Simons.
Fall of wickets: 1-64, 2-64, 3-65, 4-100.
Bowling: Hodsoll 3.4-1-17-1; Jones 3-0-18-0; Trott 11-2-29-1; Z Burgess 3-0-17-0; Jackson 2-0-6-0; Jeffers 4-1-19-2.
Umpires: E Carrington and A Knight.
Third umpire: R Dill.
Match manager: L Williams.