Warwick looking to bounce back against Western Stars
Promotion-chasing Warwick will be hoping for good parting performances from college students Dominic Sabir and Torleair Caines when they meet Western Stars in a top-of-the-table clash at Southampton Oval tomorrow.
Warwick had a stumble last weekend with losses to Cleveland and Flatts, but fortunate for them Sabir, their explosive opening batsman, and opening bowler Caines will not head back to school in Britain until 24 hours after the Stars match, which could make or break their season.
Warwick were without wicketkeeper-batsman Ajani Lee last weekend as he returned to school while another overseas student, Jamar Stovel, who made his Cup Match debut for St George’s this summer, headed back to England last night. He had a top score of 55 in his last match on Sunday in the 23-run defeat by Flatts.
“The exodus of players has started already, we lost our wicketkeeper, Ajani Lee, on August 31. He had done very well with his keeping and batting,” explained coach Lorenzo Tucker.
“And going into the two big games on the weekend, we had Cory Burgess, who was second in runs and second in wickets, get an injury in training and couldn’t play. Another player had Covid protocols and couldn’t come out until he got a negative test, so we’ve had some bad luck at the wrong time.
“I still think we played well enough to beat Cleveland and Flatts but as T20 goes you make a couple of mistakes, they take advantage of it and you find yourself out of the game. We dropped catches off Q’Shai Darrell and he got 50. That’s how the game goes, but we’re very disappointed to drop both games.”
Warwick will look to bounce back against Stars tomorrow. They are the only team to beat Stars this season, so will be confident they can complete the double.
“We had a really good game against Stars the first time, it came down to the last over,” Tucker said. “I expect more of the same.
“This is a huge game. We need to win all three of our games to have any chance of getting promoted. We all have to play each other — Western Stars have to play Cleveland and we have to play Stars.”
Tucker added: “Going into the game on Saturday, Cory has started to heal and hopefully he can play. Dominic leaves on Sunday night so he will play, but Jamar Stovel will be gone and we will definitely miss him. He is one of our better players.
”Dominic has had a phenomenal season, scored over 500 runs already and has been excellent for us. Torleair Caines, our opening bowler, leaves on the same flight as Dominic.“
Sabir has been probably the most consistent batsman in the First Division, scoring 514 runs in nine innings with a top score of 116 against Devonshire Rec. He also had a 90 against Flatts, 86 against Somerset Bridge, 83 against Cleveland and 81 against Devonshire Rec in his first match of the season, which was followed next game by the 90.
The late-season departures at Warwick have created some opportunities for other youngsters to step in, with 14-year-old Luke Fulton playing on the weekend. “We have other guys who don’t get much playing time because our team, at full strength, is really strong,” said the coach.
“These guys are just waiting for their chance to impress, which they will get.”
Warwick would love to cap off their season with promotion, after missing out last season when there was no promotion.
“We saw a flicker of hope last season when we were level with co-champions Flatts but the final against Flatts got rained out,” Tucker said.
“We had already beaten Flatts earlier last year, so we could have been sole champions. It showed we can compete. This year we got off to a magical start, only lost one game, to Flatts in the first half, and then they beat us a second time after we lost to Cleveland on a last-ball game.
“We are definitely looking forward to getting promoted because we think we deserve it, and that we are probably the best team in the division. But circumstances happen that you can’t control; that’s how it goes.”
Warwick and Cleveland are ten points behind Stars who have played one game fewer. Cleveland have a bye on Saturday while Devonshire Rec host Flatts and PHC take on Somerset Bridge at White Hill Field.
On Sunday, Stars play Devonshire at Devonshire Rec, Somerset Bridge host Warwick at White Hill and Flatts take on Cleveland at Southampton Oval. All games start at 11am.