St George’s show hand early with two guaranteed changes
Cup Match challengers St George’s are guaranteed to make at least two changes to the side that went down to a ten-wicket defeat at Wellington Oval last year.
Oronde Bascome, who hit a Cup Match best of 42 in the first innings and followed up with 29 in the second innings, has missed most of this season because of injury.
Meanwhile, Detroy Smith, who atoned for a disastrous 2018 debut by scoring 20 and 41, will also be sidelined.
Neither player is listed in the final trial on Saturday.
One of the enforced changes has opened the door for the possible return of former captain OJ Pitcher, who scored his second century of the season in the Eastern Counties Cup first round against Flatts on Saturday. Pitcher was just back from missing a week because of a shoulder injury.
St George’s captain Onias Bascome spent much of the St David’s innings off the field icing a sore knee, but he is fit to lead the President’s XI on Saturday.
Bascome was in devastating form, smashing 13 boundaries in his 50-ball knock of 83 in the St George’s victory over St David’s, which coach Clay Smith called “pretty much our best game of the season”.
Smith added: “Onias has had a niggling knee injury for the last two weeks that he has been nursing, so we’re just trying to manage it the best we can to make sure that we get to the Classic and are as healthy as we can possible be.
“He came off after he finished bowling; probably around the 20th over, just as a precaution.”
Smith has been pleased with the turnout to training for the Cup Match prospects.
“Next weekend is the final trial and that’s going to be tough because we’ve had at least 25 players training last week,” Smith said on the weekend.
“Guys are hungry, there’s a lot of competition for spots, so it will definitely be a busy week. I just wish all the players the best of luck. All they can do is perform and make our job as selectors as difficult as possible.”
Despite the crushing defeat suffered by St David’s at the hands of their neighbours, Smith is tipping them to win the league when the final round of matches are played on August 7.
“I expect St David’s to win it, they’ve had a very good season,” he said. “They have one game left, against Somerset, who have yet to win a game.
After Cup Match, the St George’s club team will switch their focus to the defence of the Athene T20 Premier Division title.
“It’s a tricky season for us, we have a lot of youngsters who we need to give some exposure to. They didn’t get too much exposure in the 50-over games, but we want to give them some exposure,” said Smith, who had three young players on as substitute fielders at various times against St David’s.
“You want to have depth but at the same time keep everybody happy by giving them some games. They’re going to get their turn and, as long as we stick together, that’s the key.”
One other player who has enjoyed his time with the team is the coach’s son, Jonté, a professional footballer who has spent his summer in Bermuda enjoying a stint of cricket, in which he showed much promise as a youngster.
The coach added: “Jonté is here for another two weeks, definitely. He’s not sure of his forward plans and will make a decision over the next couple of weeks whether he goes back out to football or not.
“We’re happy to have him; he’s been a bonus to the team with his batting and he’s a really good fielder.”
The recently turned 28-year-old, who played last season for Irish club Ballymena United, has been named in the Vice-President’s XI for the final trial.
• The final round of the 50 overs league in both the Premier Division and First Division has been moved to August 7 to allow Colts Cup Match to take centre stage at Somerset Cricket Club on Sunday.
President’s XI: Onias Bascome (captain), Allan Douglas Jr, Treadwell Gibbons Jr, Macai Simmons, Q’Shai Darrell, Zeri Tomlinson, Jarryd Richardson, Charles Trott, Zeko Burgess, Jamar Stovel, George O’Brien Jr, Logan Jones, Mackih McGowan.
Vice-President’s XI: Rodney Trott (captain), Coolidge Durham, Temiko Wilson, Nzari Paynter, OJ Pitcher, Jonté Smith, Sinclair Smith, Justin Pitcher, Kyle Hodsoll, Isaiah Greaves, Jordan Burgess, Cejay Outerbridge, Jabari Darrell.
Reserves: Rohan Richards, Oyinde Bascome.
Umpires: S Smith and M Best.
• UPDATE: owing to an editing error, it was erroneously reported that Detroy Smith has been suspended by St George’s Cricket Club. His absence from the final trial and Cup Match remains for undisclosed reasons. We apologise for the error