It may not seem so but there are positives for St George’s to take from Cup Match 2022
Cup Match 2022 may seem like a big downer for long-suffering St George’s fans but I wouldn’t be too down on the team. I managed to watch quite a bit of the match and thought the way St George’s went about it was the right way. Obviously they don’t have the cup and they have to try and go and win it, so they were very aggressive in everything that they did. They could have easily just tried to bat out or take more time out of the game, but everything that they did, at least from the outside, looked like they were always trying to win. So I think that’s a positive and something to definitely carry into next year.
One of the big talking points to come out of the Annual Classic is the potential use of the Decision Review System to ensure we get the big decisions right — contentious leg-before rulings and close line calls. Like anything, really, it’s more about money. That’s probably up there with the most expensive bits of technology in sport at the moment, with Hawk-Eye and everything else that comes with it. You also have to make sure you have enough cameras, and will probably need to incorporate stump mics, which means players would have to be on their best behaviour because now everything that is said in the middle would be transported into people’s living rooms.
So there’s a lot of things that obviously go into it. There’s a lot that can be possible in Bermuda, but realistically that’s not something that can happen overnight. It didn’t happen overnight in the Test match arena or the international arena. You’re seeing things being added to it. Every year or so, there’s something new that helps out. No matter where you are in the world, there’s always going to be umpiring decisions that don’t go your way. Sometimes, even in county cricket, we have games where things don’t go our way or go our way. It’s just one of those things; human error, I guess. I do agree that there could be some sort of assistance for umpires, but I feel like that’s something that’s going to take years to develop.
Back to the game itself, I feel this has been the most positive St George’s have been in the past few years. The tactic was to be very aggressive to win the cup back; that’s the only way you’re going to get it back. Credit to Dion Stovell. He just took the game away. He showed why he has been named as one of the best sportsmen, let alone cricketer, in Bermuda for some time. Sometimes it just takes one man and the game could get away from you. I think St George’s need to keep a crop of players from that group together. Obviously, you filter in every now and then a couple of changes, and I think you see results start to flip around and the luck come to the other side.
Speaking of umpires’ decisions I had one myself on Tuesday in the Royal London Cup when given lbw against Notts Outlaws. In the umpire’s opinion I was out, so I had to swallow the pill and walk off. That’s how the game goes. On another day, that could go my way and the result could have been potentially a bit different. In the end it was a tough loss. Even though they've lost quite a few players to The Hundred, they actually still have quite a few senior members of the team that were playing. They were still reasonably strong and had some guys who played international cricket, some guys who’ve had quite a bit of first-team experience. It was a good test for us lot to let us know where we are in 50-over cricket. They probably got, I’d say, about 25 too many, and there were probably little periods in our batting innings where we could have taken a couple of more bowlers down. But we have put in the preparation again this week and go again today at home to Gloucestershire, who will be buzzing after beating Surrey in their opener at Guildford.
Anytime you get a win, the next one is just as important or more important, as you want to keep that streak going. They’ll probably be coming down here with some confidence. But I feel like we still have confidence, and we’ve taken positives from that loss to Notts. We might have a few changes in our team and there might be a few things, a few changes of mindset, and we can see a completely different result for us in general. Luckily, with the sport that we play, we get to give it another crack straight away, and we don't have to wait too long. Hopefully we can just put things right on Friday and get on a little run.
On the international scene, it was pleasing to see Ollie Robinson recalled to the England team for the upcoming Test series against South Africa. Everybody knows how good he is. He averages something like 21 or 22 in Test cricket with the ball. If you said to somebody, “Would you take that average?”, I think most people would snap your hand off for it. It’s no surprise that he came back to Sussex and he took wicket straight away. He has worked very hard to get back fit and be ready for these Test matches. Hopefully, he can get back in the starting XI, contribute and help the England team keep winning. His skill level is probably second to none around the country; every time he goes out he shows it, so good luck to him.
We can’t leave without a word on Bermuda, and I really hope my team-mates can show the necessary improvements from the Uganda tour to at least leave Jersey with some pride restored after the conclusion of ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B. We can’t qualify, but it’s important that we show some progress in this tournament. With things changing in terms of the coaching staff with Niraj Odedra and changes at board with Elliot Wilson in as director of cricket, the only thing is to keep showing progress. Some things don’t get fixed overnight, so it may be a few months, or it may be even a year or two, but as long as this progress is being shown, that’s all you can ask for. With a few more senior figures in the squad for this tour, I think we can see the beginnings of that.
• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith