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George O’Brien Jr digs deep to propel holders St David’s into Eastern Counties final

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Lord’s (Cleveland won toss): St David’s beat Cleveland by 118 runs

George O’Brien Jr, second right, seen appealing successfully for one of his four wickets, also struck a vital 41 to guide holders St David’s to victory over Cleveland at Lord’s today (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

George O’Brien Jr stamped his authority with the bat and ball to guide holders St David’s to an emphatic win over Cleveland in the Eastern Counties second round at Lord’s on Saturday.

George O’Brien Jr struck a vital 41 and claimed four for 21 to guide holders St David’s to victory over Cleveland at Lord’s today (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The 37-year-old thumped his highest knock in the competition and then blew away Cleveland’s lower order during a menacing spell of seam bowling to extend the hosts’ dominance in the annual midsummer classic.

Occasional spinner Chris Douglas is pumped after bowling Dion Stovell to put St David’s in the driver’s seat (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“George is definitely my MVP,” Justin Pitcher, the St David’s captain, told The Royal Gazette. “He done very well bowling and batting and it was a good game for him.”

O’Brien came to the crease amid a major collapse right after lunch that saw six wickets tumble in the space of 35 runs with Chris Douglas (23), OJ Pitcher (22) and captain Pitcher (2) among the recognised batters back in the pavilion.

At 137 for seven, Cleveland were firmly in the driver’s seat and moving in for the kill.

However, they hit a brick wall in O’Brien who, after playing himself in, put the challenger’s attack to the sword with some powerful blows with the willow.

He hammered four sixes in a swashbuckling knock of 41 from 43 balls and added a vital 47 with Seth Campbell (12) in a ninth-wicket stand that put the match beyond Cleveland’s reach.

“I just knew I could not leave them no extra overs to bat with the total we were sitting on,” O’Brien said. “So the main objective was to bat out the overs and whatever we posted defend.”

The lower-order batter’s aggressive knock ended when he was last man out charging seamer Shakai Darrell with four balls remaining in the innings.

However, the damage had already been done.

“It was coming on nice and I was pushing for the fifty. I wanted to raise my bat but unluckily fell short,” O’Brien added. “It was definitely my best knock yet in Eastern Counties.”

Earlier, opener Dean Simons stroked a maiden fifty and added 49 with Douglas and 53 with OJ Pitcher to get the hosts off to a solid start.

Simons batted with a maturity beyond his years and picked the gaps with some excellent stroke play during his game-high knock of 56 from 84 balls that included two sixes and six fours.

He also rode his luck having been dropped behind by wicketkeeper Bryce Daniels who also failed to stump the same batter after straying outside of his crease.

Simons also received a reprieve on 44 when his sweep shot crossed the deep mid- wicket boundary off the hand of Mackih McGowan for a maximum to bring up his fifty off 80 balls.

Guest player Dion Stovell was brought back into the Cleveland attack for a second spell and made a vital breakthrough when he trapped Simons leg before.

The dismissal triggered a major slide as four wickets fell in the space of eight runs before wicketkeeper Ricardo Brangman (27) and O’Brien mounted a late fightback as St David’s’ tail wagged.

Off-spinner Stovell led the Cleveland bowling with three for 42 while Shakai Darrell took three for 52 and fellow seamer Dennis Musson Jr two for 28.

Cleveland got their reply off to a horrendous start as seamer Campbell plucked out their top order with the new ball.

He made the breakthrough when Kioshi Trott (0) played across the line and was comfortably held at short mid wicket. Campbell then removed Q’Shai Darrell (2) and Clay Darrell (7) with successive deliveries as Cleveland slipped to twelve for three in the wink of an eye.

Stovell stroked a team-high 29 and added a timely 43 with Keith Whorms Jr (13) to steady the ship.

The experienced all-rounder appeared in ominous form but was eventually bowled by occasional off-spinner Douglas with a delivery pitched outside off stump that cut back sharply.

Whorms departed in the next over when he was run out by Macai Simmons’ spectacular direct hit attempting a second run that was never on to leave Cleveland reeling at 71 for five.

First change O’Brien then took over from here as the challengers remaining wickets fell for sixteen runs in the space of six overs.

The experienced seamer bowled McGowan (15) with an inswinger, trapped colt Kristian Singh (0) and Shakai Darrell (6) in front and had last man Musson (2) brilliantly caught by Douglas in the slips to finish with four for 21.

“My openers gave us a good start,” O’Brien said. “That was the game plan and then I thought I’d come in the middle and pick up the rest if possible and it worked.

“I had a lot of assistance off the pitch. The ball was cutting, doing what I wanted it to and it worked out for me.”

Campbell took three for 12 and Douglas two for 32.

“We bowled in good areas and just waited for them to make the mistakes,” Pitcher said. “It was pretty much a nail-biter that could have went both ways.

“All it took was a nice partnership, but that just shows the true fighting spirit of my team. Everybody fought together.”

Makai Young, the Cleveland captain, was left to rue his side inconsistency with the bat.

“It was a great toss to win and bowl them out for a good score,” he said.

“However, we were missing that killer instinct in the batting department, which has been an up and down thing for us all year.”


St David’s

C Douglas c Q Darrell b Musson 23

D Simons lbw b Stovell 56

OJ Pitcher lbw b Stovell 22

S Pitcher lbw b Stovell 0

†R Brangman c Whorms b Young 27

M Simmons c C Darrell b S Darrell 5

D Bascome run out 10

*J Pitcher b S Darrell 2

G O’Brien Jr b S Darrell 41

S Campbell c Young b Musson 12

C Outerbridge not out 0

Extras (b 5, lb 1, nb 1) 7

Total (57.2 overs) 205

Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-102, 3-102, 4-103, 5-110, 6-133, 7-137, 8-152, 9-199.

Bowling: McGowan 3-0-21-0; S Darrell 18-4-46-2; Stovell 16-2-42-3; Whorms 4-0-17-0; Musson 7-1-28-2; Young 6-1-22-1; Q Darrell 3-0-17-0


C Darrell b Campbell 7

K Trott c S Pitcher b Campbell 0

Q Darrell c O’Brien b Campbell 2

D Stovell b Douglas 29

K Whorms run out 13

M McGowan b O’Brien 15

*M Young c Brangman b Douglas 1

K Singh lbw b O’Brien 0

D Musson c Douglas b O’Brien 2

S Darrell lbw b O’Brien 6

†B Daniels not out 6

Extras (lb 4, nb 1) 5

Total (23.3 overs) 87

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-12, 3-12, 4-55, 5-70, 6-71, 7-71, 8-73, 9-80.

Bowling: Outerbridge 7-0-22-0; Campbell 5-1-10-3; O’Brien 6.3-1-21-4; Douglas 5-0-21-2.

Umpires: E Carrington and S Smith.

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Published August 15, 2022 at 7:37 am (Updated August 15, 2022 at 7:37 am)

George O’Brien Jr digs deep to propel holders St David’s into Eastern Counties final

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