The time has come
Well, the big day is finally here. There has been a lot said and written since my decision to leave Sussex, with much of it pointing towards my availability to play my second Cup Match. Thankfully, I was selected and now I will be giving my all to help St George’s beat Somerset for the first time in more than a decade.
But the Annual Classic is not all about me. Anyone who thinks that Delray Rawlins suddenly shifts the pendulum does not know cricket or appreciate how good this Somerset team is. We will have our work cut out for us, but I have full belief in my team that we can get the job done.
Things have been going well in St George’s. We started training a little bit earlier, have been putting ourselves in different scenarios, and are trying to get the best out of certain players. I think both coach and captain are very happy with our selection, and I imagine the same would be for Somerset. Cup Match is one of those things that on the day, you just never know. It’s the big event of the year, and one of those days that hopefully guys on your side turn up, put their hand up, and go and put your team in a positive position.
Both teams will be going hard at each other, but at the end of the day many of us are good mates — and most are with me in the national team. What follows is my take on every player while wishing them all the best of luck — although, in Somerset’s case, not too much luck!
Onias Bascome (captain)
As a leader, he is well respected by the guys, and his skill set speaks for itself — not only in Cup Match but in league cricket. We saw a game earlier this year, one of his first games back from injury, when he got a big hundred for his team and won them the game. I’m just expecting him to be that solid player he is. You know what you’re going to get from him. He motivates the guys and, like I said, he’s got a lot of respect. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to him leading us very well.
Sinclair Smith (vice-captain, wicketkeeper)
He’s second to none in the art in terms of his glovework. You know what you’re going to get with him. With the bat, there’s probably a lot of speculation as to where he’s going to pop up in the batting order. A very good cricket brain. Being the wicketkeeper, he’s very helpful with angles and potential bowling changes. I’m just looking forward to him putting on a show behind the stumps and helping us to win the game.
Treadwell Gibbons Jr
A positive player. Very aggressive, not only with his batting style but just the way he approaches the game. He’ll always look to take positive option, which is always encouraged, and is something that I quite like. More than handy with the ball and also very good in the field. So, yeah, good all-round cricketer and someone on his day who could be a match-winner.
The spearhead of the attack. I wouldn’t say he has a lot of pressure on him, but he has a big role. Watching his final trial, he actually bowled some pretty quick balls. On that day with the crowd around and the adrenalin going, I expect to see some high pace from him, and for him to knock over a few players and get us started very well.
Azendé Furbert (colt)
His character and the way he approaches the game, you probably wouldn’t know that he’s a colt. I played a lot of youth cricket with Azendé, and obviously have been playing with him a lot this year at Bailey’s Bay. I’m looking forward to watching him play, watching him first-hand. He has put in a lot of work this summer and has got his reward. I would expect not only good things in this game but in the next few Cup Matches in years to come. He’s going to be a big player for St George’s.
You don’t really have to say much about Rodney. He is one of those guys that you just never doubt, whether it’s with bat or ball. We’ve seen him over the years used at the top of the order, middle order. With the ball, he does the hard yards — he bowls the tough overs. When you potentially need a wicket, you go to him. Versatile and very, very good at what he does.
One of the guys that isn’t talked about a lot, but he’s very dangerous. With the ball, left-arm, something very different to what people face on a regular. It’s a different angle and his cricket smarts are getting a lot better. With the bat, we’ve seen that he’s very destructive in the manner that he plays. If we use him in the right way in terms of potentially up and down the order, I think we could get the best out of him.
Brian Hall (colt)
Another guy that the colt tag or label next to him is just because it’s his first year. But I don’t think you’ll see many nerves from Brian — not if you know him or you’ve seen him play. His approach is going to be the same as in any game that he plays. He’s a very bubbly guy and is quite good around the group. He gives guys a good laugh, but I think you’ll see his skill level definitely on the two days with the bat and also with the ball. He’s a handy customer, a very tricky customer sometimes with the ball. I’m looking forward to watching him.
Allan Douglas Jr
His performance in the final trial speaks for itself, to go out and play in that manner. He didn’t just go out and slog; he actually played cricket shots throughout the whole innings. To see it first-hand, being on the field, I was actually enjoying it, to be fair. That’s what we can expect from him on the day. A very dangerous cricketer. Excellent in the field. And with the ball, he has the ability to create chances. Whenever Allan is around, there’s always a lot of theatre. I hope we get the winning ticket.
Solid. More than capable with the ball, as we’ve seen in league cricket and also throughout a few Cup Matches. Not sure where he might end up in the batting order, but he can be a very dangerous player, especially if he’s held back down the order. The cricket smarts are there; someone for Onias to lean on.
Jordan DeSilva (captain)
Experienced customer who has been around quite a while as captain. He goes about it in his way, and his way works. Very calm, cool, collected. Very smart with both bat and ball. As a captain, he looks like he leads that team very well, so I can't see anything changing this year.
Terryn Fray (vice-captain)
His skill level is something that’s on show every time you watch him play. He’s up there as one of the better players in Bermuda. Sometimes makes things look very easy. I’m pretty envious of him when he plays cricket shots like that. I wouldn’t say I’m looking forward to watching too much of it at Cup Match. But if it does come out, there’s nothing you could do, and you just have to applaud and say, “Well batted”. Cricket smarts, cricket brain on the field, and someone I lean on in the national squad. I can’t see his role or anything that he’s been doing changing over the next two days.
I’m going to call him annoying because he comes in a situation sometimes when you think you might have a team on the ropes, or you get an early wicket, and he just settles things down. Stroke play, up and down the gears, makes it look very easy and makes it hard for you to get him out. Hopefully we can get into him early.
My good mate. I’m actually looking forward to playing against him because I don’t think I’ve played cricket against him for six years. The last time, he actually got me out, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be reminded of that. A destructive player on his day. With the ball, you could see some serious pace — some high, high pace and some high skill. Yeah, it should be a good contest with him. I know it’s something that he’s been looking forward to.
I’m going to go as far as saying that he’s up there as one of the best athletes to have ever graced the island — just all-round! Time and time again, he shows it — whether it’s for his league team or in Cup Match, last year scoring a hundred. Annoying. Very annoying and hard to get out. Puts a price on his wicket, but also has that destructive manner about him. When he feels it’s his time and he could get at someone, he definitely does. A wicket that if we get it early, it’s a real positive and bonus for us. Top off-spin bowler.
Young and raw, even though he has played a few Cup Matches. He’s got talent and skill. It’s just about trying not to let him settle and get in. Like the others before, we need to try to get into him early and send him back. If you let him get in, then you’re going to see the talent and his skill level come out. We don’t want that.
Chris is one of the best cricketers or best opening batters the island has seen in the past ten to 15 years. He shows it every Cup Match in getting Somerset off to a flyer. Quite often, you see the first ball of the game go for four, and that just shows you the skill level but also the character and the mindset he has towards the game — to just be positive, no matter what. We need to restrict him early, restrict his scoring shots, and hopefully have them one down early. Having him back in the hutch would be nice.
The name speaks for itself as the starting point of that wonder catch by Dwayne “Sluggo” Leverock at the 2007 World Cup. He’s always a danger with both bat and ball. Versatile with his skill levels, doing the job that is required as a pacer, slow medium or even spinner. His cricket smarts are second to none; probably up there with some of the best to do it. With him, it is best to be patient — when you’re facing him as a batter and even when you’re bowling to him. He’s one of those players that you don’t want him to out-think you, or at least know that he has, because that's when he’s got you.
Steven Bremar Jr (wicketkeeper)
Destructive. Dangerous. He is going to take the gloves as well, and is someone who behind the stumps has a presence — obviously with his size, but also in the way he carries himself on the field. We should try not to let him take that aura into his batting.
If I say he underrated, people would probably say, “No, he is not”, but I think he puts in a lot of hard yards for Somerset. Throughout the years, he has got some important wickets, run-outs, catches. Also very handy down the order with the bat. So a good all-round cricketer. We need to limit his wicket-taking ability, put him under pressure and not let him bowl to us.
Macquille Walker (colt)
Again, just like with Azendé Furbert and Brian Hall, the colt tag probably is only there because it’s his first year. We saw him at Eastern Counties taking six wickets against St David’s. To get a front-row view of that from first slip was pretty special — to see the skill level, the consistency, the pressure that he put on players. Well deserved for him to get this opportunity. Even though he’s in the opposition, I called him the next day and I was happy for him. Looking forward to seeing his skills in the Cup Match classic.
• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith