Bridge bowl over Cuts to clinch Western Counties title
White Hill Field (Willow Cuts won toss): Somerset Bridge beat Willow Cuts by 12 runs
Jubilation filled the air at White Hill Field, as Somerset Bridge claimed the Western Counties Cup with a nail-biting, 12-run victory over Willow Cuts on Saturday.
After many years spent in the cricketing wilderness, with little to celebrate, Bridge’s players and supporters were finally able to savour championship success.
None were more relieved and satisfied than was captain Adrian Burrows, who appeared on the verge of blissful collapse at game’s end.
“I’m excited and at a real loss for words,” said Burrows, brimming with emotion. “Credit to my team, the groundstaff, everyone involved, this was a big victory that was a long time in the making.
“I said before that we were moving in the right direction and sometimes the results we were getting were not necessarily telling the full story.
“Today we put the pieces together with the help of some exceptional guest players, Kamau Leverock and Allan Douglas, to whom we give thanks for playing their role, but this is about the whole team, because it was a total team effort and this is for them.”
Indeed, Bridge owed much of their bowling to the skilful execution of experienced guest players Kamau Leverock and Allan Douglas Jr. However, it was the fearlessness of youth that allowed the challengers to get beyond the century mark.
Struggling at 85 for nine, the teenage duo of Samir Tavares and Callum Macintosh came together and produced a 20-run tenth-wicket stand that, in the end, was the difference between winning the trophy and being forced to endure another year’s misery.
Tavares emerged as the top scorer with 37, while Macintosh was unbeaten on eight.
“I have to commend Samir Tavares, because he has been putting in the work,” said Bridge coach Shane Hollis. “I’ve seen him here since he was a little kid and he’s improved his batting and came through with a vital 37 today.
“I’m just so happy and proud of him and ant to see him continue to prosper in both his cricket and rugby careers.
“I’m thankful that these guys put their faith in me to help guide them. Our success today was a total team effort and I’m proud of all of them.”
The champions initially appeared to have done exactly what they needed to do in the field in limiting their opponents to a modest total.
They were led in the bowling department by the tandem of Kevon Fubler and Dean Stephens, both of whom took four wickets.
Turning to bat Cuts were immediately put under pressure by the lightning-fast pace of Leverock, who seemed inspired by unsavoury comments emanating from the Cuts bench and the bounce and movement garnered by the 6ft 5in Tavares.
After scratching their way to 17 the procession to and from the tent commenced, with only a 40-run sixth-wicket partnership between Chakote Basden (19) and Dominic Sabir (9) and a bunch of wide deliveries threatening to derail the home team’s challenge.
In the end, Leverock’s castling of player-coach Herbie Bascome confirmed Bridge’s ascension, much to the delight of the passionate home supporters.
Leverock returned figures of four for 28, while Douglas took four for 24. The latter also keyed the critical dismissal of Basden, as he guided a straight drive from Sabir on to the stumps at the non-strikers end, which caught Basden backing up.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow at the moment,” said a disappointed Willow Cuts captain Antonio Darrell, who was only able to savour the title for a few weeks before losing his grip. “Unfortunately we lost, but Bridge put up a good fight and we did not dig deep enough with the bat today.
“Cricket is a funny game, but either way congratulations to Somerset Bridge and congratulations to my players to putting forth a good effort and fighting to the end.”
S Riley Burrows b C Basden 12
J Gilbert run out 2
*†A Burrows c and b Stephens 3
K Leverock c Sabir b Stephens 7
A Douglas c Darrell b Stephens 10
D Charles lbw b Stephens 0
N Woods c Bascome b Fubler 5
J Smith lbw b Fubler 6
S Tavares b Fubler 37
K Hollis b Fubler 2
C MacIntosh not out 8
Extras (b 5, nb 3, w 5) 13
Total (29.5 overs) 105
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-20, 3-28, 4-39, 5-39, 6-39, 7-50, 8-66, 9-85.
Bowling: Simons 4-1-14-0; Stephens 8-2-14-4; C Basden 4-1-14-1; Sabir 5-1-19-0; Fubler 6.5-0-29-4; Darrell 2-0-10-0;
†S Bean b Leverock 5
J Manders c Burrows b Woods 13
R Burrows b Leverock 0
A Darrell lbw Douglas 9
D Basden lbw b Douglas 1
D Sabir lbw b Douglas 9
C Basden run out 19
D Stephens b Leverock 5
K Fubler not out 4
M Simons c Gilbert b Douglas 2
H Bascome b Leverock 0
Extras (lb 2, nb 1, w 23) 26
Total (23.4 overs) 93
Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-18, 3-26, 4-37, 5-40, 6-80, 7-82, 8-86, 9-91.
Bowling: Tavares 3-0-10-0; Leverock 7.4-0-28-4; Woods 3-0-6-1; Douglas 6-0-24-4; Riley 2-0-10-0; Gilbert 2-0-13-0.
Umpires: M McCormack and A Knight.
Third umpire: R Dill.