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St George’s Cup Match hopefuls catch eye in trial win over Cleveland

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Putting hand up for selection: Jarryd Richardson top scored with 58 for St George’s (File photograph)

Wellington Oval (St George’s won the toss): St George’s beat Cleveland County by 217 runs

Some of the players hoping to make it into the St George’s Cup Match team this year played a huge role in steering Clay Smith’s side to a resounding trial-match win over Cleveland County on Saturday.

In an Eastern Counties open cricket format, half-centuries from Jarryd Richardson, Nzari Paynter and former captain Macai Simmons, propelled St George’s to 297 in 64.4 overs.

Kevon Fubler continued to shine with ball in hand for the East Enders and proved tricky to handle for the Cleveland batsmen, with the left-arm spinner taking three wickets for eight runs in five overs.

Fubler was complemented by the Bermuda under-19 duo of Luke Fulton and Luke Horan, who picked up two wickets apiece, with Cleveland wiped out for 80 in 26.2 overs.

Brian Hall has vowed to fight for his spot in the St George’s Cup Match team (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Richardson, who top scored with 58, off 67 deliveries, expressed optimism about his chances of playing in the Annual Classic. The closest the 21-year-old has come to playing was as a reserve in 2022.

“I’m hoping to play Cup Match this year as a wicketkeeper-batsman and I know where I fit into the team,’’ Richardson told The Royal Gazette.

“I’m just hoping that my runs and my batting performance will carry me through come the time to pick the team.

“I just came back from school so I've only played a few games, but I got a hundred last week and scored 50 in this match, so it’s all looking up.

“If selected, I definitely want to bat at the top to middle order as I think that’s where I shine the most.

“There is another trial match against St David’s coming up and then we have the Eastern Counties for Bailey’s Bay before Cup Match.

“Hopefully, some more runs in those games for me just to put my name in the hat for selection.”

Brian Hall, who was selected as a colt last year, has vowed to fight to retain his spot in the team despite not playing much this season with a knee injury. The 32-year-old made a valuable contribution of 42, off 35 balls, coming in to bat at No 9 and also picked up a wicket.

“My goal is retain my spot in Cup Match no matter what the circumstances are,’’ Hall said.

“I feel like in this match I proved that I still have what it takes to represent St George’s in Cup Match.

“I just came out and did what I do best. I batted No 9, the coach had me lower down to get a feel of things again since I had not played cricket in three weeks.

“There’s been hiccups for me this season. I busted a blood vessel in my knee during Cup Match training and I’ve been nursing that injury since then, but I’m still focused.”

Dean Simons looked composed for his patient 74-ball 34 until he was undone by Isaiah Creighton’s full toss, which the opening batsman tried to launch over the boundary only to pick out Tybrae Robinson at long on.

The 22-year-old Simons, a St George’s junior reserve in 2017, feels he is performing well enough to make the team.

“I think I've done enough to deserve selection but it’s now up to the selectors to make their choice,’’ he said.

“It’s been my dream since I was a little boy and it will be a dream come true for me if I get selected.

“The last 12 years it’s been the same team, so once I get into the team I don’t expect to get out until I’m too old.

“I’m looking to play for at least 18 years. I’m a fit young man and I’m just waiting for my opportunity to show why I deserve to be in the team.”

Smith stated that the match against Cleveland was an opportunity to take a glance at the future of St George’s.

“We had a couple of youngsters that we were having a look at and these are very talented youngsters with a bright future for St George’s,’’ the coach said.

“We just wanted to have a look at them prior to the final trial. There has been a lot of cricket, but playing open cricket is a different ball game because they can bowl as much as they want, and they can bat as much as they want.

“We have a lot of talent here and the more opportunities that we have for our selectors to look at them the better.

“Nobody’s place is safe in the team. Some players played Central Counties and some were rested.

“We've played a lot of cricket and we have some niggles, so you have to manage your players. Cup Match is a month away and we have to make sure that we get there healthy and fit.”

The St George’s coach is looking for consistent performances from the players ahead of the final trials.

“It’s all about consistency as a lot of these guys we've been looking at them throughout the whole season,’’ he said.

“At the end of the day we tell our players to go out there and bat longer, try to get big scores and pick themselves.”

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Published July 07, 2024 at 9:11 am (Updated July 07, 2024 at 1:51 pm)

St George’s Cup Match hopefuls catch eye in trial win over Cleveland

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