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St David’s set the benchmark despite drops in standards

The Belco Cup is finally over, but the standard of cricket that was displayed by some of our top players leaves a lot to be desired. There were patches of brilliance and, on the flip side, patches of extremely poor cricket.

One thing that this past weekend showed me is that it will take a very special effort to dethrone St David's as league champions. Individuals do not win titles; teams do!

Last week I predicted Willow Cuts to win the league and they could possibly do so, but it was the performance of St David's that led me to believe that they could be untouchable again this season. To have a team play as badly as they did and still win is scary. Add the inclusion of Kevin Hurdle on a late transfer next month and St David's could be untouchable.

Over the weekend, there were some outstanding individual performances, but three caught my eye more than any.

OJ Pitcher played a phenomenal innings on Saturday in the semi-final against Cleveland, which showed why he is rated as one of the best in Bermuda. He opened the batting and led from the front, which was very bold of him, but it showed his confidence.

Deunte Darrell, on the other hand, batted with poise and controlled aggression over both days. He played a back-foot forcing shot off George O'Brien that raced to the point boundary and left the watching crowd in awe. Deunte proved without a shadow of doubt that he is ready to make that step up to the national level.

The other performance that caught my eye was the fine display of bowling from O'Brien in the final — 10 overs, four wickets, 44 runs. Just when Willow Cuts tried to up the run-rate in the last few overs, George struck. He bowled an incredible spell, mixed with everything: from slower balls, quicker balls, short-pitched, yorker length, basically keeping the batsmen guessing. His control was impeccable.

However, to watch the champions St David's field so poorly and still win made me wonder can anybody realistically beat them. Had St David's held on to their catches, they could have bowled Willow Cuts out for 140 maximum. They dropped no fewer than six catches on the day, and some so relatively easy that you heard one spectator shout out, “My granny could have caught that.”

Mind you, they say that is the sign of a true champion — when you can play bad and still find a way to win.

If Willow Cuts plan on dethroning St David's, they have a lot of hard work to do. Their batting is by far the deepest of any team on the Island. They have a good mixture of youth and experience, but they need focus and commitment. St David's will not just roll over and give their title up.

Willow Cuts must start doing the simple things right, such as getting to games early to warm up so they are mentally prepared to play. They have all the tools necessary to win the title, but do they have the work ethic and focus? Only time will tell!

The league season kicks off this weekend and the game of the week is Willow Cuts against Bailey's Bay at White Hill Field. Cuts have already got the better of Bay in the Belco Cup and I cannot see anything changing this time around; Cuts will look to bounce back from last Sunday and get their title charge off to a good start.

My one challenge to all the players is to be more respectful to the umpires. Appeal and accept the umpire's decision. They are human and at times will make mistakes. If we are to get crowds back out watching our lovely game, we must show them that we know how to act on and off the field of play.

On a different note, Wellington Rovers will be having a benefit match for the founders of the club on May 26 at Garrison Field starting at 3.30pm. All past players are encouraged to come and play a part.

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Published May 23, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 23, 2014 at 1:26 am)

St David’s set the benchmark despite drops in standards

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