Cleveland not taking Flatts for granted
Cleveland County have made three changes to their team for the Eastern Counties second round match against Flatts Victoria, bringing in batsmen Aaron Adams and Mishael Paynter, and Hasan Durham, a spin bowler from Southampton Rangers.
The three changes were forced on the champions because of the suspensions handed to Allan Douglas Jr and Dennis Musson, their captain and vice-captain, and Shaki Darrell following incidents which took place in the first round against Bailey's Bay last month.
“I think the batting is stronger with Aaron and Mishael, while Hasan gives us another spinning option,” Carlton Smith, the Cleveland president, said.
Cleveland have retained their colts from the first round, Clay Darrell, Macai McGowan and Isaiah Creighton, and will be captained by Dion Stovell, understood to be the first guest player to captain a team in the 111-year history of the Eastern Counties.
“We can't take anybody for granted, Flatts are going to be hungry,” Smith said. “I had a talk with the players last night and let them know that the preparation on the morning of the last match wasn't up to par.”
Smith accepts that his players' behaviour will be under close scrutiny after the first round. “Yes, they have to be on their best behaviour and respect the umpires' decisions,” Smith said. “I know one of the umpires is Roger Dill, who gets a lot of respect from players.”
Flatts have Kijuan Franks back as captain this season and have included three colts, Ajuan Lamb, Lovintz Tota and Dornielle Farrell. First and foremost the challengers are determined to improve on last year's performance when they were dismissed for just 57 at Sea Breeze Oval.
“Preparations have been going good for us and definitely things will be different this year,” Franks, last season's First Division MVP, said.
“I'm definitely trying to carry on from the season I had last year but my performances have been up and down. Hopefully on the day I can come with some runs and some wickets.”
Franks does not believe that Cleveland will be effected by the events of the past couple of weeks, and expects the champions to be as tough to beat as ever.
Still, the Flatts captain believes his team has what it takes to push their opponents all the way.
“All that controversy will have nothing to do with this game, and the champions are definitely going to be hard to defeat on the day, so we have to bring our A game,” Franks said. “My colt Dornielle Farrell will definitely have a presence that can be felt on the day. He is more a bowling all-rounder who will bat in the middle order.
“[Ajuan] Lamb is no stranger to cricket, even though he's been on and off with his cricket the last few years. [Lovintz] Tota has been the same way, as he's a multi-sport guy, but this year he is taking it more serious, and now he's got the opportunity in the big game.
“Hopefully it is a good game and brings back the spirit and everything that the Eastern Counties is about.”
Cleveland: Dion Stovell (capt), Jason Anderson, Treadwell Gibbons, Adrian Burrows, Mishael Paynter, Damali Bell, Clay Darrell, Aaron Adams, Macai McGowan, Isaiah Creighton, Hasan Durham. Reserves: Rico Trott, Jelani Richardson, O’Shai Darrell.
Flatts: Kijuan Franks (capt), Reggie Baker, Tomiko Wilson, Cofield Robinson, Ajuan Lamb (colt), Dornielle Farrell (colt), Logan Phillips, Lovintz Tota (colt), Nelson Bascome, Vernon Eve, Ryan Belboda. Reserves: Callan Woolridge, Adio Robinson.
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