The Royal Gazette
National Sports Centre, North Field (Western Stars won toss): St George’s beat Western Stars by 22 runs
St George’s showed Western Stars just why they are the Athene T20 Premier Division defending champions, as they gritted out a win over would-be challengers to their throne.
It was the first loss recorded by the men of St John’s Road in the game’s shorter format following impressive victories over Willow Cuts and St David’s to start the campaign.
Despite limiting the east enders to a modest 115, they also endured trials and disappointments they were unable to overcome while chasing the set target, as they were unable to adhere to the required run rate of less than six runs an over.
As it was, St George’s were able to continue their rich vein of form and build on two earlier victories heading into the Cup Match break as they remained unruffled in the face of danger.
“To be honest, I was a little disappointed with our batting performance today,” said coach Clay Smith.
“I thought we should have come up with at least another 20 runs and we lost wickets at crucial stages, but at the end of the day I thought we showed the depth of our squad.
“We had players down among the lower order that knew how to play, knew what was needed and we executed in a manner that allowed us to get a respectable total.
“The wicket, as well as the outfield being slow, you’re not getting value for strokes out here. You may have seen just three sixes hit out here all day and we have some powerful hitters, but it’s very difficult to hit boundaries on this field so we were always going to be in the match, because we bowl well.”
Smith admitted to having been concerned about the threat posed by in-form opponents, looking for a major scalp.
“I was worried because they’ve been doing well and I’ve been following their success,” Smith said. “They’ve been very good and are a very good unit, so hats off to them, I can see that they’re improving tremendously and this is a big win for us.”
On a dampish, grassy wicket offering turn but little bounce, the east enders made a decent start, looking comfortable on their way to 24, when Jason Anderson disturbed the peace with a stunning dive and catch to his left at mid-wicket to claim Oronde Bascome.
St George’s resumed grafting and managed to reach 66 for two on the back of 28 from opener Macai Simmons and Zeko Burgess’s 21.
However, the men in blue would never recover from the loss of Simmons, which triggered a collapse as they lost their final seven wickets for just 49 runs.
Naquan Smith, the fourth bowler used, claimed three for 27, while Brian Hall followed up his five-wicket haul of a week ago with a brace to keep St George’s parading to and from the pavilion.
In reply, Stars got off to a scratchy start losing captain Tre Manders (12) with the score at 19, but Jaiden Manders (11) and Khiry Furbert buckled down to move the total to 44, when the former was undone by Nzari Paynter’s off-spin, being trapped lbw.
Furbert, who has anchored the two previous innings, welcomed Hall as his partner, but his attempt to press the accelerator resulted in him top-edging an attempted pull of Paynter and skying out to wicketkeeper Smith, who took an easy catch in the middle of the pitch.
The required run-rate climbing and the game slipping away, Stars simply did not have what it took on this afternoon to push beyond the mark against a team acting as champions do.
Paynter emerged with the best bowling figures of two for 22, with three others taking a wicket apiece.
“St George’s are a well-oiled machine,” said Stars coach Jekon Edness.
“They play to their game plan and they do it very well. We’re still early in our progression as a team, so we take this on the chin and move forward, it’s still a long season to go.
“They bowled exceptionally well on the wicket and they’ve spent more time up here on the wicket playing with the national team, so it’s more of a home game for them than us.
“They know the surroundings and how to manage their way through matches. We didn’t bat how we’ve been practicing in training and demonstrate what we’ve been emphasising.
“We just had a discussion as men and we take this one on the chin. We have a few weeks off, with Cup Match going on, but the week after that we hope to hit the ground running with our T20 game.”
M Simmons run out 28
Oronde Bascome c Anderson b Davis 9
Z Burgess c Furbert b Hall 21
*Onias Bascome b Smith 4
J Smith b Hall 3
C Trott b Smith 2
†S Smith run out 5
T Wilson b Smith 5
N Paynter not out 7
S Darrell b Young 9
J McAninly run out 3
Extras (b 6, w 10, nb 3) 19
Total (19.2 overs) 115
Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-55, 3-66, 4-72, 5-77, 6-86, 7-92, 8-94, 9-108.
Bowling: Campbell 4-1-23-0; Davis 4-0-30-1; Young 3.2-0-9-1; Smith 4-0-27-3; Hall 4-0-20-2.
*T Manders c Onias Bascome b Darrell 12
Jaiden Manders lbw b Paynter 11
†K Furbert c S Smith b Paynter 36
B Hall not out 18
D Wellman st S Smith b J Smith 8
M Young st S Smith b Simmons 1
J Anderson not out 1
Extras (nb 2, wd 3, lb 1) 6
Total (5 wkts; 20 overs) 93
S Campbell, Jamori Manders, R Davis, N Smith and D Dowling did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-47, 3-70, 4-91, 5-92.
Bowling: Burgess 2.4-0-13-0; Darrell 4-1-12-1; Simmons 4-0-16-1; Paynter 4-0-22-2; Trott 2-0-18-0; Smith 3-0-11-1.
Umpires: E Carrington and S Caines
Match referee: A Cumberbatch.
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