St George’s put faith in Simmons

  • Captain’s duties: all-rounder Simmons has been tasked with leading St George’s to Cup Match glory in next month’s classic at Wellington Oval (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

OJ Pitcher has stepped down as captain of the St George’s Cup Match team after two years and has been replaced by Macai Simmons, club president Neil Paynter confirmed yesterday.

Pitcher took over as captain in 2015 after the team’s heavy defeat the previous year which resulted in Oronde Bascome’s resignation.

“OJ stood down and we made the decision to go with Macai,” Paynter said.

“He didn’t hesitate to take the position, we’re very pleased that he has accepted. We have all the confidence in Macai.”

According to Paynter, Simmons, the captain of the First Division team, expressed an interest in the captaincy, as did Pitcher, initially, before a change of heart.

“OJ wrote in to be captain but before we made the decision he stepped down,” Paynter said.

Simmons takes charge with only two years of Cup Match experience after making his debut under Pitcher in 2015.

He scored 16 and 30 that year as St George’s suffered an eight-wicket loss, their first home defeat in 34 years. Last year Simmons was vice-captain to Pitcher in the drawn match at Somerset Cricket Club.

“He’s kind of green as a captain, but we’re going to put some senior players around him to support him,” Damon Walker, the chairman of the selectors, said.

“I’m anticipating him to do well as captain, I have all the confidence in Macai as captain of St George’s Cricket Club.

“This is his third year as our league captain and I’ve seen him mature a lot, especially coming into this season, which gave the club management a bit more confidence in his selection. OJ was at training yesterday and he’s still got every wish to be a part of our team. This team is going to be extremely hard to pick this year, we’ve got a really good pool of players to choose from.”

St George’s will play their second trial match tomorrow when they meet St David’s for the Turkey Barnes Trophy at Wellington Oval.

St George’s team: Macai Simmons, Treadwell Gibbons, Onias Bascome, Sinclair Smith, Lionel Cann, Detroy Smith, Charles Trott, Kyle Hodsoll, Zeko Burgess, Isaiah Greaves, Azende Furbert, Rodney Trott, Ryan Steede.

n St David’s, the defending Premier Division, will go in search of a sixth straight against bottom team Cleveland County at Wellington Oval on Sunday.

Premier Division teams are back in action after last weekend’s break, with St David’s the strong favourites for a second successive title going into the second round of matches.

Bay, who will meet St David’s in the first round of the Eastern Counties next Saturday, play Southampton Rangers at Southampton Oval while Somerset host Western Stars in the other match between two mid-table teams.

In the two First Division matches this weekend, Willow Cuts play Flatts at Somerset Cricket Club tomorrow while Sunday’s only match pits Somerset Bridge against former leaders PHC at White Hill Field.

PHC suffered their first loss against Flatts at Lord’s last weekend. However, with leaders St George’s having a bye this weekend, PHC will look to bounce back and reclaim top spot.

n This weekend’s opening games in the second annual Warrington “Soup” Zuill Masters Twenty20 League have been postponed, organiser Hoyt Zuill confirmed.

“I have decided to postpone this weekend’s matches to give captains more time to get their players together,” Zuill said of the matches which are scheduled for Somerset Cricket Club.

Zuill is inviting any interested players to contact him at 504-4698 or on Players whose kits have been ordered by Zuill can contact him to collect the uniforms.

Tucker named as Somerset selector, page 47