Somerset retain their crown

  • High fives: Somerset players celebrate (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Somerset players celebrate another wicket in the St George's second innings yesterday at Wellington Oval  (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Cup Match Day 2 (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Jordan DeSilva, the Somerset captain, is congratulted after reaching his 50 yesterday as Somerset took a slim first innings lead of 18  (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Champions Somerset retained their title after this year’s Cup Match ended in a draw at Wellington Oval yesterday.

The match was poised for an thrilling climax with Somerset chasing a victory target of 136 in 11 overs.

However, stumps were pulled after Somerset’s Dion Stovell, promoted up the order to opener, was struck in the head by the first delivery of their second innings from Justin Pitcher.

After being attended to by medics at the crease, the experienced all rounder was taken to hospital for further observation and released last night.

It was a most unfortunate turn of events for Stovell who had earlier produced a battling display with the bat that saved the match for the champions, who started the second day in a spot of bother at 119 for four in reply to St George’s 297 for six declared.

The early order bat stroked 79 and along with Jordan DeSilva, Somerset’s captain, added 102 runs for the sixth wicket to put Somerset back on track.

“I think the innings of Dion Stovell put us back in control,” Jeff Richardson, the Somerset coach, said.

“Our objective going into the second day was not to lose wickets before lunch and then after that chip away at the score.

“Once we passed their score we knew we could not lose the match so there was always an opportunity to try and win it.

“We came down first to try and win and I was very pleased with the team’s performance.”

DeSilva, who stroked 77, added: “We were not worried about how fast we were scoring, it was all about time.

“The first goal like coach (Richardson) said was to get to lunch and then anything after that was a bonus and I think we batted maybe two hours after lunch.”

As for his own innings, DeSilva said: “I thought it was one of a lot of patience and a lot of luck but I guess you need that at times.

“I just tried to do what the team needed, which was to bat for a long period.

“I feel like I was unfortunate not to get a hundred. However I would’ve took 76 at the start of the day.”

DeSilva said his team’s unity helped pull them through the difficult times in the match.

“Our biggest strength is our camaraderie as a team, everyone plays for each other and gets along and fights for each other,” he added.

“We are just a tight knit team and the coach (Richardson) has to take a lot of credit for that.

“He has been here since we won the cup back and he instilled things that if you are not willing to abide by those things then you cannot be a part of this team, and that’s our biggest thing.

“We have talented players, but at the end of the day we are a family and that’s the biggest thing that gets us through these two days.”

St George’s were left to rue what might have been had they held more of the plethora of catches that came their way.

“After the first day, I felt very confident that if we took our catches we could win this match and sure enough that didn’t play out,” Wendell Smith, the St George’s coach, said.“We dropped at least seven catches and people who went on to get half centuries would’ve never done that had we played characteristic of a St George’s team normally as far as our catches.

“We would’ve been in this game and probably in the driver’s seat with maybe a 50-run lead, but as it turned out we had a deficit.”

Lionel Cann, the St George’s captain, added: “We dropped eight catches and when you drop eight catches and you’re trying to win the trophy that is never going to happen.

“But all in all it was a good Cup Match. It was a good, honest outing by the boys.

“We’ve stopped the bleeding from last year and we have something in the nucleus that we have and the boys will be happy at the end of the day.”

Smith added: “There were a lot positives in the St George’s camp, but we have to tighten up our bowling and it was just a case of dropped catches which cost us to not win that match.”

Full report, page 27