The sun was out in all its glory for the last two days in Georgetown but while there was no rain in the city since Friday wet areas on the Everest pitch caused an almost three-hour delay to the start of the second round Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) El Dorado 50-over cricket match between defending champions Berbice and Demerara yesterday.
Negligence resulted in the pitch, which was covered, being unfit for play yesterday morning and when play eventually began in sweltering heat at 12:15hrs the overs were reduced to 38 per side after mild protest from the players regarding the consuming of their Lunch due to the short 10-minute change over between innings.
In the end, Demerara reached 128-3 off 31.5 overs replying to the 127 all out made by Berbice off 33.3 overs to win by seven wickets and take the lead in the four-team competition going into tomorrow’s final preliminary round.
The sequence of events leading up to the late start at one of only two First-Class cricket venues in Georgetown is a sad reflection of the appalling decline in standards in local cricket and has prompted the GCB (whose ground committee should take some responsibility for the truncated match) to switch tomorrow’s match from Everest to Bourda due to the tardy work of the ground staff.
A small but vocal crowd saw Berbice struggle throughout their innings on a pitch spin bowlers would love to take wherever they go, as only Jonathon Foo, whose 30 included an effortless straight six off West Indies under-19 leg-spinner Amir Khan, reached 20 for the visitors.
Once Richard Ramdeen (16) was bowled at 21-1 and Skipper Assad Fudadin (9) was magnificently caught by Leon Johnson as Kellon Carmichael struck twice to leave the score on 40-2, Berbice, who beat the President’s X1 in their first match, never recovered.
West Indies players Narsingh Deonarine (18) and Royston Crandon (10) were both dismissed by the impressive Khan and when Foo was trapped leg before to Paul Wintz at 104-6, Berbice were always going to struggle to post a winning total.
Khan ended with 3-22 and medium pacer Carmichael (2-25) and left-arm unorthodox spinner Totaram Bishun (2-25) offered support.
When Demerara began their reply, Trevon Griffith and Shemroy Barrington, who put together 85 in quick time against Essequibo in their first round win, again looked confident and took the score to 48 before Royston Crandon removed them both in the space of five runs.
Barrington was bowled for 10 and Griffith aided in his own demise when well set on 27 by sweeping the off-spinner to short fine-leg.
Steven Latcha got rid of Gajanand Singh (19) just when he was beginning to look ominous at 88-3 before Johnson, who now seems to be back to top form, and fellow left-hander Vishaul Singh (14*) saw their team to victory.
Johnson’s last three innings has produced 43 not out, 67 and 105 and while he has rarely looked bad at the crease, his inability to convert good starts into substantial scores, especially at the first class level, must have been a cause for concern for a hugely gifted player with three ODIs to his name.
His shot selection yesterday was again ‘spot-on’ and suggests that the 24-year-old could be a key player for Guyana in next month Regional One-Day competition as he hit three fours and a six in his responsible unbeaten innings.
Crandon took 2-27 for Berbice who face the tournament’s whipping boys Essequibo, at Bourda in the third round tomorrow.
In today’s other match at DCC, Demerara, the only unbeaten team so far, battle the President’s X1, who mauled Essequibo yesterday, The top two teams will clash in Sunday’s final at Albion. (Sean Devers)
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