By Sean Devers
The Wales Community Centre ground is not in the Village of Wales but in Patentia and yesterday on a slow
track which offered prodigious turn for the spinners in steaming hot conditions, Berbice recovered from 88-5 to reach 418 against the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Development X1 on the opening day of their third round four-day Inter-County tournament in West Bank Demerara.
Wicketkeeper Anthony Bramble (160) and Royston Crandon (121) featured in a shot-filled double century partnership to engineer a magnificent recovery after joining forces at 88-5 just before lunch.
Crandon, the 31-year-old, who played a single ODI back in 2009, after making his Inter County debut for Berbice in 2003, hammed eight fours and six sixes in his commanding 121 from 128 balls and 151 minutes to follow up his 88 in the first round while 23-year-old Bramble’s entertaining 160, his maiden ton at this level, was decorated with 22 fours and four sixes and lasted 228 minutes and 156 balls to lead the Berbice fight-back after Lunch.
National Under-19 off-spinner Sharaz Ramcharran finished with 4-126. He got support from fellow Guyana youth leg-spinner Steven Sankar, who followed up his eight-wicket haul for Malteenoes over the weekend with 3-92, and Skipper Steven Jacobs (2-52) as Berbice were dismissed 11 minutes before the scheduled close.
Berbice won the toss and elected to bat in an agricultural setting, Kandasammy Surujnarine and Shemroy Hetymer weathered the early storm before settling down nicely against the spin dominated attack.
Hetymer, the elder sibling of West Indies Under-19 opener Shemron Hetymer, looked very accomplished and used his feet sweetly to the spinners as Surujnarine played the supporting role on a lush green and fast outfield as the partnership flourished.
A small but very vocal crowd which had come to the venue mainly to see veteran Shiv Chanderpaul play alongside his son, Taignarine Chanderpaul for the GCB X1, were entertained by attractive batting from the openers as they put together 70 for the first wicket before Surujnarine was removed by Ramcharran after hitting five fours in a 76-ball and 83-minute 31.
The right-handed Hetymer edged a cut at Ramcharran to slip nine runs later after making a stylish 40 with seven fours from 102 minutes and 105 balls. Berbice then suffered a mini collapse as they slumped to 107-5 by Lunch with Devon Clements (1) falling to Sankar at 79-3, Skipper Narsingh Deonarine (2) being dismissed by Ramcharran at 88-4 and Jonathon Foo (1) being trapped LBW to Sankar without addition to the score.
Crandon missed the last game due to a one-match ban imposed by the GCB for breaching the code of conduct in the first round at Bourda but yesterday he and Bramble the carried their team safely to lunch at 106-5 and after the interval consolidated the position with confident stroke-play as both batsmen posted their fifties without too much bother.
Crandon, who relished the sweep and square drive and Bramble, who put the bad balls away with disdain, batted with ease as Skipper Jacobs switched his bowlers around in a futile attempt to dislodge the pair before Tea.
Crandon climbed into Sankar and dumped him for six while Bramble was not to be outgunned by the more senior Crandon and two consecutive covers drives off Yatesh Dhanpaul reached the boundary like bullets.
Crandon launched into Dhanpaul and reached his third Inter County century with a mammoth six. His ton came from 130 minutes, 113 balls with six sixes and three fours. He celebrated by clobbering Dhanpaul even further off the next ball, before finishing off the over with a scorching pull for four to be unbeaten on 112 at Tea.
Bramble was on 98 at the break with Berbice recovering to reach 292-5 with the pair adding 186 without being separated in the second session which belonged entirely to the team from the Ancient County.
During the last session which was delayed by 10 minutes after the official scorers protested for tea, Bramble’s full-blooded sweep brought up his hundred but soon the 212-run sixth wicket stand was broken by the persevering Ramcharran when he had Crandon caught at mid-on at 304-6.
Keon Joseph hammed six fours in a quick-fire 30 while Test spinner Veerasammy Permaul smashed four fours in 24 to take Berbice past the 400 mark before Jacobs took the last two wickets for no run, including Bramble who was ninth out via the LBW route to end the innings.
Today’s action is scheduled to commence at 09:30hrs and a lot will depend on openers Shemron Hetmyer and Taignarine Chanderpaul to produce a good start for the experienced Shiv Chanderpaul and Jacobs to build on, if the GCB unit hopes to successfully chase down Berbice’ imposing total.
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