Led by a Man-of the-Match performance from Timothy McAlmont, GCC captured their fourth GCA’s NBS 40-over Second Division Cricket title when they crushed Everest by 162 runs in the day/night final on Saturday at DCC to claim the NBS trophy and the winner’s prize of $150,000.
Everest took the runners-up prize of $90,000, while losing semi-finalists MYO and Police collected $50,000 each.
McAlmont hit seven fours and a six in a 53-ball 65 after Winston Forester reached the boundary nine times in his 62 from 63 balls and shared in a 93-run opening stand with Martin Pestano-Bell, who hit two fours and a six in 32, to set the foundation for GCC’s 260-9 in 40 overs.
Deonarine Gopaul, who was run out for 45, put together 107 with McAlmont for the third wicket, while Carlos La Rose hit two sixes in 15 to be the other GCC batsman to reach double figures.
Travis Mohamed (2-44 from 6 overs) and Amir Khan (2-25 from 8 overs) bowled well for Everest who reached 98-9 innings closed from 28 overs.
Former Guyana U-19 player, 33-year-old Sauid Drepaul returned to competitive cricket with 48 with six fours and two sixes from 67 balls but only openers Dwayne Adams (18) and Renaldo Renee (13) of the others reached double figures.
Pacer Bernard Bailey (3-31), Renaldo Alli-Mohamed (3-26) and Devon Lord (2-15) bowled GCC to its first title since winning the first three to dethrone defending Champions DCC.
Although the lights on the small ground was not ideal and put the team batting at night at a huge disadvantage, the vocal crowd, which included Dr Shiv Chanderpaul, former Government Ministers and ex Test cricketers, produced a fantastic atmosphere as GCA officials Shawn Massiah and Colin Alfred provided updates vie a PA system.
In bright sunshine, GCC, who have appeared in six of the seven finals since the tournament began in 2013, predictably opted to bat on a slow track and fast outfield.
Forester cut pacer Raylex Payne for four in the first over before pulling him to the mid-wicket boundary in his next over.
Forester swept off-spinner Saheed Mohamed, who opened the bowling, for four before steering him to the third-man boundary as Pestano-Bell played the supporting role.
The 50 was posted in 10 overs and Pestano-Bell celebrated by depositing Payne back over his head for six as the partnership flourished.
Pestano-Bell pulled left-arm spinner Dwayne Adams for four before former Guyana First-Class leg-spinner Amir Khan removed him to break the 93-run stand.
Forester used his feet to former National U-19 off spinner Richie Looknauth and skied to cover where Saheed Mohamed, fielding with a broken finger, took a very good catch on the fourth attempt, running back, at 109-2.
Seegobin and McAlmont joined forces and dominated the bowlers with an array of entertaining shots before McAlmont, who reached 50 from 41 balls, brought up the century partnership from 88 balls by smashing Travis Mohamed for six.
McAlmont was stumped at 213-3 off Khan, who got the ball to bounce and turn, before Seegobin was run out.
Renaldo Alli Mohamed (9) and Joshua Wade (2) did not last long as Travis Mohamed removed them both in the space of two runs as Saheed Mohamed took his third catch when Ward was taken on the mid-wicket boundary to leave GCC on 237-6.
Gavin Singh and Carlos La Rose took the score to 256 before La Rose, who clobbered Adams for consecutive sixes in the penultimate over, was stumped as Adams had the last laugh.
Devon Lord (5) was bowled by Travis Mohamed before Bailey (1) was run out as GCC lost their last five wickets for 23 runs.
Everest began their reply under lights erected for ‘Softball Cricket’ and Renaldo Renee and Adams took the score to 24 before Renee was removed by the energetic Bailey who also got rid Mandrekar Bhola (1) and Khan for a first ball duck, as Everest slipped to 27-3.
Adams counterattacked and dumped Singh for six before pulling a ‘free hit’ from Bailey into the DCC pavilion before he was LBW to Singh at 38-4 in the 10th over.
Looknauth (7) was LBW 10 runs later, while Saheed Mohamed, who played in the Stanford T20 for the Caymans Islands, was bowled first ball as Ali-Mohamed struck twice on 48.
Drepaul was especially severe on Ali-Mohamed; hammering for three bullet-like boundaries down the ground before dumping Lord onto the sightscreen.
Mangal (3) was bowled by Ali-Mohamed on 63-7 and Payne (1) fell to Lord at 78-9 but Drepaul continued to go after the bowlers before he charged Lord and was bowled to spark wild celebrations for the GCC fans.
NBS Director and former Minister of Labour Dr Nanda Gopaul expressed satisfaction with the way the competition was run and pledged his Company’s continued support.
“This is the seventh year we are sponsoring this tournament and we are pleased that it is producing players who progress to the West Indies team,” disclosed Dr Gopaul, who informed that NBS also sponsors a similar competition in Berbice.
GCA President, former Test off-spinner Roger Harper thanked NBS for their sponsorship and congratulated GCC for winning again and Everest for reaching their first Final.
GCC (4), DCC (2) and TSC (1) have won the NBS Trophy. (Story and Photos by Sean Devers)
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