POINTS leaders and former champions Berbice must be smiling broadly, knowing that their opponents for the final round of the Guyana Cricket Board organised Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company/Hand-in-Hand jointly sponsored four day tournament, Essequibo, have lost both matches to date and are no threat to them.The final round is set to bowl off today –weather permitting- with Berbice who have 18 points following their 10 wicket victory over defending champions Demerara in the last round and first innings win over President’s XI, take on the pointless Essequibo at the Everest Cricket Club ground at 09:30hrs.
At the Uitvlugt Community Centre ground, the second placed President’s XI who are on 15 points, will take on Demerara (12 points) in a game, which will not change the position at the top, unless Berbice loses to Essequibo or if there is no play at Everest ,and Demerara loses the contest outright.
Berbice’ task to record another victory and take the four-day title will rest on the shoulders of inform batsman and the tournament’s leading runscorer , Royston Crandon (207 runs), skipper Sewnarine Chattergoon, Assad Fudadin, Jonathan Foo and Krisendat Ramoo.
Added support will come from Kandasammy Surujnarine, Rajiv Ivan, Devon Clements, Anthony D’Andrade, wicketkeeper/batsman Anthony Bramble and discarded West Indies leg spinner Devendra Bishoo, who is no rabbit with the bat.
Bishoo has 19 wickets with the ball, including a 10 wicket haul against Demerara in the last round, while Crandon has been giving him worthy and valuable support with his off-spin, even as Raun Johnson and Keon Joseph do their amicable best with the new ball.
This Essequibo team selected is a young and relatively inexperienced group, with only Royan Fredericks, Kevon Boodie, Dillon Heyliger and skipper Anthony Adams having the experience at this level before.
Despite such, they have struggled against the spin of Collis Butts and Steven Sankar for the President’s XI and Amir Khan and Zaheer Mohammed for Demerara and taking into consideration the present form of Bishoo and Crandon, its impossible to even fathom the Essequibians counter-acting this duo.
Fredericks will have to be the one leading from the front with the bat, since Heyliger, who has played semi-professionally in England, seems content on bragging about his past achievements, while the County needs it now.
Seventeen (17) year old Parsram Parsotam, Kemo Paul and Ricardo Peters, are all useful customers with the bat, but surprisingly, the technical staff asked Peters, who was productive for the Cinderella County in the GCB Under-19 tournament earlier this year, to bat at number eight.
Heyliger, Adams, Fredericks, Mark Tyrell, Keanu Harry and Heemchand Persaud will take charge of the bowling department for Essequibo, who even if they don’t come away with the win, will be looking to at least garner some points and salvage their pride, whether rain assisted or not.
At Uitvlugt, the star studded Demerara line up led by Leon Johnson and including Ramnaresh Sarwan, Derwin Christian, Amir Khan and Christopher Barnwell who all have West Indies experience at some level or the other, will be looking at redemption.
There is also, Trevon Griffith, who like Khan played for the West Indies at the Under-19 level, Zaheer Mohammed, Christopher Pattadin, Steven Jacobs, Trevon Griffith, Paul Wintz, Totaram Bishun and Rajendra Chandrika, who all have experience for Guyana in various age groups.
Yet still, they succumbed to Berbice inside two days and a session, as Bishoo and Crandon went on a wicket taking spree, backed by Joseph and Johnson.
The President’s XI are no pushovers, as they showed against both Berbice and Essequibo, since they held the former to a draw with skipper Vishal Singh hitting a resilient century, which he followed up with a polish 85 against Essequibo, backed by debut half centuries from Jason Sinclair and Shaquille Williams and a patient Ryan Ramdass.
Their bowling has been spot on as well, with left arm pacer Andre Stoll hitting the right line and length, while getting the ball to move away and into the batsmen, even as Seon Daniels and Romario Shepherd-DeJonge are coming into their own at the other end.
Butts, Williams and Sankar are all worthy customers with the ball in hand, especially after the pacers have taken the sheen off of it, and with several players such as Kellon Carmichael and Shemroy Barrington looking to stake a claim for national selection, this encounter, if it gets underway will be an interesting one to witness.
Umpires Matthew Kissoon and Zaheer Mohamed will officiate in the match at Uitvlugt ground, with Sukhdeo being the standby and at Everest, Nigel Duguid and Colin Alfred will take the field while Shannon Crawford will be the standby official.