Flatts a family affair for Leverock
Kamau Leverock may be the only colt in today’s Eastern Counties Cup final, but Flatts are putting their hopes on the Cardiff-based all-rounder to shine with bat and ball against holders Bailey’s Bay at Lord’s.
The challengers were boosted by Leverock’s return this week and they are hoping he can follow up on his performance in Cup Match last month as Flatts bid to end a long winless run in the competition.
Leverock scored a boundary-filled 32 off 30 balls in Cup Match and claimed two wickets in each innings. He has strong family ties in the Flatts community, related to the Woolridges on his mother’s side, with great-uncles Randall and Rodney Woolridge both former Flatts players. Uncle Dwayne “Sluggo” Leverock also played county cricket for Flatts.
“When you have somebody of that calibre coming into your team, that is definitely somebody you can look to for leadership and performance,” said captain Kijuan Franks, who expressed satisfaction with the team the club selected on Thursday night.
Leverock is capable of opening both the batting and bowling, but Franks is not sure if the left-hander will open with the bat. “We haven’t identified our batting line-up,” he said.
One opening spot looks certain to go to Temiko Wilson, who is selected from the outset this year after controversially being left out of last year’s team that played Cleveland, only to be included the next day ahead of Okera Bascome, who had been named as a colt.
Wilson is one of three wicketkeepers in the team, along with Ajuan Lamb and Regino Smith, but Franks confirmed Smith as the wicketkeeper yesterday.
The Flatts batting has some depth with Smith, Franks, Reggie Baker, Leverock, Christof Van Tonder, Lambe and Cofield Robinson all expected to play important roles. Smith is still remembered for an innings of 145 against Bailey’s Bay in 2012 at Sea Breeze Oval, although he failed to reach double figures in his next three innings.
Seam bowler Nelson Bascome and veteran spinner Vernon Eve will share the bowling load with Leverock, along with captain Franks and all-rounder Dajon Carey. Eve, who made his debut in 2001, has 14 wickets in the competition, including best figures of four for 30 off 19 overs against Bay in 2012. Bascome, who made his debut in that same match against St David’s 16 years ago, has best figures of three for 52 in 2013 against St David’s and three for 63 the next year against Cleveland.
“It’s a strong team, a difficult job picking the team but we picked the strongest team possible to go down there and win the cup,” Franks said. “We know what we’re up against, we’re playing a well-disciplined side in all aspects of the game.
“We have to come with our A-game and play a total game; not like previous years when we had a good batting performance but bowled bad, or bowled good and batted bad.”
Last year, Franks rued the number of catches his team put down against Cleveland at Sea Breeze Oval, which cost them as rain also interrupted their run chase as Cleveland posted 185 for nine.
“We let the game go in the end with our fielding,” said Franks after the game, as he was voted MVP for his five-for-40 haul.
“They got 50 or 60 too many runs and with the rain when we were going to bat, it just made it a monumental task to get 185 in 24 overs. And they still didn’t bowl their 24 overs.”
Now Franks and his team-mates are determined not to make the same mistakes.
“The rain wouldn’t have been a factor if we had taken our catches,” Franks said yesterday. “Unfortunately all the catches were dropped off Nelson Bascome’s bowling so he was a little hard-done by.
“Definitely our catches cost us winning the cup. We have been put through our paces and we’re ready to go.”
Bay again have great depth in their batting, having made just one change, with Dennico Hollis coming in for Tre Govia. Captain Rodney Trott and vice-captain Terryn Fray led them to victory over Cleveland in the last round after sharing in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 85 when Bay lost two early wickets chasing Cleveland’s modest 89.
Stephen Outerbridge is the highest scorer among the present Bay players, with 852 runs in 28 innings since his debut in 1997. Trott’s 51 not out in the last round took his total runs to 319 from 19 innings. He has also taken 26 wickets since his debut in 2002, including best figures of six for 48 against St David’s in 2003, which included a hat-trick.
• Three One First Division matches will be played tomorrow, with St George’s in a position to wrap up the automatic promotion spot when they play PHC at Wellington Oval. They lead second-placed Flatts by 26 points with two games remaining. Flatts play Devonshire Rec at St David’s while Willow Cuts meet Somerset Bridge at Somerset in the other match. All matches will start at 10am in the final month of the season.
Last weekend’s rained out Premier Division matches will take place next Sunday, although Bailey’s Bay and St David’s have opted not to play their match, according to the Bermuda Cricket Board. St David’s have wrapped up the title while Bay, in second, lead Southampton Rangers by 16 points with a game remaining.