24 November 2015
The following report was presented to the CCC Board of Directors meeting today, by Simon Prodger ; CCC Secretary, & Manager of our Representative team.
The CCC Centenary Tour was an outstanding success.
In terms of matches played, the Representative side were blighted by rain in Grenada where only one of the three matches scheduled was possible. At the beautiful La Sagesse ground, CCC roundly defeated the Royal Grenada Police. Despite the lack of cricket, our influence was sufficient for two of us to be summoned for a live interview on Government TV, which went out at breakfast time and rudely interrupted John Poore’s morning constitutionals as far away as Barbados !!
In Barbados, the 50 or so that had travelled to Grenada were joined by the Women’s squad and the remnants of the Veteran’s. Each of those sides had three matches on the island and the Women in particular found themselves up against opposition often a cut above their own general ability. Although they lost all three games, they did so despite some real fight and brilliant fielding and bowling. At no stage were they outgunned but our batting was too weak to truly compete, relying heavily on Amara Carr, an England High Performance player. In all three matches they came across the majority of the Barbados national squad, including the odd West Indian star - they return home proud and unbowed.
The Veteran’s were soundly beaten on all three occasions: the difference between Masters cricket (40+) in Barbados and Vets cricket (50+) in England was clearly evident, and in one match ‘Masters’ was disregarded entirely by the opposition. What the Vet’s anticipated as social cricket, was of course, entirely the opposite in the minds and attitudes of their opponents ! Nevertheless, old friendships were revisited and new ones made, and the local economy was buoyed significantly by a group of middle-agers determined to defy time and toy like Peter Pan. Some of them brought their Tinkerbells with them, which enhanced the general bonhomie the tour group greatly.
The Rep side, once in Barbados, was put to work in no uncertain terms. An initial and again comfortable victory against a decent Wanderers side where Jamie Southgate posted the extraordinary bowling figures of 7-10 off 7 overs, was countered by two successive T20 loses the following day at University of West Indies, to the hosts and Barbados Defence Force. Neither were slaughters - far from it - but this form of the game does not sit easily with CCC as it requires a lot of squad training which of course, we cannot do. Both UWI and BDF are essentially full time cricket squads and in the field in particular, as with their range hitting, they demonstrated superior skills that effected victories impossible to deny.
The next game was against a Barbados Select XI - the island’s second string; the quality of opposition was ratcheted up again, as Barbados included 3 players trying to get back into the 4 day side, along with some young stars anticipating a berth in the 4 day side when 4 of the current team fly to Australia later this month. An outstanding game, sadly rain effected in the end, ensued. Throughout the tour, CCC’s bowlers excelled, despite constant injuries to two of the seamers and in restricting a powerful Barbados batting line up to 216 off 50, they did a superb job in batting friendly conditions. The rain fell in the second innings, following our top 3 being blown away by genuine pace. The revised target - 118 from 21 overs played to our advantage but despite a defiant innings from Richard Wharton, who battled to hold our reply together, CCC fell 7 runs short, losing the last wicket off the 4th ball of the last over. A slightly invective address from the opposition coach, Dexter Dottin (“the best team won and let’s hope you learned something from this, playing superior opponents"), was stored away in the memory banks as we were scheduled to meet the same squad two days later in the finale at Kensington Oval. In truth, it was a game we should have won and conspired to lose, but positives were garnered, particularly the leadership of Ed Wharton and Maruf Chowdhury as seamers, and our battery of off spinners, fronted by Dan Yarnley, Jamie Southgate and Adam Riley, who as a unit, strangled the Select XI’s batting throughout.
A fine win against Royal Barbados Police by 100 runs set up the last match of the tour. Batting first Edddie Ballard’s only contribution on the pitch saw him hit 60, but this was trumped by an outstanding 57 not out from Waqas Hussain at the close of the innings. The longest and slowest outfield I’ve ever seen meant that CCC’s 226 was more akin to 326 under normal circumstances. In defending our total, Ed Wharton produced the next ‘magic’ set of numbers in producing 5-7 that effectively made it impossible for RBP to mount a meaningful challenge.
So, to Kennington Oval and what a game to end on. Barbados, again bristling with talent and intent, won the toss and immediately chose to bat. We then witnessed a truly outstanding effort from CCC in the field; every bowler performed and was supported by fine ground fielding in restricting Barbados to 145 all out. Riley took his second 4’fer of the tour, and yet again the efforts of Wharton and Chowdhury upfront, were heroic. Barbados coach, Emerson Trottman, was a vexed man at the interval and being anywhere near the Barbados changing room was a danger to life and limb !! However, our response was a little to conservative and wickets began to fall with some regularity. At 70-5 skipper Yarnley was hit by a bouncer, requiring a trip to the doctors and stitches in his jaw. On our return to the ground, CCC were wobbling at 100-7, but Chowdhury took the long handle to Barbados’ bowling and dragged us close to the target. He was joined by Yarnley, but lost his wicket trying to hit a winning boundary, leaving us 9 down and two short of the target. Our injured skipper, sensing the drama of the moment, provided the ultimate coup de grace by hitting a 6 over extra cover to give CCC a famous and incredible victory.
One can’t underestimate how strong Barbados were, relative to our side and to come out on top was a very fine achievement against such a team; Emerson demonstrated the art of tact to Mr Dottin when addressing the sides at the close, effusive in his praise of our bowling and indeed, challenged his young guns to learn from their opposition on how to build pressure and apply discipline…….what a day.
A day, rounded off by a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner at her fantastic home, in the presence of some of the cricketing royalty from the island - Cammie Smith, Charlie Griffith, Gordon Greenidge included, and the current CEO of Barbados Cricket Association, David Deane. It was clear that our victory that day had resonated and Mr Deane was clear in his mind that there were bridges to be built between our organisations, something previously echoed by the Grenada Cricket Board earlier in the tour.
Thanks should be recorded to Pauline Osborn, Manager of the Women’s squad and Mark Stear who managed the Veteran’s. Also to Min Patel who proved to be a fine ambassador for CCC, offering coaching clinics to not only our Women, but also on request to the spin bowlers at UWI. It was a massive undertaking and one that I believe, certainly hope, was enjoyed by all, players and supporters alike.
All the detail here