Imagine scoring 98 runs in a cricket match, almost half your team’s total and still not finishing on the winning side! Well that’s exactly what happened to poor Kineal Irvine.
By-Rite’s sublime batsman thought he was strolling into the second round of the Money Express Division One Knockout on Sunday. With 10 overs left and only 38 runs needed, Irvine’s century looked assured and overhauling Esso’s respectable total of 215-9 seemed a mere formality at the Smith Road Oval.
As darkness descended By-Rite must have had thoughts of the next round even when hard-hitting Phillip Wight went for 32 on 178-3. With plenty of overs and wickets left there was no panic. But within a few balls Omar Willis was bowled for 13 and Steadman Gravy survived a huge lbw appeal. Next ball Esso screamed again for lbw and this time it was given.
By-Rite were still comfortable though on 178-5 needing 30 runs from six overs before disaster struck. A mix-up involving Irvine ended in him being run out just two short of his century. Ironically, he was relying on a runner himself. Irvine’s was a magnificent knock that included seven fours and three sixes but was it enough? By-Rite still needed 27 from five overs.
An amazing catch on the boundary by Kornell Coley took Michael Wight’s wicket on 196 to swing things back in Esso’s favour. Gary Tulloch was stumped leaving By-Rite needing 19 from the last three overs. Then Zitroy Robertson was bowled by Salesman on 199 and By-Rite were left with only one wicket and still 16 runs needed with 17 balls to go.
They made a fist of it but it was all over in the penultimate over with By-Rite on 211 losing their last wicket in another run out, failing by just four runs. It was a tight ending and a fitting climax to a marvellous game.
Esso owe a huge favour to Franklyn Hinds who top scored with 53 and bowled economically, taking 3-20 in eight overs. His team-mate Salesman was also in fine form, taking 3-44.
Esso all-rounder Euvin Bryan said: ‘This season we haven’t started too well in the league but this win has boosted our confidence. Our 215 looked like it was enough for a 40-over match and when By-Rite had that fast start it looked like we were in trouble. Thankfully, our bowlers kept the runs down and the crucial wicket was Irvine’s.’
The game was admirably umpired by Courtney Young and Rhuel Thomas. Young said: ‘Hinds was my man of the match. He got a half century and took some wickets. It was a nice, interesting match, a good advert for the game. Esso were the team that kept their heads.’