Cayman Islands Royal Police cricket team have a lot to be proud of this season. They were double champions, cruising through the league programme and smashing arch-rivals Prison in the Money Express Division One Knockout Final.
Their season closed on Saturday when against a Combined Cayman Prison and Bermuda team they lost heavily but this was an insignificant match, part of a fun day where more activity seemed to be on the bouncy castle and slide provided for the kids.
For the record, the combined prison side won by 85 runs after amassing 150-4 in a 20/20 match dominated by celebrated batsman Saheed Mohamed who hit 71. He was admirably backed up by Aaron Adams who scored 34 in another spectacular innings.
From the start, Police were in trouble with most of their top batsman cheaply. Only Alexander Morris and Pearson Best put up some resistance, each scoring 13. Not even brilliant captain Ryan Bovell and slick all rounder Alistair Ifill could turn the match around, both going for low scores. Police were dismissed for 65 in only 15.4 overs. Youngsters Ramon Sealy, Ricardo Roach and Darren Cato for once, did not find their touch for Police who sportingly filled in for the absent Jamaica prison side at the Smith Road Oval.
This match was supposed to be the final game of a tri-nation prison tournament but when the Jamaicans pulled out at the last minute, Police substituted.
The first two games were humdingers, both extraordinarily close. Bermuda won the first by seven runs and then in the second, when Cayman looked totally out of it they clawed their way back to lose by a nail-biting one run. Both games were played at the Jimmy Powell Oval in West Bay.
Pearson Best, Police’s top batsman and president of the club, is a 44-year-old veteran. He said: ‘Personally, this season I really looked to play a supporting role to the youngsters and guide them through the game. My career is really on a plateau right now, I’m not going any higher and I want to see everything that I love and cherish in the game carried on when I’m in the spectator’s role.
‘Being double champions has been achieved before, by By-Rite but they’re rebuilding right now so Police seem to have taken over the role. Beside Prison we’re the only club to have won the league in the last four years, so we’ve had a lot of sweet victories. We look forward to next season when, hopefully, the youngsters that have graduated from our youth programme – Ramon Sealy, Ricardo Roach, Darren Cato, Marlon Bryan, Zach McLaughlin – mature. We don’t just look at the skill but also the mental aspect so that we can compete at any level of cricket.
‘As double champs we’re looking to celebrate that and also do an awards night for persons who have really contributed to our success this year. We also want to thank our sponsors for sending us on our English tour which was very successful as we won all four matches and it resulted in one of our players, Marlon Bryan, getting offered a contract with Old Rutlishians who play a very high standard of cricket. All our sponsors will be getting invitations to board the Cayman Mermaid. It’ll be a great party, we’re going to do a lot of celebrating.’
Bryan, 20, has had a roller coaster season. Fabulous form for the young fast bowler has been interspersed with injury. He said: ‘My local season hasn’t been too good, bowling was a little off, but on the tour of England my performance was top notch, I came out the most prosperous bowler, taking 11 wickets in four games. I got two offers actually, with Old Ruts and another team. They didn’t get to the point of mentioning payments but they said they’ll come back to me next year and we’ll discuss it.
‘My goal right now is to play in the Stanford 20/20 team and make the national team which I’ve been striving to make over the last couple of years. I’ve played at Under-15, Under-19 and A-team level so I’m now trying to make national team level to complete the package.
‘Recently I got the pinky on my right had fractured which caused me to stay out about three weeks but I’m back now. I missed the Stanford trials because I got injured three days before that, but I feel my training has been paying off and hopefully I’ll be selected.’
One Prison player who didn’t see Saturday’s victory as empty was Saheed Mohamed, who said: ‘There was a lot of talk by Police before the game that we needed a combined team to beat them. But they couldn’t even score as a whole team the amount of runs I scored by myself. That goes to prove they’re not that far ahead of us.’
* Police celebrate their double championship season on the Cayman Mermaid on Saturday 27 October., from 8pm till midnight. Tickets $15 which includes food and a free drink and a whole lot of partying. Tel: Pearson Best on 925 9082 or Central Police Station on 949 4222