West Bay youngster Darren Cato is only 16 but he batted like a man twice his age to steer his side to a historic victory on Sunday.
The Clico Cayman 20/20 competition reached its final stages and in the Division Two match Cato was the hero as he hit 41 not out to guide underdogs West Bay to a five wicket victory in 19.1 overs against BrightStaff Greenies Too.
Greenies batted first and got off to a slow start. Opener Matt Walker went cheaply (3) and it was left to Steve Smith (37) and Tom Stephens (24) to build an innings. Gordon Rajamahon hit 12 before Faisal Ahmed picked up the run rate. Greenies are always good for a laugh and this time it was Ahmed who provided that by being run out in the most comical fashion. So exhausted was he from racing up and down the crease to get his runs that he literally fell from exhaustion as he struggled to get home in time. Nevertheless, he still managed an excellent 33 to give BrightStaff Greenies Too a modest total of 130-8.
West Bay captain Omar Willis took 2-20 and Steadman ‘Teddy’ Gray took 2-27.
West Bay set about building their innings sensibly, not making rash shots against a Greenies side that bowled well and fielded brilliantly. Zitroy Robinson and Ugal Sicard opened and scored 42 before Robinson went for 23.
Cato joined him and continued the steady chase. When Sicard was bowled for 27 by Ahmed, big-hitting Wayne Cato joined his son. Dad hit his first ball for four but was caught on his next ball. So much for the half century he had promised!
West Bay continued towards the target comfortably and Greenies will rue a dropped catch on the boundary off Darren Cato which might have turned things their way.
With only three runs needed from the last over, Gray hit an hour off the first ball to seal it.
Willis said: ‘That was another game we won when we were the underdogs. The guys stayed together and didn’t lose their composure, just like in the last game, they didn’t panic. Even though towards the end it was a little bit close, we still had wickets in hand and just kept the momentum going and eventually just hit off the score.
‘Their 130 was very achievable. As long as we got a good start and had plenty of wickets in hand, that’s what kept us going. That was an excellent knock by Darren. I asked him to just occupy the crease and he did that well.’
Darren Cato did not let the blood run to his head like he usually does and got out from a wild shot. He said: ‘A lot of people on my team depend on me because I can bat well so I took it upon myself today after a couple of wickets fell early to bat through and carry the team home. ‘For a second I thought I had to push and play some big shots but then I kept saying to myself to play steady. When my dad joined me I was hoping that we could finish it off but it didn’t happen.’
BrightStaff Greenies Too skipper Richard Thomas said: ‘We were targeting before we went out 150, that would have been a competitive total out here but we got off to a slow start and never really got enough runs on the board. Our 130 was defendable but against a good team like West Bay we were always going to be under pressure from the start.
‘Obviously we were disappointed. I thought we did well in the field. We didn’t really give too much runs away but it just wasn’t enough runs on the board.’
BrightStaff Greenies Too has always had a reputation for under-achieving. This season though they’re taking their cricket more seriously. ‘We’ve always had the players but I think this season we’re starting to gel as a team more than we have done,’ added Thomas. ‘We’ve got a solid backbone; the likes are really starting to fire this year, the likes of Steve Smith and Matthew ‘Tex’ Walker. They give us a very promising start to build on. This is really only pre-season and I’m very happy with the boys and I’m looking forward to a very competitive season this year.’