Prison Cricket Club are the new champions of the Money Express Division 1. They defeated previous champions Police by 64 runs in a wonderful finale to Division 1 League matches at the Smith Road Oval on Sunday.
Prison captain Saheed Mohamed had an outstanding match. As he has done all season, Mohamed led from the front with a half century. Batting first, Prison had the perfect start with partnerships building at the fall of every wicket.
All first six batsmen got to double figures threatening to build a score in excess of 300. But it was not to be.
Mohamed’s 52 and Khemchand Dindyal’s 29 were the main stay of the Prison innings.
Police showed their capabilities by restricting the powerful Prison line up to 214 runs.
Dave Cumberbatch 3 wickets and much improved Alessandro Morris 2 wickets assisted greatly in containing Prison.
Astute captaincy by Mohamed who utilized his spin bowlers to maximum effect took the match away from Police.
A rare failure from master batsman Pearson Best left Police in complete disarray.
Police had a good start between Kirkpatrick Clarke and Garth Bryan but the introduction of the Prison spin bowlers not only dried up the runs but caused batsmen to take unnecessary risks and lose their wickets.
Ronald Ebanks, back home for his summer break from university in England, joined the action picking up 3 wickets.
It was only a last wicket partnership between Anil Jugbir and Greg Shepherd which gave some respectability to the Police total.
The umpires were Keith ‘Teacher’ Miller and Hubert Smythe.
Another outstanding feature of the Prison all round game was the wicket keeping of Dindyal who had six dismissals. Prison can boast some of the best players on the island, including Troy David, Steve Gordon and Kevin Bazil, all of whom made a great contribution not just on Sunday but throughout the season.
One especially unhappy Police player was Abali Hoilett who initially refused to walk when given out for caught behind the wicket. ‘My bat hit the ground and the umpire assumed that it was the ball coming off the bat,’ said a fuming Hoilett.
‘I definitely did not connect with the ball. Two overs earlier I hit the ground with the bat again, missing the ball and got a run. It may have sounded as if the ball had hit the bat but it didn’t.
‘I told my partner that I reckoned that the next time it happened I would be given out. I was right.’
A beaming Mohamed said: ‘I was looking at 260 odd but we fell away at the end. But 214 we always knew would be a challenge and came out and defended from ball one.
‘Once we got Pearson out we knew we had a chance to win the game. Pearson always remains the focus when setting the fielding. We concentrated on getting him out early.
‘The wicket was pretty much balanced. It had some turn and bounce. It was a pretty decent wicket for a final. We were undefeated throughout the season and the guys really pulled their weight with this one.
‘I wouldn’t say Police were weaker this year because they were undefeated up till today. We played the first half of this season without any big names.
‘We lost last time under the Duckworth-Lewis system. It could have gone anyway. I’m glad that we’ve come out victorious today.
Theo Cuffy, technical director of Cayman cricket, said: ‘This was a game of glorious uncertainties. You can never tell what is going to happen on any given day.
‘We are playing at amateur level and obviously, people still don’t have that professional approach, how to overcome adversities, how to dig yourself out of a hole. Police have more or less carried their weight because of Pearson Best’s batting.
‘One or two other people, like Kirkpatrick Clarke and Dave Cumberbatch have made runs this year.
‘Other than that nobody else has really scored runs over the year. What Police has done, more or less, was bowling out teams very cheaply and not having so many runs to make.
‘But this game, however, Prison batted well throughout the season. Runs on the board are runs made. A good all round game. They batted throughout and in partnerships.
‘Good leadership from Saheed Mohamed. Despite their internal differences, he got them to gel together and play well together. He lead by example and made runs when needed.
‘Possibly he might have the best average we have for the whole tournament. Congrats to Prison for winning the Money Express Division One League.’
Best was philosophical after. He said: ‘There is a saying that goes: If you fail to prepare then you have to be prepared to fail.
‘I think that’s the case with Police this time around. Additionally, we had quite a few police officers who were on duty today who couldn’t come out for this game. That set us back both in the batting and bowling department.
‘It’s unfortunate that Police Cricket Club had guys who had to work today. They have important jobs and provide a vital service and work comes first. It affected our performance today but hopefully we can address that problem in the future.
‘I think we were the underdogs today. To come this far in the competition after losing about 10 players from last season is an achievement in itself. On top of that we were unbeaten.
‘That is really, really something. I congratulated the guys on their performances. Now we have to regroup and come again.
‘The tail enders did well. It just goes to show that with a little bit of application what can happen. Mind you, the pressure was off by then and Prison probably relaxed a little bit. I congratulate the prison team.
‘They really played a great game. Well done Saheed and his players. I look forward to meeting him.
‘We’re taking a photo in front of Burger King, Walkers Road. They are our major sponsors who have assisted us throughout the season.
‘They’re also assisting us on our tour of Barbados. We’re leaving on July 22 until August 7.
‘I must remind the public that we always include young Caymanians, who are promising. We’re taking two this year, Kevin Ebanks and Vincent Ebanks. Plus we’re taking young Zach McLaughlin who benefited from our trip to England last year. He’s coming again and we’re looking for really good things in Barbados.
‘Also we’re hoping to get a little coaching from some of the ex-West Indies greats. We’re looking at players like Joel Garner in the bowling department and Desmond Haynes in the batting. You can’t get better than that.
‘Last year one of our youngsters, Marlon Bryan impressed on the tour of England and got offered a contract but it didn’t really materialise.
‘Hopefully, this year in Barbados we’ll play to such a high level again that will happen again.
‘I’m looking forward to a good tour and renewing many friendships. Importantly, we’re getting a lot of assistance as well from the Royal Barbados Police Force so we’ll be able to forge new friendships.’
Prison – 214
Saheed Mohamed 52, Khemchand Dindyal 29, Gerard Christian 27
Dave Cumberbatch 3 for 32, Alessandro Morris 2 for 37
Police – 150
Kirkpatrick Clarke 34, Greg Shepherd 27, Garth Bryan 20
Ronald Ebanks 3 for 17, Kevin 2 for 19, Saheed Mohamed 2 for 24
Prison won by 64 runs
Man of the Match – Saheed Mohamed.