The semi-finals of Cayman’s Division One 20/20 tournament were contrasting affairs.
The matches at the Smith Road Oval on Sunday brought out the crowds as usual and there is plenty of drama, controversy and brilliant displays throughout the day.
In the first match the youngsters of Lime Schools showed they have graduated into fine young adults against Greenies.
The first three batsmen, Ramon Sealy (aged 17), Zachary McLaughlin (18) and Darren (17) all picked their shots superbly.
Sealy hit 27, McLaughlin 29 and Cato 25. Those performances helped Schools reach 113-5, a modest total. Nick Sellars was the pick of the Greenies bowlers, taking 2-18.
Greenies needed to bat well to make a serious challenge but their openers did not last. Ian Rotsey was out first ball and Tom Stephens went for five.
Despite brave displays by Craig Scott (24), Sean Neveling (20) and Paul Hogg (15), Greenies were always chasing the score and could only manage 91-9, losing by 22 runs.
Ricardo Roach took 3-11 and Marlon Bryan 2-12 for Schools. At one point Roach took three wickets in four balls and just missed out on a hat-trick when he dropped a difficult caught and bowled. He quipped: ‘West Indies need me to spin for them.’
In the main match, Esso Tigers were marginal favourites to beat By Rite. Both teams have many national players in their ranks.
The Tigers batted first and they got a great start thanks to skipper Alvan Babb getting a lion’s share of the runs. The opener hit 33 and lower down the order, Cleveland Sailsman (26) and Wayne Cato (24) made worthy contributions as Esso got 109-5.
Joseph Kirkconnell is training to be a priest and the youngster gave a divine performance for By Rite as he hit 34. There were other solid performances from Garfield Edwards (21), Keneil Irvine (18) and Michael Wight (17) as By Rite overhauled Esso’s total with only three wickets down in the 18th over.
The turning point it seemed came in the 17th over when bowler Kevon Basil was convinced that Ainsley Hall had edged the ball to the wicketkeeper but despite a unanimous appeal by the Tigers they were left seething as umpire Livingstone Bailey turned down the appeal flat. The other umpire was Keith ‘Teacher’ Miller.
The match was soon over and a disconsolate Esso side took a while to come off the pitch, so upset were they about the Hall decision.
So this weekend it’ll be the youth of Lime Schools against the seasoned quality of By Rite. If it has half as much excitement as Sunday’s games it should be a humdinger.