BARBADOS BLOG: Wanderers take on the BCA Sagicor T20 tournament

Wanderers Cricket Club 2014 season begun as we expected it to writes our Bajun Blogger, Jason Greene. First, it was good to have some new faces in our squad , the likes of Shayne Moseley, Johnathan Drakes, and my good friend Nikolai Charles.

We had some early success in our pre-season warm up games winning all 3 of our matches, and winning them convincingly! So with regards to having good preparation going into the BCA Sagicor T20 tournament, everyone was match ready. I also benefited from the warm up games getting a couple scores in the 40’s, so I was in good form and was ready to execute.

kensignton ovalIn the qualifying rounds, we won each and every one of our games to top our group and getting a spot into the knock out stages. Last season, I performed the role of opening the innings, but this time around I was selected to bat in the middle order in at number 5 or 6. So basically, I was the man to finish the innings. I did that pretty well getting scores of 34, 22*,11*. Against Barbados Youth, MTW, and EmpireCC. I wasn’t required to bat in two games Pickwick CC & YMPCCC, as our top order was doing extremely well, with guys like Shayne who got four scores above 50.

Time For The Mecca

We’re now into the knock out stages, where all the games from here on will be staged at the famous Kensington Oval under lights. Not too sure about the other teams, but most of our guys had experience playing under these conditions, so it wasn’t a new feeling for us.

I was extremely geared up to step out in the arena in front a slightly bigger crowd, not like the IPL but it would be a bit more than we were accustomed to. Only a bit! I must commend the BCA for having the games played there, it was a good move to be placed in that professional setting. Our team (Wanderers CC) carries that professional approach to each and every game either if we are playing at the Oval, Dayrells Road, or at some far end country ground or during our practice sessions. Which justifies our success this season. So i’m hoping this move by the authorities will be something of consistency which hopefully will allow more club matches to be played at the Oval.

In our quarterfinal match against Yorkshie CC, it was a close call to some, but, to the level headed spectators and players, it was an easy victory by us. We won by six wickets. Yes! Six wickets!! Winning a T20 game by that margin to me; is a very comprehensive win. Although it came down to the final over for us to score the 113 runs to defeat Yorkshire CC, we remained the favorites to win the game. The wicket was slow in nature so the big shots weren’t that easy to play, so getting our singles and pushing hard for two’s in the deep were required. We kept up with the run rate required throughout our innings so it was no need for panicking. Although you could have fried an egg on our replacement captain Diego Stuart, who’s a bit of a panic button by his nature. Eventually myself and Stuart saw us over the line, with me getting the opportunity of hitting the winning runs, and ending on 5*.

Game Of The Tournament

Any better place to have this debate?

If you were present at our semi final match against our rival neighbors YMPCCC, then you witnessed a game that was worth your $5! Let me get straight to the exciting part! We batted first, only mustering 129 in our allotted 20 overs, the one game I failed to scored, only getting one run. While going about our defense, at one stage, Ryan Wiggins and Shane Dowrich pretty much had the YMPC fans planning their schedule so they could make it down to the finals the Sunday night, but it wasn’t to be!

It came down to this. Five runs to win, 8 wickets in hand, six balls to face, and a batsman in on 30 odd, the odds were entirely against us. But the fight to overcome the odds was always with us until the final ball. Our captain, Jason Holder back from the IPL gave Chad Reifer the duty of bowling the over of the century! The first ball went for 3 runs! A waist high full toss and the batsman picking up 2 runs in the process. All over? Not just yet! They got a sharp single to mid-off with 4 balls to go. The rest was a bit of madness from the tensed YMPC batsmen, an a bit of brilliance from captain Holder who executed the run out of Dowrich with a direct hit; who tried to take a non existent single to short mid-on, after that was a consecutive string of run outs done by the bowler Reifer himself, the batsman could only find the ball back to him as they tried their best to muscle the ball out of the park! We kept our nerves and took the game into a super over. Six runs were needed for Wanderers CC to take their unbeaten tally to the Sagicor finals, the furthest we have ever reached in this format. The mass celebrations begun after the other half of Chad Reifer, Ramon Reifer launched a big six over midwicket from the fourth ball in our super over. Easily, the game of the tournament!

Sold Out Crowds at Every Limacol CPL Match So FarFinals Time

The big stage, one last hurdle to cross, it was so unfamiliar to our team, but we were playing like champions already. I had myself a spring bath the morning of the finals down at Pot House spring in St.John with my girlfriend, just to relax my mind and to have my body feeling fresh until it was time to battle come the night time.We were lucky to have Kirk Edwards coming back in the squad, after being released from the WICB training camp for the on going test series verses New Zealand. Which meant someone from the previous 11 would be left out. Unfortunately that person was me. I probably felt gutted for about 2 mins not to be on show in the finals which was being televised live on channel 8 and an expected large crowd at hand. But I’m not one to sulk, so I did my 12th man duties in a pro manner and supported the guys 100% from the dug out. To my surprise we won the toss against SpartanCC and decided to bat. I honestly would have liked if we had put the opposition in to bat first considering the slow nature in which the Oval pitches have been playing over the knock out stages, but first let me mention who our opponents were, Spartan; a team also like us, first time in the T20 finals. So by all means there was going to be a new club lifting the Sagicor T20 cup.

We had a bad start and never really recovered. 92 all out! Yet again another slow wicket making it hard to get the ball away. Spartan’s batsmen weren’t under any pressure going about the run chase. Another 25-30 runs would have definitely made the game a lot more interesting. They got to the target with 2 overs and two balls to spare.

Much credit to all the WCC fans that came out in their numbers, we got a huge applause while making our way into the dressing room, which to say, we were disappointed we could not cross that final hurdle, but we did extremely well to get to that point. And please note that the loss in the finals was our first defeat for the year, that alone is a great achievement by the boys and coaching staff.

Reset And Go Again

Up comes the BCA Elite division 3 day Championship, the complete opposite of the T20 format. Requiring patience, consistency, and a hell lot of mental strength. We won the Division One title in 2013 which gave us the promotion back into the Elite Division, and we’ll be aiming to dominate also.

It’s been over two and half years now since I’ve been around the national set up. An I ain’t getting no younger! I have my personal goals set and I plan to enjoy this season, put in some outstanding performances, then leave it all to the selectors to do their bit.

The entire team, coaching staff and management is in good spirit, and once we continue to carry that unity and team spirit on and off the field, we’ll definitely be one of the top teams this season.”

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