Demerara was shakily placed on 86-5 when bad light stopped play on the rain-affected first day of the opening match of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Inter-County four-day competition at the Everest Cricket Club ground yesterday.
Play started five hours late due to wet areas on the pitch and outfield, caused by rain yesterday morning and Demerara quickly found themselves in a spot of bother losing two quick wickets after being sent in by Essequibo in front of a small gathering which included former Guyana and West Indies off-spinner Lance Gibbs and president and vice-president of the GCB, Chetram Singh and Malcolm Peters respectively.
In-form Malteenoes Sports Club (MSC) opener Shemroy Barrington, making his Senior Inter-County debut, was the first to go caught at mid-on by former national fast bowler Rayon Thomas off the first ball of the match bowled by Essequibo’s captain Trevon Garraway.
Thomas was included in the squad following the late withdrawal of spinner Andrew Gonsalves who had undergone appendix surgery last night. He immediately proved his worth when he induced Chris Barnwell, who faced 15 balls for his single, to drive at a delivery outside the off stump, with Rakesh Goberdhan at backward point pulling in the edge.
Demerara was 5-2 after 3.1 overs at his departure.
Vice-captain Leon Johnson joined Rajindra Chandrika and they put on 22 runs for the third wicket before Johnson, after striking Thomas for four through cover to open his account was caught and bowled by Garraway, who was working up some pace on the placid looking track.
Johnson made four and Demerara was 27-3.
It became 42-4 when Chandrika, drove a from Zakier Salim, who replaced Thomas at the Carifesta Avenue end, hard to cover only to see Yogeshwar Lall come up with the catch much to the delight of the Essequibians.
Chandrika made 13 from 34 balls during his stay at the wicket.
Steven Jacobs and skipper Travis Dowlin then posted 43 runs for the fifth wicket.
Jacobs, in particular, look-ed solid in offence and de-fence and played some lovely pulls and drives.
The pair saw the 50 posted and Garraway, who replaced Thomas after three overs, was treated with scant respect by Jacobs.
Whenever Garraway was short, Jacobs hooked or pulled with authority and when the ball was pitched up he drove with the ease of a batsman in form.
Garraway, however, enjoyed the last laugh as Jacobs, in an attempt to pull another short delivery from him mistimed the shot and only succeeded in holing out to Ramesh Narine at backward square who held the catch one-handed while tumbling over.
Jacobs made 23 from 34 balls during his 43 minutes at the wicket with three fours and at his demise, the City team was 85-5.
Night watchman Rayon Griffith joined Dowlin but only one more delivery was bowled before the umpires offered the batsmen the offer of light which they accepted at 5.02 pm.
Demerara, who left out fast bowler Leon Scott, all-rounder Dion Ferrier and batsman Ricardo Jadunauth from their 14 are 86-5 with Dowlin unbeaten on 25 decorated with one four.
Speaking with Stabroek Sport after the day’s play Garraway who has so far taken 3-18 from 8.2 overs complimented his team-mates on their performance in the field.
“I must say my compliments to the guys. They fielded and bowled well as is evident and we took the chances offered to us. We are now looking to restrict Demerara to around 170-180 as soon as possible tomorrow (today).
‘We won’t be easing up on the pressure we have them under right now as our main intention is to win this game whichever way we can and bring back some sort of respectability to Essequibo cricket,” he stated.
Today is the second day, and play is scheduled to start at 10 am weather permitting.