By Colin Benjamin
Defending champions Cellink Berbice begun their title defense with a 31 run victory over a much-improved Essequibo team in the penultimate round of the 2011 Guyana and Trinidad Mutual (GTM) Under 19, limited overs tournament at Providence Stadium, yesterday Scores: Berbice 211/9 in 50 overs, Dominic Rikki 61, Jamal La Fluer 32; Anthony Adams 3-34 and Ricardo Adams 2-42.
Essequibo 180 for 9 in 45.5 overs, Kevon Boodie 51, Ricardo Adams 38, Linden Austin 4-25.
Cellink Berbice skipper Shawn Perreira won the toss and as expected elected to take first strike on the docile Providence deck.
Openers Kandasammy Surjnarine and Jamal Odle of Cellink Berbice, survived the disciplined and testing opening spell from Essequibo new-ball bowlers Ronsford Beaton and Kevin Fredericks, before Odle was dismissed in the penultimate delivery of the mandatory first 10 power-play overs for 16, to leave the score 37 for 1.
Surujnarine followed soon after for a pedestrian innings of nine. He was leg-before wicket to medium pacer Seon Venture, struggling to make use of the power-play overs, to leave his side delicately placed on 47 for 2 in the 11th over.
The experienced middle-order pair of Rikki and Jamal La Fleur then steadied Cellink Berbice’s innings in a composed 82-run third wicket partnership, before La Fleur was out leg-before playing around a straight delivery from left-arm spinner Ricardo Adams for 34 from 68 deliveries with a solitary boundary.
The score was then 129 for 3. Rikki eventually fell for a stylish 62 from 88 balls with six boundaries.
Following that dismissal, the Cellink Berbice innings lost all momentum for the remainder of the allotted overs, which was cruelly highlighted by the fact that they barely scored 24 runs during the batting power-play of overs 44 to 48.
The eventual score for Cellink Berbice was a standard 211 for 9 in 50 overs, a potentially defendable total against an Essequibo batting line-up that has tended to blow hot and cold throughout this competition.
When Essequibo’s reply began, it seemed as if the hot version had showed up as they attacked the Cellink Berbice bowlers purposefully.
The team raced to 78 for 1 in the 15th over with wicket-keeper/opener Boodie leading the charge with an aggressive half-century and number three batsman, Vijai Surujpaul supporting well.
Cellink Berbice, however, managed to peg back the progress of the innings in the middle overs after the dismissal of Boodie for 51 from 70 balls including four boundaries and one 6 and Surujpaul for 21 as Essequibo slipped to 108 for 5 in the 30th over.
A solid 50-run sixth wicket partnership between Ricardo Adams and Beaton brought Essequibo back into the contest, before Beaton was needlessly run out attempting a suicidal second run. Adams followed him three overs later caught on the long-off boundary by Rikki off the bowling of part-time off-spinner Linden Austin.
Essequibo’s resistance was ended and they folded for 180 for 9 in 45.5 overs, given that last man Kevin Fredericks was unable to bat after suffering an injury while fielding.
The final round of the competition takes place tomorrow at Providence as Berbice takes on Demerara.