By Royston Alkins
Berbice Combined yesterday sealed a 10-wicket victory over Essequibo Combined in the final of the Guyana Cricket Board/Demerara Mutual Life Assurance Society/National Secondary Schools Cricket League at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, Bourda.
They were indebted to spinners Kelvin Umroa (3-6) and Nigel Deodat (3-25) who joined forces to dismiss Essequibo Combined for 71 before their openers romped to 74 without loss to seal the deal.
The day started with Essequibo winning the toss and opting to take first strike.
Their openers, skipper Orlando Jailall and Bomesh Ramdahin looked solid against the Berbice pacers but the script quickly changed when the spinners entered into the attack and bemused the Essequibo batsmen who are usually suspect against quality spin bowling.
Jailall, who top scored with 18, came off the mark with an exquisite cover drive off medium pacer Geevon Schultz in the first over which went for nine runs.
The two openers carried the score to 30 in the seventh over but were both dismissed in quick succession when the slower bowlers entered the attack. Left-arm orthodox spinner Deodat came on in the seventh over and immediately got success when he had Jailall caught at mid-off to end the first wicket stand. His innings included two boundaries.
His dismissal was followed by a flurry of wickets as Essequibo slumped to 44 for four in the 13th over when Deodat trapped the inform Sheldon Charles for six.
Things got worse when Deodat claimed his third wicket that of Badesh Parsotam caught at mid-wicket for seven to leave the score on 57 for 6.
The innings, however, ended on 71 at the end of the 24th over as the last four wickets produced 14 runs. Ramdahin (15) and number seven Lance Roberts (11) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.
Berbice, in their reply, raced to 29 without loss at the end of the third over after Alex Algoo took 12 runs off of Charles’ first over by delicately easing him down to the vacant third-man boundary, followed by a well-timed cover drive to underline his ability to score freely.
His opening partner Junior Sinclair, not to be outdone, also took 12 runs off the second over by lacing off-spinner Parsotam through midwicket and backward square for consecutive boundaries.
The two continued to sail along while bringing up Berbice’s 50 at the end of the sixth over with Algoo on 19 and Sinclair on 25.
Sinclair added some entertainment to the game before it ended by flexing his muscles and smoking David Chalitar out the ground for a massive six over mid-wicket.
Algoo, however, got the last bit of fun when he finished the game with a six over mid-wicket which he followed up with a scintillating drive down the ground to end their successful run chase at 74 without loss. Algoo ended on 31 from 17 deliveries. His innings included four fours and a solitary six while Sinclair ended on a run a ball 36 which included five fours and a six.
Umroa, who took three wickets for six runs from six overs was adjudged Player of the Match while Skipper Kevlon Anderson, fortified himself as one of the most talented young batsmen in the country with impressive showings throughout the competition by being named Player of the Tournament. The tournament, which started in October last year, saw approximately 150 schools being invited to take on each other in the GCB organized tournament.