Thursday, February 22, 2018

QPCC set sights on League

After big win in Sunday League final...


Over to you: Queen’s Park Cricket Club skipper Justin Guillen, left, collects the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) Premier Division Sunday League trophy from TTCB first vice-president Dudnath Ramkessoon after the Parkites defeated PowerGen Penal by 44 runs in the tournament final at Sir Frank Worrell Ground, UWI St Augustine on Wednesday night. —Photo: courtesy RODDY LALMAN

Mark Fraser

One down, two to go.

That’s how Queen’s Park Cricket Club are looking at Wednesday night’s 44-run triumph over PowerGen, which handed the “Parkites” their fourth lien on the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) Premier Division Sunday League title at UWI SPEC’s Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground.

Queen’s Park manager Jeffrey Guillen was yesterday a happy man after the team pulled off a comfortable victory in difficult batting conditions to maintain their hold on the Sunday League trophy.

Now, according to Guillen, Queen’s Park—who are currently fifth in the National League standings with five rounds left—will shift focus firmly to retaining their two-day title.

“The 50 overs now (tournament) is behind us. The silverware is at the (Queen’s Park) Oval,” Guillen said. “We are a bit behind in the league, so now we need to continue playing good cricket and drive over the next six weeks toward defending our league title.

“It’s not going to be easy but the team is quite focused, we have the resources to do it. There’s still plenty cricket to be played.”

It wasn’t easy for PowerGen either, as they chased a victory target of 146, having inserted Queen’s Park in a match reduced to 30 overs a side.

Morning rain had left the UWI surface damp, and the match got underway three-and-a-half hours late, after sawdust had been applied around the bowlers’ run-up.

It may have dried out a bit by the time PowerGen strode to the crease, but that did not help their batsmen, as they were reduced to 31 for five in 10.1 overs.

Man-of-the-Match Daron Cruickshank ripped into the PowerGen top order with three wickets, mystery spinner Sunil Narine added three more and all-rounder Kieron Pollard, two.

Openers Evin Lewis (zero) and Nicholas Sookdeosingh (six) were both out in the first two overs, the former to Cruickshank and the latter to his opening partner, Sunil Narine, both caught by wicketkeeper Anthony Balgobin.

Cruickshank then accounted for Sherwin Ganga (three) and Gibran Mohammed (13), in between which, Akeil Cooper was run out by Balgobin.

The wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with captain Gregory Mahabir (14) and Vaaroon Samaroo (15) getting starts before the nerves of the situation induced leading edges off Narine and Pollard respectively.

Dave Mohammed topscored with 28, thumping three fours and a six before he picked out Khary Pierre at midwicket off Pollard to leave PowerGen reeling at 100 for nine. One run later, Narine wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Tevin Robertson.

Queen’s Park’s first ten overs weren’t much better. They were 27 for three in the ninth over, with openers Marlon Barclay (one) and Justin Guillen (14) back in the dressing room, along with Darren Bravo (five), who had a tough time with the seaming ball before he feathered Robertson behind to wicketkeeper Mohammed (G).

But young guns Cruickshank (21) and Akeal Hosein—who topscored with 46—put Queen’s Park back in kilter with a partnership of 57.

Even after he had lost Cruickshank to Dave Mohammed, Hosein continued with Pollard for company. Pollard took a few balls to launch his first six, but Hosein matched him with another of his own.

Pollard’s dismissal for 19 (two sixes), trapped in front by Vaaroon Samaroo, started the slide, as Hosein gave away his wicket to Samaroo, while Narine and Anthony Simmons were both run out without scoring.

Jonathan Augustus led a rearguard with an unbeaten 19 to lead Queen’s Park up to 145, although Dave Mohammed and Sherwin Ganga were tight at the end to ensure the Parkites did not reach their target of 160.

In the end, their manager was not satisfied with their score, was thrilled with the win.

“They weren’t the best conditions for a one-day game,” said Jeffrey Guillen. “We adapted and came out on top. (There was) team spirit, energy on the field; you have to give credit to the leadership and senior and junior men on the team. They really fought like champions.”

And for the fourth year running in the Sunday League, they are.