Essequibo meltdown! Shepherd bowls Berbice to Inter-county title
SUMMARY: Essequibo 98 all out from 33.4 overs (Extras 37, Anthony Adams 23*, Garfield Phillips 12; Romario Shepherd 4-26, Clinton Pestano 3-20, Gudakesh Motie 2-18, Veerasammy Permaul 1-6) vs Berbice 101-5 from 15.2 overs (Anthony Bramble 35, Kevin Sinclair 24*; Keemo Paul 4-31)
By Avenash Ramzan
It was billed to be a competitive showdown, but turned out to be a woefully one-sided affair as Berbice trounced Essequibo in the final of the Guyana Cricket Board’s Senior Inter-county 50-over competition on Tuesday at the National Stadium, Providence.
Essequibo, despite a fighting last-wicket partnership, folded for just 98 in 33.4 overs, a total that was never to going to test the powerful Berbice batting.
The only way for Essequibo to pull off a dramatic win was early wickets, but Berbice took the momentum at the start of the chase, Anthony Bramble hitting Ronsford Beaton for three fours in the first over that yielded 22.
That set the tone for the innings, and though Keemo Paul nipped out four wickets off a short run, Berbice won by five wickets with as many as 34.4 overs to spare.
Shepherd and Pestano rock Essequibo
Winning the toss and electing to bat, Essequibo wickets fell in a heap as seam pair Romario Shepherd and Clinton Pestano ran through the top and middle order, picking up seven wickets in 11 overs of mayhem.
Their opening spells basically dictated the outcome of the game, as a mixture of good bowling was met with some not-so-wise strokeplay.
Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie added two more wickets to leave Essequibo in tatters at 57-9 at the start of the 15th over, and there was a real threat that the day/night game was going to end way before the floodlights were switch on.
It took a courageous last-wicket partnership of 41 in 19.4 overs between skipper Anthony Adams and Garfield Phillips to take the innings deep, a fight that was duly applauded by the vocal Essequibo supporters.
Adams made the highest individual score, an unbeaten 23 off 81 balls (2x4s), while Phillips was only other batter to get to double-figures, scoring 12 off 41 deliveries.
Despite their early inroads, the Berbice bowlers were also erratic, conceding 37 extras (27 wides and 10 leg-byes).
Shepherd picked up 4-26 off eight overs, Pestano 3-20 off six, Motie 2-18 off eight and Veerasammy Permaul 1-6 off 4.5 overs.
Essequibo main batsmen Kemol Savory (6), Kevon Boodie (7) and Paul (0) combined for 13 runs, a significant factor in the county finishing with a double-digit total.
Paul shines amidst the rot
The in-form Bramble, with a hundred and a fifty in the competition, came out in an aggressive mood, hitting five fours and six in a shot-filled 35 off 23, dominating an opening stand of 37 in 3.4 overs with Rampertab Ramnauth, whose contribution was three.
Paul was outstanding with the ball, picking up 4-30 off 7.1 overs, his second consecutive four-wicket haul.
It was the only spark on the bowling front for Essequibo, as he removed Bramble, Ramnauth, Shimron Hetmyer (11) and Jonathan Foo (2), generating sharp pace off a short run-up.
Left-arm spinner Ricardo Adams added the wicket of Shepherd without scoring, before Kevin Sinclair (24*) and his namesake Junior Sinclair (7*) brought it home for Berbice.
Shepherd, with nine wickets and 70 runs, was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.