Warriors are champs! Big Man Cricket ends with Bourda thriller
By Avenash Ramzan
A fiery opening burst from Anthony Ifill, followed by economical spells from Chanderpaul Singh and Ganesh Persaud stifled Essequibo Eagles batsmen in the final of the Big Man Cricket Over-45, 25-over cricket competition on Saturday.
At the end of a thrilling, low-scoring affair at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, Bourda, it was West Bank Warriors who were the ones celebrating, winning the championship game by 25 runs.
It was more of a relief for the organising body to finally have the game played after several attempts to host the final were thwarted by the weather. The competition started in March 2021, and the semi-finals were completed in March this year.
Thereafter, the final had to be put off on several occasions due to inclement weather.
Had rain played spoilsport again on Saturday, Chairman of Big Man Cricket-Guyana, Raj Singh, said a joint champion would have been declared.
There was a sharp shower that delayed the start from 11:00h to 12:30h, but once play got underway there were no more delays and the game was played in predominately cool conditions.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Eagles limited Warriors to 112-9 from the allotted 25 overs. Eagles, in the reply, lost wickets early and steadily and were dismissed for 87 from 22.5 overs.
Eagles suffered an early wobble when seamer Ifill reduced them to 13-2 halfway through the third over, removing Dharmendra Lakhan for second ball duck and number three batter Ramesh Narine for 11.
Opener Darshanan Lall and Fazeer Khan then steadied the innings with a third wicket stand of 34, which turned out to the highest partnership of the innings and joint highest of the match.
Off-spinner Singh’s introduction into the attack broke the partnership, as Lall skied a catch to Patrice Stuart at 47-3 at the start of the 13th over.
Lall made 25 off 31 (3x4s).
That dismissal sparked a flurry of wickets, as Warriors built pressure with accurate bowling that limited the scoring opportunities.
The last seven wickets tumbled for just 40 runs in 7.2 overs, with Singh and Persaud combining for figures of 5-29 off nine overs.
Singh bowled 20 dot balls in his spell of 3-13 off five overs, while Persaud claimed 2-16 off four. Ifill, who wrapped up the innings with the final wicket, capped a remarkable day with the ball, bagging 3-10 off 3.5 overs.
Khan was the only other Eagles batsman to get into double-figures with a laborious 16 off 48 balls.
Runs for Ifill, wickets for Seepersaud
Like Eagles, Warriors were also in some early trouble, stumbling to 19-3 by the sixth over. Openers Deoram Persaud (0) and Eion Williams (2) and number three batter Ganesh Persaud (4) all fell cheaply as Eagles controlled the early exchanges.
It took a fighting fourth wicket partnership of 34 between Ifill and Patrick Khan to stem the flow of wickets, but once they were separated, former Essequibo senior Inter-county player Bhesham Seepersaud kept his side in the game with tight bowling and constant wickets.
The left-arm spinner picked up 4-25 off five overs, one of which was a maiden, while Ritchie Bishop, who picked up early wickets, ended with 2-23 off five.
Ifill topscored with 24 off 39 balls (1×4), Khan made 23 off 29 (1×6), Ram Tulsie 17* off 21 (1×4) and Seecharran Persaud 14 off 15 (1×6).
Singh was named Man-of-the-Match for his bowling spell, while Warriors collected the championship trophy and G$300,000, and Eagles the runner-up trophy and G$200,000 cash.
On the individual side, Ramesh Narine of Essequibo Eagles emerged with the most runs, his teammate Bhesham Seepersaud had the most wickets, John Sumair of Jai Hind Jaguars had the highest individual score and Steve Naipaul of West Bank Warriors produced the best bowling figures in the tournament.
After the game, Chairman of Big Man Cricket-Guyana, Raj Singh, thanked all eight teams and all the stakeholders for their input in making the tournament a success, despite the length of it took to complete.
“Next year we hope this competition is going to be bigger and better- for sure more than eight teams. We’re hoping to get 10 or 12 teams, and hopefully the weather is kind to us so we can run our games consistently,” Singh said.
The tournament was sponsored by Banks DIH (Banks Beer and Maximum Vodka), David Persaud Investments Limited, WJ Enterprise, Cricket Zone USA, Panko Steel Fabrication, NALICO/NAFICO, P&P Insurance Brokers, Trophy Stall, Game Xpress, Paul Archer- Loss Control and Risk Management, Timothy’s Motorcycle Spares, Readymix Concrete Limited, RS53 Restrobar and Lounge and Premier Insurance.
The final was livestreamed, compliments of commentary partner Freelancer Advertising Agency.