Inside the First Division
with Elvis Howard
Date Published: 2009-05-08
Summary: A look at teams in 2009 BCA Div. 1 season
Bishop says St. Catherine will play tough in defence of title - BCA Div. 1 preview 2009
A look at teams in the 2009 BCA Division 1 championship, which starts May 9
Bridgetown, Barbados, May 8 (www.bcacricket.org) -
TEAM: BNB St. Catherine.
Home ground: Bayfield.
Captain: Derick Bishop.
Coach: Thelston Payne.
Manager: Lionel Blades.
Position last season: Champions. (1st in Zone ‘B’ – 68 points).
Matches played: 9: Won: 2; Lost: 1; Drew: 6; No-decisions: 0.
Number of players used: 23.
Highest Total: 300-8 declared (Ist Innings) v Carlton at Bayfield (Series 6).
Lowest Total: 142 all out (Ist Innings) v UWI at Bayfield (Series 8).
Last title: 2008.
IN: Tyson Belgrave.
OUT: Renaldo Brathwaite.
The defending champions are faced with two challenges. The first is to successfully defend their crown and the other is to avoid demotion. The second one no doubt seems more straightforward.
Banks in 2001 and 2002 were the last side to win back-to-back titles when the competition it was played over two consecutive days and each team played the other.
Some might want to say they were handed the 2008 championship on a platter by Maple but St. Catherine players will be quick to say otherwise. They will want to show it was no fluke so the charge is on to win it again.
It will be a testing season again for the Bayfield-based side. Once more they will put their trust and faith in the “big three” – captain Derick Bishop, Kenroy Williams and Patrick Browne. They more than any others, not withstanding the other contributions to be made, hold the key to where St. Catherine finish.
On how important he sees the role of the trio, Bishop said: “I think our roles have been split up and we are not really banking on certain individuals. From last year the roles were split up and everyone has a role to play and they are happy about it and they are all up beat and ready to go.
“Fast bowling has always played a major part in our team going back to the days of the “Pitbulls” (Dayne Maynard, Brian Shepherd, Junior Parris and Victor Skeete) but there are no “Pitbulls” anymore. Marlon Frankin has a very important role to play because he has been bowling very well over the last couple of years and I hope he can continue. There is also Brian Shepherd and Ulric Batson.”
Browne (492) and Williams (500) were the leading batsmen last season along with teenager Renaldo Brathwaite, who made 449 runs in his first full season at the club. Unfortunately, St. Catherine’s loss is BDFSP gain as Brathwaite is now enlisted into the programme at Paragon.
“We definitely will be missing Renaldo Brathwaite and I want to wish him all the best with the BDFSP team,” Bishop said.
Many have questioned Browne’s commitment and the only way to silence them is to have a bumper season in front and behind the stumps and remove that stigma. The jury is still out on why he lost his place in the Barbados team for the final match of this year’s regional first-class competition against Guyana even though he was the overall leading wicket-keeper. It might be a wake-up call.
Williams, who now plays professionally in Trinidad, will want to stay in the minds of the national electors who seem to have forgotten him.
Williams is expected to miss the first match of the season (May 9, 16 & 17) due to duties in the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) Twenty20 tournament in Trinidad from May 8-17.
Last season, Brathwaite and Renaldo Kellman (316 runs) gave St. Catherine some flying starts with their free-scoring batting. The champions are now looking to repair that broken link which is very important to setting the tone for the innings. Micah St. Hill, an opener by upbringing at The Lodge School, batted in the middle order in the final. He has a crucial void to fill, as there is a vacant spot that awaits him.
Bishop with 282 runs and 34 wickets remains the country’s most consistent all-rounder. The charismatic leader saved the best for last in the final where he hit two crucial half- centuries and took four for 29 to help his side clinch the championship.
“Practice sessions and training have been going well. The players are just fine-tuning the weak areas and stuff and I am quite happy so far,” Bishop said.
“I don’t see much of a challenge defending the cup. We intend to play cricket hard like we did in the last couple of years and I guess the results will come again.
“I think the round robin format is good. It gives the players who go overseas to come back and make an impact on the tournament. When they return around September they still have about three months to play.”
Bishop will lead a spin attack that features the chirpy Steffan Gooding who is sure to produce more than his 26 wickets and 247 runs. Williams’ workload was reduced and he only managed 14 scalps. The extended season presents a lot more opportunities for the trio to further expose the weakness of local batsmen to spin bowling.
Joel Michael Leacock is one for the future. However, the medium-pace all-rounder needs to extend his pace some yards and look for around 40 wickets and 400 runs and another chance at trials to have a shot at first- class cricket.
There is also the improving Franklin, who played professionally in England over the last couple of seasons, the veteran Shepherd is still around and so too is vice-captain Ulric Batson. There is one newcomer in Tyson Belgrave. The quartet gives the fast bowling department excellent options.