Richard Bryan, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Vere Technical humbled rural kingpins of cricket, St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS), on their home turf in Santa Cruz, defeating them by four wickets on Friday to take the 2013 Grace/ISSA Limited-Overs title.
Vere methodically chased down the 191 for seven scored by STETHS from their allotted 35 overs, skilfully avoiding the panic shown by Manchester High against STETHS in the semi-finals, when that team lost by two runs chasing 162.
Despite losing form opener Ranjay Christie for three at eight for one, Vere recovered to 62 for two, and then were able to withstand pressure from the home side's spectators and awesome record in the seven-year old competition. Key partnerships were strung each time a wicket was lost, as there were useful contributions from Travi Spencer (35), captain Fabian Allen (37) and Man of the Match Kemar Bantan (41). Bantan's 61-run six-wicket partnership with Allen proved critical but when it was broken at 178 for six, three overs remained but only 14 runs needed.
At that juncture, many home fans felt that there was a chance that STETHS could pull it off, just as they did against Manchester High. However, Bantan stood strong, leading his team to their first victory at the senior level since their heydays of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Coach Dewit Coleman, who had previously won Under-16 titles at deCarteret (1993) and Vere (2006), was an extremely happy man.
"It's a great feeling as it was a great win, especially the fact that we beat them on their home ground."
It was Vere's third trip to a final since the competition began in 2007. It is also their second consecutive final against STETHS, who have won the last five finals. In fact, their last loss dated back to the quarter-finals in 2007 when they were beaten by Vere.