Wolmer's end long Shield drought
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
He might not be related to the West Indies' devastating opening batsman Chris Gayle, but Delbert Gayle was just as devastating as he led Wolmer's Boys to their first Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace Shield cricket title in 20 years yesterday.
It took less than half-hour on yesterday's third day for Wolmer's to complete a nine-wicket victory over Eltham High at the Melbourne Oval.
Gayle, a Jamaica under-19 representative, was the main architect of Wolmer's win as he made 174 not out in the first innings followed by 11 not out in the second innings to go along with a match haul of 7-94.
"I am very proud, as I am now a very successful captain having won all three titles (under-14, under-16 and under-19) and hopefully, the Tappin Cup next week Wednesday," Gayle said.
Gayle, who has led the team for the past three years, got things right from the toss which he won and opted to insert last year's semi-finalists Eltham.
Eltham were then bundled out for 126 as Gayle, bowling right-arm off spin, took 3-34. The bowling was, however, led by left-arm orthodox bowler Denniel Griffiths who claimed 5-43.
Wolmer's, in reply, established a 116 runs first-innings lead as they were dismissed for 242 with Gayle carrying his bat to end not out on 174. Griffiths made 25.
Etham's Shaquille Brown took 5-96 with his right-hand off spin.
Eltham did not do much better in their second turn at bat, as they were dismissed for 163 with Gayle and Griffiths once again the main destroyers claiming 4-60 and 3-30, respectively. Ramone Francis top-scored with 33.
This left Wolmer's requiring 47 runs to win which after closing the second day at 24 without loss, they need a mere 28 minutes to wrap up the victory on the penultimate day, but not before the dismissal of Malik Thompson (10).
Thompson was bowled by Francis, who ended with 1-8, but Malcolm White (26) and Gayle (11) easily ensured victory.
The mission started from last year November when we went on a one-week camp, because what I realised last year when I went there was that the boys were too timid to play cricket, so I tried to change that culture," head coach Wayne Cuff said.
Wolmer's will now turn their attention to the Tappin Cup (50 overs) final against St Jago on Wednesday at Melbourne Oval.