STETHS rally to lift Spalding Cup
Richard Bryan, Gleaner Writer
Great champions react best when their backs are against the wall, and the rural Headley Cup kings, St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), did just that in the Spalding Cup final yesterday winning by seven wickets in Santa Cruz against urban area Grace Shield winners, Innswood High.
Final scores: Innswood 285 and 189; STETHS 224 and 241 for three.
Desmond Jones (57), Sheldon Samuels (91) , captain Paul Palmer Jr. ( 37 n.o.) Vaniel Bromfield (35) scored the runs as STETHS who had collapsed dramatically on day two from a position of 199 for 3 to 224 all out, raced to victory on the final day. As the inevitability of a STETHS victory became clear yesterday, the ground swelled with students and other spectators.
In fact, the cheers were deafening when Brian Gayle who replaced Bromfield with the score on 235, nudged a single off Peat Salmon for the winning run. STETHS were probably clear favourites to win from day one, but the party-like scene was appreciation for a remarkable come-back from the first five sessions of play.
Having lost first innings honours, STETHS needed an outright win to stop Innswood's lofty ambition of winning the Spalding Cup at their first attempt. However, they saved their best for yesterday's third and final day, signalling their intentions first with the ball when stand-out leg spinner Donovan Nelson snared the final four wickets as Innswood were all out for 189.
Nelson had mined an amazing eight for 91 when Innswood made 285. His eventual match haul was 13 for 127.
The second and most important part of their comeback - their batting - showed why they have won the Spalding Cup close to 20 times in a 30-year span.
Coach Clive Legister, said there was a definite plan to get the batting right.
"We knew it would be difficult and we came together and really planned how we would approach it," he said.
"We bowled too short in the first innings and we batted poorly so that's why we were basically behind. To win we had to apply ourselves and bat better in the second innings," he explained.
STETHS needed to start well, and an opening partnership of 144 runs between Jones and Samuels frustrated the Innswood attack, and set the platform for what in the end turned out to be a comfortable run chase.
Innswood had given themselves some hope of a competitive total - batting for an hour to add 57 to their overnight total of 122 for six. Once the crucial seventh-wicket partnership involving Terrence Brown and Kerwin Bonner was broken, Nelson cleared the tail making way for his team's main batters to complete the job.