Workmanlike approach put Orange Hill in final
Orange Hill out of Westmorland advanced to the final of the SDC/Wray & Nephew National Community T20 Cricket Competition, following a workmanlike five-wicket win over White River Rebels in semi-final two on Sunday at the Ultimate Sports Club in St Ann.
After witnessing an enthralling first semi-final between Gayle CC and Johnson Mountain, the second game of the double-header was more of an anti-climax, as the ball dominated the bat.
Orange Hill won the toss and asked White River to take the first strike, and that decision proved to be the correct one, as White River struggled against the Orange Hill slow bowlers.
After Duran Whyte was run out for three with just nine runs on the board, the 'Rebels' showed just a bit of their character as opener Emekes Jones and National player Damani Sewell put on 40 runs for the second wicket.
In came off-spinner Ryan Burnette into the attack, and the Dread-locked slow bowler got an immediate dividend, as he had Sewell caught for 15 at 49 for 2 in the eighth over.
Burnette would then twirl his web around the remaining White River batters as only Eugene Hudson with an unbeaten 26 from 24 balls put up any real meaningful resistance, as White River posted 113 for 9 in their allotted 20 overs.
Burnette, who finished with impressive figures of 5 for 18 from his four overs, said he knew he had a chance to get wickets once the batsmen started targeting him.
"My plan was very simple today. I have been working hard on my line and length in training and once the batsmen try to be aggressive against me, I know I have the chance to get them out."
With a small target to chase, Orange Hill attempted to go about the run chase frantically, with opener Myron Wilson getting two boundaries in the opening overs. However, he tried one shot too many off pacer Junior Carr and was caught behind for nine at 13 for 1.
When bowling partner Andre Clarke sent back Rassie Spence for 6 at 23 for 2 in the third over, things were looking a bit dicey for the Westmorland outfit; however, Aldaine Samuels and Ziggy Levy settled the nerves of the camp as they shared in a 55 run third-wicket stand to push them closer to victory.
Samuels would eventually fall to Duran Whyte for 34 off 21 balls. However, Levy would steer the ship home, despite Orange Hill losing five wickets.
Levy was left unbeaten on 39, while Ewan Andrews chipped in with 16 not out, as Orange Hill booked their place in the final, where they will face Gayle CC of St Mary.
"We had a game plan coming into this semi-final, we know that the White River team loves pace bowling, so we introduced our spinners early and that worked well for us. In the end it was an easy game, we wanted to get the runs in 12 or 13 overs, but hats off to my team for a good all-round effort," said winning captain Nico Banton.
Losing captain Olanzo Harris said he was disappointed with the team's batting. "We were looking to make 140 runs or more and if we had runs to work with, I believe my bowlers could have defended that, but we lost, and hats off to the Orange Hill team."
White River Rebels and Johnson Mountain will play off for third place on Sunday at the Ultimate Sports Club in St Ann.