Skipper Palmer lauds Melbourne's young bastmen

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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Captain of Melbourne Cricket Club Paul Palmer heaped praises on the club's young batsmen that saw them to a narrow one wicket win over Kensington in the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) 50-over final at Chedwin Park.

Chasing 174 for victory, Melbourne, the 2016 beaten finalist, were steered by Abhijai Mansingh's 44 and a 34-ball 31 from Krishna Graham.

But three bowlers — Denniel Griffiths (2-26), Delbert Gayle (2-35) and Jordan Thompson (2-40) — grabbed two wickets a piece at crucial times for Kensington which made life difficult for Melbourne each time they crept closer to the target.

“We bowled really well to restrict them to 173, but we made it a bit more difficult than it should have been as our shot selection wasn't on par, and we lost wickets at crucial stages. It was a good batting track and we made a meal of the chase, but I will take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day,” Palmer told the Jamaica Observer in a post-game interview on Saturday.

Apart from Mansingh and Graham, who had earlier steadied the innings with a 54-run third-wicket stand, Tareque White (23) was the only other batsman in the top five to reach double figures.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Aldaine Thomas (27) was the only batsman to get past 20 in the lower order, as Melbourne was taken out of their comfort zone in the latter stages.

It took young batsmen Kristoff Virgo (15 not out) and Matthew Comerie unbeaten on nine to get them across the line at 176-9.

“We faltered with the bat as we didn't really play to our true potential and it almost cost us. But we are pretty elated, especially to see our younger players showing the fight that they did,” Palmer noted.

“It just shows the spirit and heart that we play cricket with here at Melbourne and it just shows the fight and courage that the young cricketers have here in the country.

“I think it speaks volumes about the development of cricket at the club level and nationally because this is a young group of players. The team was dismantled by CPL (Caribbean Premier League) but the youngsters really stood up and got the job done for us,” he added.

Earlier, Melbourne's left-arm orthodox spinner Christopher Lamont returning from CPL duties with St Lucia Stars produced a man-of-the-match performance which laid the platform for Melbourne's victory.

Lamont picked up 5-27 from 10 overs, while Graham snared 2-34.

Delbert Gayle, who top scored with 78 and Dellon Sutherland (31) were the only batsmen to offer resistance as they partnered in a 107-run fifth-wicket stand in Kensington's moderate total.

Captain Denniel Griffiths believed the batsmen were at fault.

“That is what happens when you don't stay as disciplined as you should. We spoke about it in training and in our pre game meeting that all we need to do is play disciplined and bat 50 overs. We didn't do that and ultimately lost the game because of that,” Griffiths lamented.

— Sherdon Cowan

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