Hundreds travelled from the east today to support and perhaps celebrate with Bayley’s Primary School.
But by 3 p.m. it was the pupils, teachers, parents and supporters of Wesley Hall Primary celebrating that school’s ninth capture of the Guardian General-sponsored National Sports Council’s Herman Griffith Primary School Cricket Final, played at the Empire Cricket Ground, Bank Hall, St. Michael.
In an enthralling encounter between unquestionably the tournament’s two best teams, Wesley Hall batted first and made 135 for 5 in their 25 allotted overs. Then through some tight bowling and inspired fielding, they restricted the powerful Bayley’s line-up to 105 for 8 in their allotment of overs to win by 30 runs.
Before a vociferous crowd shouting advice and encouraging the youngsters, Wesley Hall ran into early trouble and lost four cheap wickets as Bayley’s Tyrone Edwards (2-17) and Asa Hutchinson (2-18) bowled splendidly to rein in the King Street, St. Michael school batsmen.
But then came Wesley Hall’s resurgence as nine-year-old captain Rivaldo Clarke showed the coolness, application and skill of someone three-times his age as he guided his team, and partner in the recovery Kemar Chase, to their eventual total. Clarke stroked a delightful unbeaten 64 where his judgement of line and length was admirable and his determination not to lose his wicket most commendable.
His display had a positive impact on Chase, who got a reprieve when he was bowled by a no-ball, and together they took Wesley Hall from the despair of 69 for 5 to their eventual total. Chase made an unbeaten 26.
Romario Alleyne has driven fear into bowlers during the tournament and any major input from him would have meant trouble for Wesley Hall when Bayley’s batted. But the St. Michael school brought an eruption from their supporters when the tournament’s Most Valuable Player was dismissed for 3 by Shamar Forde to groans from the St. Philip school’s fans.
Following his earlier bowling spell, Edwards batted well for 23 and got good support from Jonathan Griffith who chipped in with 20 but an excellent spell from Corey Hoyte who took 3 for 22 ensured that Bayley’s were always playing catch-up as they lost wickets steadily.
They were not only confronted by accurate bowling but also by some energetic fielding. In the end, the task proved too tough for Bayley’s and they surrendered their crown as several Wesley Hall schoolchildren ran onto the field to hail their team. Both teams had entered the final with 8-0 records from the preliminary rounds.
Coach Richard Clarke was elated at his team’s victory and said the boys had worked very hard to achieve their success. He noted that they entered the final with a specific game plan and they stuck to it.
Captain Rivaldo Clarke said he was confident while he batted and knew that as long as he remained at the wicket Wesley Hall would get a “good score that we could defend”.
His parents, Adrian Clarke and Allison Nurse, were present at the game to share in their son’s success and dad said his son lived for cricket. He said Rivaldo played every day and had been doing so from about age four.
Mom noted that her son had told her that he had not made sufficient runs in the preliminaries and he would make it for it in the semi-finals and finals. It was no idle talk, as Rivaldo was the outstanding performer in both.
Organiser Adrian Donovan of the NSC told Barbados TODAY he was very pleased with the standard of the final and described it as one of the more exciting finals he had witnessed.
He also commended sponsors Guardian General for their continued investment in the young cricketers.
Among the individual awards were St. Christopher’s Jeimar Garner — Most Wickets, 22; Bayley’s Romario Alleyne — Most Runs, 282; Most Outstanding Wicketkeeper — Rivaldo Clarke of Wesley Hall; Most Outstanding Female — Kennedy King of St. Matthews.
Alleyne copped the MVP award for his heavy scoring as well as his six wickets. He also had the highest score of the tournament, 147 against St. Philip Primary. (WG)†††
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