ST JOHN’S, Antigua – PIC Liberta cricket team are the State Insurance 40 overs champions for a seventh consecutive year.
Liberta defeated Police by just one wicket when they clashed in the finals of the competition at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds on Sunday.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Police were bowled out for 130 in 36.4 overs. Derrick Mourillon topped the batting with 48 runs off 61 deliveries, while there were outputs of 16 and 14 from Kelvin Bowen and Bertel Baltimore, respectively.
Bowling for Liberta, Karima Gore bagged three wickets for 43 runs off eight overs while there were two wickets each for Kadeem Phillip and Rahkeem “Jimbo” Cornwall.
Player/coach of Liberta, Wilden “Polo” Cornwall, said Police exceeded their expectations.
“I think they got a little more runs than I wanted because we had them about 40 for six and power play and all these things came into play, and we dropped about four catches in the field and that to me hampered a little bit of my plans; but I don’t think we underestimated Police,” Cornwall said.
“They bowled well. Lynton Africa bowled well and Austin Richards Jr bowled really well and gave them a great start.”
In their reply, Liberta reached 135 for nine in 34.3 overs. Topping the batting was Oneil Levy who had 38 from 43 deliveries, while Gore returned to contribute 17 with the bat.
There were also knocks of 15 from D Samuel and 14 from Rahkeem.
Wilden was pleased to see the team’s young players stepping up to the plate.
“When you have young players coming through in the likes of Karima Gore who has played well throughout the whole tournament; Javy Benjamin (son of Kenneth Benjamin) and Myron Marsh and that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about old ‘Polo’ or ‘Jimbo’ or Kadeem Phillip; young players are coming through,” the former Leeward Islands captain said.
“It’s all about consistently training and getting them to understand what it is to go out there and play hard cricket and fight for Liberta.
“On Saturday, we had a three-hour session in the heat and it prepared them for a situation that happened (Sunday) and we pulled through,” he added.
The final was, however, not without controversy as according to Wilden, Liberta refused to accept the same championship trophy they had already won six times.
“You have a big final and you only turnout with two balls and nobody covered the game and even saw the young man (Gore) in terms of how he performed and how he bowled,” he said.
“We have won this State Insurance 40 overs for seven years and our name is not on the trophy. That was disrespect. So what did they bring it there for yesterday? We didn’t even take it. You can’t have a team winning a championship for seven consecutive years and you’re going to turn up and bring an old trophy to us and tell us to carry that home.”
Liberta will now turn their attention to the Two-Day competition slated to bowl off on Saturday.