BY GARFIELD MYERS Editor-at-Large South/Central Bureau email@example.com
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Vere Technical High School beat defending champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) by four wickets for their first hold on the GraceKennedy knockout cricket competition for rural high schools in a stunning upset at STETHS yesterday.
STETHS, by far the most dominant school in Jamaican schoolboy cricket over the last 30 years, were losing at Under-19 level for the first time since the inauguration of the knockout tournament in 2009, when they were also beaten by Vere in Santa Cruz at the quarter-final stage.
Having won the toss yesterday, STETHS first made 191-7 in their allotted 35 overs, as Ramaal Lewis top-scored with a cultured, unbeaten 41. Brian Gayle and Kerry Holness stroked 33 each, while off spinner Andrew Harrisingh took 2-30.
But needing to score at a five-and-a-half runs per over, Vere, cheered on by a small, but lively support group, kept apace against an unusually untidy fielding and bowling effort by the home team to celebrate victory at 192-6 in the 34th over.
Seventeen-year-old Kimar Banton, who walked to the crease at the fall of the fourth wicket, piloted Vere home with an unbeaten 47 (five fours) from 40 balls. Vere captain Fabian Allen hit 37 and Thali Spencer, 35. West Indies Under-19 pacer Marquinho Mindley led the STETHS bowling with 2-34 from seven overs, while Lewis, bowling leg spin, took 2-28.
"I am ecstatic, so excited," said winning coach, Dewith Coleman at game's end.
He credited his batsmen for the victory, claiming his bowlers had done "poorly" and the fielders were also "poor", particularly in the closing overs of the STETHS innings.
Losing coach Clive Ledgister also thought his batsmen had done well and insisted his team had "fielded poorly and bowled badly". However, he thought defeat could prove useful as a "learning" tool as his players put limited overs cricket behind them and prepare for competition in the more traditional format.
STETHS are also defending champions in the Grace Headley Cup for rural schools and the all-island Spalding Cup. The Headley Cup begins next week.