Nigel Palmer bowls STETHS into Grace Headley Cup final

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth — Nigel Palmer expertly twirled his off breaks to grab six for 29 and lead defending champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) to first -innings advantage over Manchester High and yet another final of the all-rural Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Grace Headley Cup.

Scores in the drawn two-day semi-final clash at the STETHS Sports Complex: STETHS 190 and 250-7; Manchester High 119. STETHS will now face Holmwood Technical High in the ISSA/Grace Headley Cup final tentatively set for next week at Manchester High in Mandeville.

Resuming yesterday at 67-4, Manchester High had no answer to Palmer, who found spin and bounce from the second-day surface and cleverly varied his flight and pace. Fast bowlers Andre McCarthy (2-62) and Andre Blake (1-8) were the other wicket takers as Manchester High were dismissed in the pre-lunch session. They lost their last six wickets for 52 runs as STETHS gained a first-innings lead of 71. Rashawn Deale topscored for Manchester High with 39 (58 balls, five fours).

Lennox Simpson, batting at number six, led the STETHS second innings with an unbeaten 79 (103 balls, seven fours, one six). However it was national age-group batsman Andre McCarthy — walking to the crease at the fall of the first wicket — who ensured there could be no comeback for Manchester.

McCarthy stroked a controlled 133-ball 51 (four fours) to essentially bat the opposition out of the game. Other useful contributions came from Joseph Simpson, 26, Xavier Burton, 25, and Romario Moxam, 24.

STETHS coach Clive Ledgister was very pleased even while noting that his charges were untidy in the field on the second morning, dropping at least three catches.

“This was a pretty good effort, all things considered,” he said. “This is a young team with an average age of 16/17 and the fact that they could stick to the team plans and achieve objectives as well as they did, speaks volumes for their strength of character,” he said.

Manchester High's coach Barry Barnes praised the STETHS effort. “STETHS played better cricket overall … they played a more calculated game than we did and they deserve to be in the final,” he said.

— Garfield Myers

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