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By Conroy Reid
A masterful, stroke-filled, unbeaten century from Tony “Pow Pow” Powell (pictured below), combined with the devastating figures of 6.1-2-13-5 from the off-spinners pair of Slocombe and Morgan, powered Tropical Sports Club to an easy 201 runs victory over first time finalist MCC Somerset in the GSCL 50-Overs title game on June 16th at Best Academy cricket ground. Powell, a former Jamaica national player, continued his outstanding record of big innings in GSCLs championship games as Tropical secured the first title of the season.
For the first week-end in many weeks there was no rain in the Atlanta forecast, and the cricket enthusiasts flocked to the park on a rather beautiful Father’s Day.
Tropical won the toss, and without any hesitation, skipper Givance opted to take first strike.
A surprise change to the batting lineup had R. Hoilette moved to the opening spot alongside Morgan. The move did not fare well for Tropical as in the second over Hoilette, on 6, played away from his body to one from Brown and was bowled with the score at eight.
Givance and Morgan then staged a minor recovery by adding 41 before Morgan drove uppishly at Brown and holed out to deep mid-off. This brought Powell to center stage. He started slowly, nudging balls into gaps and expertly rotating the strike with skipper Givance. MCC Somerset failed to capitalize on a few opportunities that Givance gifted, including the easiest of a stumping chance. They would pay dearly. Without much fanfare, the Givance and Powell partnership quietly grew to a half century as the overs bowled on. But with that also grew the expectation of a forthcoming runs explosion. It did not materialize early. The pair continued to pick their spots but with a little more aggressiveness and the score motored along as the partnership ticked pass one hundred.
The breakthrough for Somerset came with a pair of wickets. With the score at 156, and thirty overs gone, Givance pushed at one and was brilliantly caught by Lawrence at first slip. R. Hoilette began in fine style with a few fluent drives, but eagerness soon got the better of him as he punched one in the air to mid-on and fell for 13, at 174 for 4. Somerset seemed rejuvenated and ready for a final push but again they squandered golden opportunities. Mumby survived three chances to carve up a quick 38 in a partnership worth 78, and the fuse was lit.
After a brief pause where Williams was adjudged LBW to one that hit high off the pads, the highly anticipated explosion followed. Powell got to his ton, and with some smart foot-works he tore into the bowling with a special liking for Lawrence. Emphatic sixes over long-on and long-off, followed by an exquisite cover drive for four brought the Tropical fans to their feet. James added his side show too by clobbering two huge sixes in his cameo 35, and the score rocketed pass 300. The inning closed at 320 for 6, with Powell tallying 11 fours and five sixes.
The opening pair of King and Matheswari started solidly for Somerset in their chase and were quickly at six runs an over off Williams and J. Morgan. A double change in bowling after tens overs brought on Wong and Hoilette, and suddenly the Somerset batting mode switched to survival. Three very fast and unplayable yorkers did the early damage. Two found and uprooted their targets; the other found the pads for an LBW decision. First, with the score at 75, King was late in trying to block one from Wong, and then with the score at 97, Hassan froze on his shot and was plumb in front to Hoillette. One over later, Matheswari’s valiant effort came to an end as another Hoilette yorker found timber at 102 for 3 off 19 overs. There was to be no recovery. Givance switched to the spin pair of Slocombe and Morgan, and what followed was total demolition. The runs dried up and wickets tumbled. Six wickets fell for 17 runs in the space of seven overs, and Somerset capitulated at 119.
Scores:Tropical 320 for 6; T. Powell 125 n.o, A. Givance 58, M. Mumby 38 , S. James 35 n.o; MCC Somerset 119 ; U. Matheswari 40, B. King 27; Slocombe 3 for 13