Three weeks of steady rain with scattered thunderstorms brought the lakes' levels back to nearly full, officially ending the drought in Georgia, but dampened the spirits of cricket enthusiasts as several key games were washed out. However, on this glorious Sunday afternoon the sun shone brightly, the sky was clear, the breeze was calm, and the fans and players alike took to the grounds.
Buzz and excitement abounded about the recently selected GSCL league team that will play in the upcoming USCA South East Regional Tournament. The day also featured the highly anticipated matchup: defending champs Vibes Sports Club, with their new-look squad vs. Atlanta's perennial powerhouse, Tropical Sports Club.
The announced GSCL team will be led by former Jamaica youth player, Patrick Harris, and includes former West Indies test caps, wicket-keeper batsman Junior Murray, and opening batsman Leon Garrick. They will be joined by Alford Givance, David Hoilett, Richard Hoilett, Andre Hooper, Adsyl Hutson, Lyndon Johnson, Germaine Lindo, Naseer Lodhi, Mark Mumby, Fredrick Redwood, John Slocombe, and Ryan Wong. The tournament will take place in Atlanta, June 12-14.
In the featured game of the day, fans were treated to a batting exhibition as several members of the league squad validated their selection by coming up big in the game with over 600 runs score as Tropical romped to victory. Redwood led the way with 102, in a losing cause for Vibes; Johnson - 85, Richard Hoilett - 72 n.o, and Givance - 40, joined in the fray for Tropical. In other games, Leon Garrick continued his fine from with an aggressive 85 n.o in UBACC's win over McNair Lions.
At Lithonia Park: Tropical, 338 for 4 - Johnson 85; M. Sutton 72; R. Hoilett 71 n.o, too much for Vibes, 270 all out - Redwood 102; Williams 4 for 48; Ebanks 4 for 75.
A blazing 160 runs second wicket partnership between Johnson and Sutton laid a foundation that was followed up with 120 runs off the last 10 overs by the middle order trio of R. Hoilett, A. Givance, and D. Hoilett led to Tropical's huge, imposing total as Vibes bowling was flogged to all parts of Lithonia Park in two distinctive phases.
Tropical suffered an early setback after winning the toss and electing to bat, as Lindo was adjudged out caught behind at 16 for 1. Vibes' celebration of this success was short-lived due to erratic short pitched bowling by the pacemen.
Johnson and Sutton took full advantage - hooking and pulling - and at the 15 over break the score was 137 for 1. Both batsmen fell in the next session as Edwards and a pair of spin bowlers - Beckford and Powell - from Vibes' highly valued squadron of "Special Permitted Players" (SPP) pitched and turned well to slow the run rate and forced the batsmen to play cautiously. Only 80 runs were score in the 2nd session, but just 2 wickets fell. This resulted in the batting assault in the final session as with wickets in hand the Tropical batsmen basically "had a go" and, this time, there was no let-up. Twelve 6s and seven 4s later the score raced past 300.
Disaster struck Vibes very early in their reply when two of the SPP batting stars, Wildman and Wallace, were removed cheaply. It got much worse. The other frontline batsmen seemed stunned by this unexpected Tropical thunderstorm of fast bowling from Ebanks, exceptional fielding, and spectator hollering and hooting.
Soon the score was 57 for 5, and, under this bright sunshine, a dark cloud hovered over the Vibes bench. However, a ray of light - Redwood - stood firmly at the crease. His resilient knock which included seven fours and as many 6s, and a century partnership with Powell (36) starved off further embarrassment and took Vibes to a very respectable total. Both fell as the shadows crept across the field and the temperature dropped putting an end to a remarkable day of cricket that will long be remembered by the spectators and players. Over fifty 4s and thirty 6s were hit in this high scoring affair.
See scoreboard at: www.gascl.org
At Mark Trail Park: McNair Lions, 138 - Lambert 53, lost to UBACC, 145 for 2 - Garrick 84 n.o.
At Best Academy: MCC defeated Stone Mountain. (No game summary)