Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette
St.George's CC 258 for six
The bat dominated ball during a rain shortened opening day's play of Cup Match 2007 at Wellington Oval on Thursday with hosts St.George's in the comfortable position of 258 for the loss of six -wickets when stumps were prematurely drawn at 5 p.m.
The champions were sent in to bat after losing the toss when play started one hour and 42 minutes behind schedule due to a waterlogged pitch, and were never really troubled against a wayward Somerset attack on a slow strip with opener Chris Foggo leading the charge with a delightful half-century.
From the outset Foggo carried the match to the Somerset bowlers, slashing fast bowler Kevin Hurdle's fourth delivery of the first over to the deep cover boundary for four to open the East Ender's account in style.
Foggo and Oronde Bascome knocked the shine off the ball during an opening partnership worth 89 runs that spanned the remainder of a shortened morning session, lifting St.George's to a commanding 80 without loss at lunch.
The imperious Foggo - who decorated the scoreboard with an array of exquisite drives both on the front and back foot - reached his half-century in the 16th over with a punch on the off-side off 51 balls after burly left- arm spinner Dwayne Leverock had been brought into the Somerset attack.
But shortly after play resumed Somerset clawed their way back by claiming three quick wickets in the space of seven- runs as the champions slipped to.
96 for three after 25 overs.
Foggo was the first to go in the third over following the luncheon interval after only adding another five runs to his personal tally. The St.David's Islander hammered nine fours and faced 59 balls before he was bowled by a slower Malachi Jones' delivery.
Seven runs later colt James Celestine experienced every colt's worst nightmare when he was caught at second slip after getting a top edge playing across the line of a Leverock delivery for a duck.
Bascome, who curbed his natural aggressive instincts to play more of a supporting role, then departed in the next over when he edged one behind to wicket-keeper Jekon Edness to give Jones his second-wicket and provide Somerset with a much needed psychological lift.
Bascome stroked 25 off 69 balls and hit one four and two sixes, including the first of the match in the 16th over, before an innings that promised much was cut short.
The pendulum, however, swung back in St.George's' favour as Clay Smith and OJ Pitcher steadied the ship and together added 102 runs for the fourth-wicket with Smith the dominant partner. After gathering the 14 runs needed to become only the third batsman in Cup Match to score 1,000 runs with an inside edge off Hurdle in the 29th over, Smith pushed the peddle to the floor and raced to a well-deserved half- century off 42 balls that was completed with a towering six off Leverock over long off.
St.George's survived a scare in the 41st over when a Dean Stephens' delivery came off the bat of Pitcher and hit the stumps, but failed to dislodge the bails.
Smith went on to add another 12 runs to his score and seemed destined for an unprecedented fourth Cup Match century. But the veteran batsman spooned an easy catch to mid-on in the 46th over after being deceived by a slower paced Jacobi Robinson delivery. Smith faced 57 balls and plundered nine fours and two-sixes.
Three-overs later Somerset struck again with skipper Hassan Durham - showing obvious signs of a left leg injury - trapping Delyone Borden (0) in front to leave the champions poised at 195 for five after 49 overs.
Number seven Charlie Marshall and Pitcher then spread the field and added 33 runs in only two overs to stop the rot and carry the hosts to 223 for five at tea.
But when play resumed Somerset collected the prized scalp of Marshall who dragged a Robinson delivery onto his stumps just as he began to open his shoulders. Marshall, Cup Match's all-time leading run-getter, belted 31 during a belligerent 18 -ball innings containing four fours and two sixes on the on-side.
But St.George's quickly got back on top of the bowling with skipper Lionel Cann (27 not out) and Pitcher (25 not out) adding another 30 runs before play was halted in the 54th over by bad light at 5 p.m. and then torrential downpours that put paid to any hopes of further play on the opening day.
Robinson, who went wicketless for 17 runs off only four overs in his first spell, redeemed himself in the second to finish with two for 50 while a more economical Jones had two for 30 of ten overs.