Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette
Stephen Outerbridge's maiden first class century might have been a long time in the making. But according to the University of Wales student, "it was definitely worth the wait".
With back-to-back boundaries off the bowling of left arm spinner Ross Lyons, the stylish left handed batsman became the fifth Bermudian to score a century in the Intercontinental Cup and first to achieve the milestone on home turf.
And he did so the hard way, grinding it out against visiting Scotland – the inaugural Intercontinental Cup champions – as the visitors closed in on a comfortable 107-run win at the National Sports Centre (NSC) over the weekend.
"I think that was the best innings I've ever played and to score a century at home in front of your own supporters was just a great feeling.
"It was very challenging out there because the ball was turning square. Batting on the fourth day is always a challenge and so you really had to be focused out there," Outerbridge told The Royal Gazette.
"It's (maiden first class ton) been a long time coming. I've had lots of struggles and doubts but now I think I've finally reached where I want to be and can only go forward from here.
"I now just have to take things one step at a time from here and see how things go because I don't want to get too far ahead of myself."
Outerbridge reached triple digits off 250 balls during an innings that spanned nearly two sessions. It was an exercise in patience and composure that went a long way towards erasing painful memories in Toronto two years' ago when the early order bat was run out for 94 playing against the Cayman Islands in the Americas Division One Championships which Bermuda won for the first time.
"It's always a milestone, scoring a hundred playing for your country and so it was a disappointment not to get it then (2006) because every batsman wants to get over that hurdle," the Bailey's Bay stalwart added.
Outerbridge's ton was the second achieved in an Intercontinental Cup match on local soil. USA skipper Steve Messiah (104) scored the first against Bermuda at the NSC in 2004.
Veteran all-rounder Janeiro Tucker was the first Bermudian batsman to score a century (123) in the competition in 2005. And like Tucker did three years' ago, Outerbridge had to start again from scratch having gone to bed the night before just shy of the milestone.
"It was kind of hard to sleep the night before because I was up thinking about some of the possible outcomes that could happen," Outerbridge explained.
"The approach was to basically to start all over again. They (Scotland) bowled a few maidens (on the final day) before giving me a short ball that I hit for four. That basically got me going and from there I just tried to keep it straight."
With the Intercontinental Cup assignment against the Scots now behind them, Outerbridge and his Bermuda team-mates will now turn their attention to next month's crucial Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers in Ireland.
And with three ICC Associates now guaranteed to advance to next year's Twenty20 World Cup finals in England after the beleaguered Zimbabweans withdrew from the competition, Outerbridge rates Bermuda's chances as good as any of the other teams vying to advance in the competition.
"With Zimbabwe out, the door is now wide open and I think we have a very realistic chance of qualifying for the Twenty20 World Cup," he said.
"I think we can qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup which would be a huge achievement for Bermuda."
Outerbridge is also looking forward to the chance of a lifetime to play against Test side West Indies in an official One-Day International (ODI) in Toronto where he will rub shoulders with former University of West Indies class-mates Darren Sammy and Fidel Edwards.
"I think that match is in the back of everybody's head because we all grew up watching the West Indies," he said. "To finally play them in an official ODI is going to be awesome."