Josh Ball, The Royal Gazette
Irving Romaine scored a fine century in a losing effort for Bermuda in their first one-day encounter with Namibia yesterday.
The innings was the highlight of an otherwise poor Bermuda display, which skipper David Hemp called 'pretty much unacceptable', and was all the more impressive because it was made with a heavily bruised right hand.
Unfortunately Romaine's ton was always likely to be in a losing cause, and the freedom with which he batted was testament to that. And while the brutal innings, which came off 75 balls, and included seven fours and six sixes, was never likely to change the outcome of this game, it did do one thing for the tourists.
It gave them a result that made the match seem closer than it really ever had a right to be.
The record books will show that Romiane's hundred came in a 65-run loss on the Duckworth/Lewis method, but it won't show a game where Bermuda were lucky to get to three figures, let alone within shouting distance of actually winning.
It won't show a Namibia team who took their foot off the pedal and nearly gave the game to the tourists, and it won't show a bad umpiring decision that changed the complexion of the game entirely when Bermuda were forced to start their innings in the rain on a damp pitch.
None of which should detract from Romaine's efforts, but nor should it overshadow a Bermuda performance that again found the side wanting with bat, and ball.
"I think, overall in the field we hussled quite well, and with the backing up, and the throwing, I was quite pleased with that," said Hemp. "But we put down a couple of chances again, and there were some mis-fields which we need to improve on, and you can't drop catches at this level because you generally get punished.
"I think we need to think about where we are trying to bowl, but overall we stuck to the task well, and 270-odd, on a good wicket, as it was at the time, was certainly gettable.
"From a batting perspective I don't think the rain break helped, I don't think going back out on it when it was still damp, which it meant it (the ball) nipped around quite considerably compared to earlier in the day.
"But saying that the batting performance, apart from one individual, was very average and pretty much unacceptable. We're better players than that and to finish the game 60 runs short, with 12 balls left, just sums it up.
"We need to think about that, we need to think about how we are going to play against certain types of bowlers and we need to think about it hard tonight, so we can put it right tomorrow (today).
"Ironically though I do think we're quite close to cracking it, it all just needs to come together."
The dropped catches aside, Bermuda generally performed well in the field. Justin Pitcher was again the pick of the bowlers, taking three for 45 from 9.3 overs, and and they got off to the perfect start when a mix-up between openers Gerhard Rudolph and Raymond van Schoor finished with Rudolph being run out for just three, leaving Namibia 10 for one.
While van Schoor (39) and Sarel Burger (91) then put on 71 for the second wicket, Bermuda stuck to their task well and although the home side rattled along at roughly five an over, they never really seemed like they were getting out of reach.
Burger and Gerrie Snyman (56) put on 93 for the fourth wicket, and Nicholas Scholtz contributed 40 towards the end as Namibia finished on 268 for six when the rain came with nine balls of the innings remaining.
Even so, on a ground where 300 is generally considered par, Bermuda would have fancied their chances of chasing the adjusted score of 276 off 48 overs.
The loss of Chris Foggo, caught behind to a rash shot, from only the second ball of the innings certainly wasn't in the plan, nor was losing David Hemp and Stephen Outerbridge soon after and struggling on 29 for three.
From there the rest of the batsmen capitulated far too easily, and mostly in foolish fashion. Fiqre Crockwell, Jekon Edness and Rodney Trott all gave their wickets away as Bermuda collapsed to 62 for six.
It quickly became 86 for eight as Justin Pitcher and Shannon Rayner got out to sloppy shots, and at that stage it seemed unlikely that the tourists would last much past three figures, if that.
However, Romaine and Malachi Jones (22) played with the freedom of men who know they have nothing to lose, and Namibia picked that moment to stop playing because they thought the game was won.
The pair put on 43 for the ninth wicket before Jones was the victim of a highly dubious lbw decision. Kelly joined Romaine at the crease with the score on 129 for nine, and with almost 150 needed off 18 overs, the game should have been over there and then.
But Namibia continued to bowl poorly, and their spinners, and part time spinners, all of whom were given a run out, continued to serve up balls full and wide outside off stump that Romaine treated with the contempt they deserved.
Even when they were bowling to Kelly, Namibia seemed unable to put any pressure on the tail-ender, and as the score crept towards 200, the impossible looked like being possible.
It was always going to be a big ask though, and as the asking rate crept up to more than ten an over, the only real victory Bermuda had to enjoy was the knowledge that the score line was respectable and Romaine had a hundred.