Premiership could be heading west (at last)

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Romerils wouldn’t have been too unhappy with the 88 for one score line after 22 overs at drinks, although the fact that Johan Nel and Dean Morrrison were at the crease would have had most St Ouen fans considering a score of 230 a realistic target.

To end up with the total they did owed much to a ten-over onslaught in which Morrison and Hugo Bishop plundered 130 runs, with Tony Carlyon and even Ryan Driver unable to do anything but watch helplessly as the ball breached the boundary time and time again.

Morrison’s innings of 138 has forced those who can do such things, to consider drastic measures to contain the feisty Australian, much as organisers of the Masters have done after Tiger Woods had brought Augusta to its knees.

You may, therefore, see two boundaries at matches, one that applies to Morrison and a few yards inside it one that applies to the rest, and old playground favourites, such as six and out, and one hand one bounce, may be resurrected just for him.

Despite their start to the season the St Ouen skipper is not getting too carried away and insists they are taking one game at a time, but with Phil Rammage and Anthony Kay still to come back thoughts of Premiership glory must be on his mind.

That albatross that has hung around the club’s neck, through years of underachievement, is still there however, and it remains to be seen whether this current squad is able to shed it, when others have failed so miserably.

Morrison admits things have been lax in the past but is only interested in winning. It seems after years of talking the talk it’s now time to walk the walk.

In last week’s other match, Farmers-Caesareans comfortably beat Springfield and no amount of spin can disguise the fact that Springfield are in for a long hard season, especially as Jason Carpenter is away for the next four weeks.

But while the Springfield squad has become depleted over the winter, Farmers have picked up a couple of useful opening batsmen in Hannes Botha and Sean Connaway which should stand them in good stead.

Springfield have a bit of time to lick their wounds, but face St Ouen, who take on OV’s tomorrow, in a couple of weeks’ time. In tomorrow’s other match Optimus have a chance to gain swift recompense against Farmers-Caesareans although the black cloud predicting heavy rain on the forecast doesn’t look too promising.

St Ouen v Rathbones OVs (LQ1): Dean Morrison’s wicket became top of bowlers ‘Most Wanted’ lists after his assault on the Optimus bowling attack last week; even more so as he couldn’t even give one of their toiling bowlers the satisfaction of his wicket and got himself run out in the end.

Whilst his heroics rightly grabbed most of the headlines, they are not a one-man team. Johan Nel has made an impressive start to his career with the club and on the bowling front, Paul Horton’s apprentice, Scott Simpson is coming along. The way he performed his task last Saturday means he is likely to be hired throughout the season, although may move down the pecking order when Anthony Kay returns next week.

This is a significantly tougher assignment than OVs faced in their opening game against Aztec Springfield, in which they scored a seven-wicket victory. Springfield’s subsequent 134-run defeat at the hands of Farmers devalues the form somewhat, and OV’s have a tough task ahead. Memories of the last time they came up against Morrison will still be at the forefront of their minds, his 141 not out, however, was, amazingly, not enough to win that match, but this post-Gomersall St Ouen side looks a much more robust animal.

It’s probably unwise to get too carried away on the basis of one game, but St Ouen were mighty impressive last week. Things are seldom straightforward and the fact that the match is at Les Quennevais, which wasn’t quite as unpredictable as it can be last week, but did have its moments, means that predictions of another run fest may have to be reigned in a bit. It would be folly however to desert St Ouen now, and they should make it three from three.

Prediction: A homer for Simpson and St Ouen is on the cards.

Optimus v Farmers-Caesareans (Farmers): Last week’s victory will be a welcome one for Pete German and his team, and could be the start of better things. He was certainly in good voice in the field as his team started to get on top, and his ‘come on now let’s follow through’ shout of encouragement certainly tickled umpire Dave Clark.

A few of his batsmen may do just what the captain ordered this week, as I would imagine Ryan Driver will be fully charged up after the uncharacteristically high run count from his bowling last week.

The rumours that Dave Gorman had invested in a pair of new cricket boots to replace the golf shoes he played in last year are actually untrue. He is playing in new footware this season, but close inspection of the spikes revealed that they are still golf shoes. The shoes were just too much of a bargain at 55 euros in a French hypermarche, his satisfaction only tempered by the fact that he was unable to claim the VAT back on them as they didn’t cost enough.

It is probably fitting that he did get a birdie last week, a duck anyway, so was below par, although it can probably be attributed to the low bounce at Les Quennevais and not the shoes.

This will be the first league match Farmers play on their own pitch and what better way to christen it than with a victory over the champions.

I suppose, after last week’s confidence boosting victory, there will be those who think they can pull off a surprise, although I suspect that on Sunday morning Richard Collinson, who may well be at the game enjoying the quintessential English cricket experience, 22 players huddled together in the pavilion sheltering from the rain and drinking hot cups of tea, will be watching an Optimus victory.

Prediction: Wound up Driver could leave Farmers with a couple of acres.

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