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VI Combined Stars upend unbeaten Royal Knights before shutdown

Combined Virgin Islands Stars batsman Brian Joseph hits four of his 87 not out against Royal Knights, as Wicket Keeper Yudeseh “Steve” Shivprashad prepares for a catch

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

The VI Combined Stars flogged defending champions Royal Knights by eight wickets, knocking them from the ranks of the unbeaten in the BVI Cricket Association T20 League, before the league was suspended following government’s decision to ban gatherings of more than 30 persons, because of the novel coronavirus.

VI Combined Stars—comprised of players from St. Thomas, Tortola and Virgin Gorda—invited Royal Knights to bat after they won the toss and restricted them to 203, with the bulk of their runs coming from workhorse Keon DeJesus’ 129 not out, his second century of the season. Wayne Richards added a supporting 30 before he went lbw off a Matthew Jordan delivery.

Jordan grabbed 1-47, Dennis Tyson, 1-41 and Brian Joseph, 1-28. 

After Jordan was run out without scoring and Captain Doyle Jones went for four, Samuel Jones and Brian Joseph—with help from Royal Knights’ poor fielding—carried VI Combined Starts to 207-2 for their eight wicket victory. Jones had a stroke filled 102 not out—with 10 fours and seven 6s, while Joseph’s contribution was 87 not out, inclusive of seven 4s and five 6s.

“I think it was a very good game today. We are able to restrict Royal Knights to a rather decent total on this ground. We had some early wickets but the Captain stuck in and they got to 204,” VI Combined Stars Captain Doyle Jones said. “In the end, we had two good overs that slowed them down and we were able to hold them to 204. It’s really a morale booster. Our strategy is that one of the top four batsmen have to bat through. That’s really our goal.  That’s what we’re striving for and because of the size of the ground, we would like to be at least 120, 130 by the 10th over. That would give a good platform to really go out there and express ourselves.” 

Gordon French, Royal Knights manager, said it was a tough loss for his team despite coming out confident.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and work on our fielding—that’s where our letdown was today,” he noted. “We’ll go back to drawing board, work on the basics things that we have to work on and that’s something we have to work on for the next game. We’re still in the tournament and have to win the next three games in order to repeat as champions.”

In the other match, Police—who at one time were 22-5—collapsed chasing the Falcons’ 207, as they only could muster a meager 91, to lose by 116. Seven of Police’s batsmen combined to score 12 runs—with Chad Baston claiming four successive ducks—to finish 4-5 including a maiden. 

Turby Xavier snatched 2-24 and Kenron Baptiste, 2-42. 

Baston who earned Man of the Match honors, led the Falcons’ attack by just missing a half century, settling for 49, before being bowled by Jamal Mickle. Wicket Keeper Sylvester Mitchell had a supporting 32 and was caught by Mickle off Ron Augustine’s bowling. Mickle who bagged 3-52, curtailed Captain Joel Williams to 28. Curtis Jack also had a contributing 28. Sheldon John had a supporting 26 before going lbw. Landon snatched 2-31 and Augustine, 2-23.   

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