By Sean Devers (kaieteur News)
Half-centuries from Brian Sattaur (62), Randolph Singh (64) and Keon Morris (59) gave home team Demerara first day honors against Essequibo in the opening round of their Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) three day Under-19 cricket encounter at the DCC ground yesterday.
The trio got support from Kemo Savory and Steven Sankar who both made 44 as Demerara were dismissed for 341, twenty minutes before the close. When stumps were drawn Essequibo had reached 23-1, still behind by 318 runs.
In sweltering heat on a good track and fast outfield Essequibo won the toss and invited Demerara to bat.
First-Class left-hander Tagnarine Chanderpaul edged senior Essequibo fast bowler Kemo Paul to second slip before Demerara had scored.
The pugnacious Singh, already with National youth team experience, stroked 10 fours and a six in a typically attacking knock and along with Ronaldo Renee (13) added 63 for the second wicket before left-arm spinner Akila Adams trapped Renee LBW.
Sattaur was then caught and bowled by Ricardo Peters at 86-3 before Singh and Sherfane Rutherford, who both reside in the village of Enmore, consolidated the position with positive stroke play to take their team to 143-3 by Lunch.
The fourth wicket pair increased their partnership to 79 before the left-handed Singh flirted with a ball pitched outside off-stump from the impressively quick Paul and was caught behind.
Rutherford (27) was bowled without addition to the score as Demerara lost two wickets at 163. They lost two more wickets, including Savory by Tea, which was taken at 277-8 with Essequibo expecting to wrap up the innings shortly after the break.
However, Morris, who clobbered four fours and two sixes in his unbeaten fifty, got excellent support from National under-19 leg-spinner Sankar and the two put together 78 for the ninth wicket before off-spinner Peters bowled Sankar at 302-9.
Another frustrating last wicket stand with Kevin Paul (15) kept the lads from the Cinderella County in the field as they took the score to 341 before Paul was bowled by Paul Williams.
The 18-year-old Kemo Paul, who has been representing Essequibo for the last two years in senior Inter-County cricket, finished with 3-58 and impressed the small but vocal crowd with his pace and control.
Adams (3-49) and Peters (2-43) provided good back-up with the ball for the team from Guyana’s largest but least populated County.
When the visitors began their reply Avenash Persaud looked accomplished and stroked Morris, who also bowled with good pace, to the point boundary for consecutive fours before elegantly finding the gap between cover and mid-off in Morris’ next over for another delightful boundary.
But just when it seemed Essequibo would go to bed without losing a wicket, Persaud (14) gifted his wicket with a careless on-drive and was taken at mid-on as Kevin Paul made the break-through at 21-1.
Peters (3*) and Shivendra Hemraj (0*) then saw their team safely to the close. Play is scheduled to commence at 09:30hrs on the second day today.