November 28, 2018
By Sahr Morris Jnr
Tournament coordinator of the Mercury Beach cricket tournament, Emmanuel Pessima has described this year’s tournament as another memorable ‘Beach Cricket tournament.’
Pessima, who thanked the Sierra Leone Cricket Association for giving him the opportunity to serve as tournament coordinator, said the competition was a great one. Hosted at the Place Resort, Tokeh Beach, outside Freetown, the tournament played as a six-a-side competition with a maximum of five overs per innings.
Six teams participated and were divided into two groups of three each – Group A consisted of the Indian Combined, Veterans Combined and the Sierra Leone Under-19 Boys, while Group B featured the Pak Stars, British High Commission/DFID and Sierra Leone Women’s Team.
The opening match in Group A saw Veterans Combined take on Indian Combined, with Veterans Combined coming out on top by 14 runs. In Group B, the opening match witnessed British High Commission/DFID against the Pak Stars, with the latter winning a close encounter by three runs.
After each team in both groups had completed two matches, the situation in Group A was that the Indian Combined and Veterans Combined qualified for the semi-finals, while Sierra Leone U-19 boys failed to qualify. Similarly, in Group B, it was Pak Stars and British High Commission who made it to the semi-finals, with the Sierra Leone Women’s team missing out.
In the first semi-final in Ground A, British High Commission/DFID lost to the Indian Combined by 20 runs. In the other semi-final, Pak Stars defeated Veterans Combined by four wickets. The third-place playoff was reduced to a three-over affair, in which Veterans Combined defeated British High Commission/DFID by 12 runs. In this match, it was amazing seeing Francis Trevor Samura, Chief Executive Officer of the SLCA, play for the Veterans Combined as a guest player.
All eyes were now on the big derby match – Pak Stars and Indian Combined were the finalists. Pak Stars were favourites coming into the contest, as they were undefeated during the group stage and had a convincing victory in the semi-final.
Indian Combined won the toss and elected to bat first, but lost early wickets. Abass Gbla and Shaheeb Khan played beautifully and led their team to a decent total of 62 runs. Pak Stars thus required 63 runs to win from five overs. Their chase was steady from the outset, and they batted with great composure to win the match by five wickets with two balls to spare.
Chief Executive Officer of SLCA, Francis Trevor Samura, in his statement talked about the importance of the event and extended his appreciation to all those who came to enjoy the event.
British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington, was a key player in the British High Commissioner/DFID team. Mary Hunt, the head of DFID, and Karen Guy, wife of the High Commissioner, were all dignitaries who graced this year’s tournament. Also, there was the presence of cricketing royalty. The British High Commission/DFID team had three guest players who were Sierra Leone Men’s national cricketers – Emmanuel Kamara, Lansana Lamin and Emmanuel Pessima.