On Sunday at Tuschen, Essequibo emerged Champions of the GCB/CGI three-day Franchise League when they drew their last round game with West Demerara to be the only unbeaten team in the League. Their Coach/Manager, 29-year-old Ryan Hercules added the accolade of Essequibo’s first ever national three-day win to his three consecutive Busta Championships for East Bank Essequibo making him Essequibo’s most successive Coach. “The feeling of winning Essequibo’s first National three-day title is a very exciting and happy one as Coach/manager since we worked hard and it’s well deserved. Essequibo did well because we have a balanced squad with young talented players who listen and execute plans. We bond very well and we work as a good unit,” informed Hercules. Hercules, who began Coaching 2009 in England and has been coaching since then, even when he was playing in Australia, pointed out that the strength of his side was their outstanding performance in all departments. “Kevin Gordon, Kemo Paul and Nealand Cadogan provided a lively pace attack, while Anthony Adams, second highest wicket taker in the tournament, along with Ricardo and Akenie Adams, Chaitram Persaud and Vijai Surujpaul provided a strong spin attack. The main improvement this year was the quality of our fielding and that five of our batsmen scored hundreds,” stated Hercules. Ricardo Adams (2), Kemol Savory, Anthony Adams, Paul and Shiv Chanderpaul all scored centuries making Essequibo the team with the most centurions, while Savory had the most dismissals behind the stumps in the League. Essequibo’s success was not dependant on their two West Indies players, Chanderpaul (who played the last two matches) and Ronsford Beaton, who did not play any. “Shiv joining us was a major plus since he is the best batsman in Guyana at the moment and at 43, he bats like 23. Shiv is a role model to the young players in the side and any team will want to have him in their side and we are happy to have him playing for Essequibo,” said Hercules who represented Essequibo as a pacer from 2004 for nine years. The Coach was high in praise for Assistant Coach Michael Hyles Franco, describing him as an asset to the side with his 35-years experience as a Coach. “He is a great character and his experience is an asset to the side. The team spirit was very high from day one and we maintained that level of intensity even on a bad day,” said Hercules, a former National youth player. Hercules disclosed that his biggest challenge as Coach was to take a bunch of young talented players from all parts of Essequibo and turn them into one good unit and to work hard with them and be number one. “My mission is well accomplished since I helped many of them to be better individuals on and off the field and taught them how to be professionals on and off field, while the Essequibo Cricket Board have supported us to a extent and I say thanks for the support,” Hercules stated. “Our plans for the 50-overs league, is yet to be discussed with the board but I have already planned what I would like us to do as a team to keep our unit going. So I can’t say as yet until we have gotten the OK to work with the plans we want to put in place,” said Hercules. The 50-over format is set for December during the Regional Four-Day tournament break for Christmas and Hercules says he is very confident that Essequibo can win the double. “Our team spirit is high going into the 50 overs tournament but it’s a different ball game and we have to set our mind for a different version of the game and I’m confident that my players can make any adjustment necessary to win the 50 overs title,” explained Hercules. “I recommend that the Essequibo board don’t just be happy with winning just one title. It’s the beginning of a new era for Essequibo and this is the good start we need to continue training, have coaches in all the different zones working on the young players, have more games played between the zones, have clinics for fast bowlers, batsman, keepers etc, even an academy during the August holidays for all players,” said Hercules who copped the best Fielder Award for 2006 Regional U-19 tournament. Hercules thanked all the persons that supported, including Dwayne Stephens from Big Yard Auto Sales, Jerome Bascombe and his family for their support. He urged their supporters to come out and support Essequibo cricket since he believes this is a new dawn for the Essequibo cricket team.
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