Brangman: we cannot take Cuts for granted
Cricket resumes this weekend after the Cup Match break with, matches in four competitions today and tomorrow.
Southampton Rangers will put the Western Counties Cup on the line today against Willow Cuts at Southampton Oval, starting at 11am, while Twenty20 Premier Division action starts today, with St George’s playing host to Bailey’s Bay at Wellington Oval. The other Premier Division match, between Somerset and Western Stars, is off, with Stars forfeiting because of a shortage of players.
Cleveland Counties take on Flatts at St David’s and Bailey’s Bay face St David’s at Sea Breeze Oval in Junior Eastern Counties at Sea Breeze Oval today. Both games start at noon.
Rangers are forced to make one change to the county squad that was picked for the rained-out match against Warwick last month. Hasan Durham, the spinner, comes in for all-rounder Janeiro Tucker, who is off island.
“They’ll be our toughest opponents, we can’t take them for granted,” Rangers coach Ricky Brangman said of Cuts, who were still finalising their team yesterday, but are expected to name Chris Douglas alongside Kwasi James, his Somerset Cup Match team-mate.
Cuts were dethroned by Rangers two years ago, when Southampton won a high-scoring third-round match by 36 runs. Last year, Rangers scored a six-wicket victory over Cuts.
Dexter Basden, the Cuts vice-president and a former captain, believes his team are capable of pulling off an upset with what should be a young team around the experience of captain Kamal Bashir and vice-captain Dwight Basden. Douglas, who had a stint with Cuts in the league, will bring something extra to their batting line-up.
“We’re going to give a good showing,” Dexter Basden said. “If anybody is going to be a threat to Rangers it is Cuts. They know that too, that with Willow Cuts anything can happen. All we need is one or two guys to get runs and wickets and it could turn the game around.”
Tomorrow will feature the inaugural One Championship Cup matches between the top two teams from the Premier Division and First Division. Top-flight champions Southampton play St David’s at Wellington Oval and in the lower-divison fixture Cleveland County take on Flatts Victoria at St John’s Field in a prelude to next weekend’s Eastern Counties Cup second round at Sea Breeze Oval.
Cleveland dethroned Bailey’s Bay in the counties, then claimed the automatic promotion spot the next day. Flatts, however, were not to be denied, getting promotion the following weekend when they shocked Premier Division team Western Stars to win the play-off, sending Stars into the First Division with Somerset.
The Twenty20 tournament is set to dominate the next few weekends of the season as St David’s open the defence of their title next weekend when they meet Southampton Rangers for the second straight weekend. St David’s won a thrilling final last year when they beat Bailey’s Bay by one run to deny them a third straight title.
Some exciting matches are anticipated, starting with Bailey’s Bay trio Zeko Burgess, Kyle Hodsoll and Sinclair Smith playing against their former team, St George’s. Hodsoll and Smith were omitted from the Cup Match team that lost by an innings to Somerset. Two other Bay players, Terryn Fray and Stephen Outerbridge both had scores in the 90s for Somerset.
An Evening League Select team will play in the First Division’s T20 tournament when the tournament continues next weekend with eight matches in the two divisions.
Last season Tuff Dogs, of the Evening League, won the Twenty20 plate final, with victory over Devonshire Rec as Dean Minors was their batting hero with a knock of 91.