Rangers champions again in Western Counties
Southampton Oval (PHC won toss): Southampton Rangers beat PHC by five wickets
Southampton Rangers survived a scare to retain the Western Counties Cup after handing challengers PHC a five-wicket defeat in a low-scoring final at Southampton Oval on Saturday.
Chasing a target of 96, the holders were reduced to 50 for five inside eight overs to offer their opponents a glimmer of hope of pulling off an improbable upset before Kevin Tucker and Kwame Tucker produced a match-winning, 46-run partnership.
“We had a little nervous moment there but I know my players and we always seem to find a way to win,” Ricky Brangman, the Rangers coach, said. “As long as we stick together, things will always work out.”
Kevin Tucker, more renowned for his bowling exploits, and who has been assisting with coaching PHC this season, led the fightback with an aggressive innings of 32 from 23 balls that included six fours.
“He [Kevin] had something to prove to his players because he has been down there helping out with PHC,” Brangman added. “He had something to prove and it’s a good thing when your coach goes out there and shows what he is trying to explain to you.”
Kwame Tucker, who provided solid support for the free-scoring Tucker, stroked two fours in an unbeaten knock of 11 off 16 balls.
Things might have turned out differently for PHC had their captain, Dev Hanuman, held on to a chance in the covers offered by Kevin Tucker off the bowling of Randy Bean at a crucial stage of the match with the home team reeling.
The Trinidadian all-rounder also dropped the middle-order batsman in the slips off the bowling of Somerset Cup Match reserve Dalin Richardson, but by then the game was all but lost.
Rangers started their reply poorly after losing opener Gerald Simons in the first over, caught at long-on off the bowling Darren Anglin, with no runs on the board.
A 43-run, second-wicket partnership between 16-year-old Berkeley student Najiyah Raynor and wicketkeeper Ricardo Brangman, celebrating his 38th birthday, put the run chase back on track.
Raynor entertained the crowd with some attractive stroke play belying his tender years. The youngster belted six fours and a six down the ground in a top knock of 35 from only 17 balls, with 22 of his runs coming off Hanuman’s second over.
The burgeoning partnership was finally broken when Brangman was caught behind by opposite number Jonathan Ball for 11.
Bean then tightened the screws after replacing Hanuman at the northern end as he claimed the prized scalps of Raynor, Janeiro Tucker, the Rangers player-coach, and guest player Allan Douglas Jr in the space of one run.
Raynor was bowled playing an attacking shot, Tucker caught behind for a duck while Douglas was also bowled driving on the front foot for one to leave Rangers in a spot of bother. PHC’s hopes of an upset were ultimately dashed as the home side dug in and reached their target with no further loss.
Bean, who tormented the batsmen bowling stump to stump, led the PHC attack with three for 26 from 4.5 overs, while fellow seam bowler Anglin took two for 26.
Earlier, PHC failed to build on a promising start and were dismissed for a paltry total as slow bowlers Vernon Eve and Douglas claimed seven wickets between them.
Openers Jelani Albouy and Kevin Lambe added 21 runs for the first wicket, but the challengers were pegged back as left-arm spinner Eve removed both batsmen in the space of one run. Albouy was first to go when he played across the line and was bowled for 12, and Lambe fell for nine after being adjudged leg-before playing back.
A 28-run stand between Ball and Bean steadied the ship before the former, who was earlier dropped behind off Janeiro Tucker, was caught in the covers for two off the same bowler.
Bean, who dominated the partnership with Ball, was dismissed four overs later when he was run out by Eve after being sent back to the non-striker’s end. The No 4 bat thumped three fours and two sixes in his knock of 32 from 56 balls.
Hanuman and Richardson tried to pick up the pieces, adding 13 runs for the fifth wicket to momentarily halt the onslaught.
But once Hanuman was stumped by Brangman off the bowling of Douglas the end came swiftly for PHC whose remaining five wickets fell for 23 runs inside of ten overs, with only tail-ender Anglin offering any real resistance with an unbeaten innings of 12 containing four boundaries.
Eve was the pick of the Rangers bowlers with four for 30 from nine overs.
Douglas, the off spinner, also held his end of the bargain on the way to equally impressive figures of three for ten from 9.1 overs, which included six maidens.
“We got off to a good start but then we didn’t build any partnerships,” Cal Waldron, the PHC coach, said. “Too many bad outs for our top order and we just never recovered. I was disappointed with the way we got out.
“A better performance with the ball and it might have been a different result had we had some more runs on the board.”
J Albouy b Eve 12
K Lambe lbw b Eve 9
†J Ball c Raynor b Tucker 2
R Bean run out 32
*H Dev st R Brangman b Douglas 12
D Richardson c Simons b L Brangman 7
J Outerbridge b Eve 5
W Dottin c R Brangman b Douglas 1
T Smith lbw b Douglas 0
E Shakir c L Brangman b Eve 0
D Anglin not out 12
Extras (lb 1, w 2) 3
Total (39.1 overs) 95
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-22, 3-50, 4-59, 5-72, 6-78, 7-79, 8-83, 9-83.
Bowling: Kevin Tucker 7-2-15-0; Eve 9-3-30-4; Durham 4-0-19-0; J Tucker 7-4-8-1; Douglas 9.1-6-10-3; L Brangman 3-0-12-1.
G Simons c Dottin b Anglin 0
N Raynor b Bean 35
†R Brangman c Ball b Anglin 11
A Douglas b Bean 1
*J Tucker c Ball b Bean 0
Kevin Tucker not out 32
Kwame Tucker not out 11
Extras (lb 1, w 5) 6
Total (5 wkts, 13.5 overs) 96
H Durham, L Brangman, T Smith and V Eve did not bat.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-43, 3-49, 4-49, 5-50.
Bowling: Anglin 6-0-26-2; Dev 2-0-30-0; Bean 4.5-1-26-3: Richardson 1-0-13-0.
Umpires: A Knight and M McCormack.