Champions get title defence back on track
St David’s produced a ruthless fireworks display with the bat to get their Twenty20 Premier Division title defence back on track at Wellington Oval yesterday.
The champions romped to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Eastern Counties rivals Cleveland County in a rain hit contest to rebound from a defeat against Southampton Rangers in their tournament opener the previous day.
Set a revised target of 75 in nine overs, the St David’s batsmen unleashed a vicious assault on the Cleveland attack to finish the job off in a hurry with 12 balls to spare.
Lionel Cann and Allan Douglas laid a solid foundation for the run chase as they produced a 52-run opening stand in just 2.5 overs after being promoted up the order.
Cann led the carnage, thumping four fours and two sixes in a brisk knock of 35 from 15 balls, while Douglas added 16 from ten balls with a four and a six.
Both batsmen offered chances which went unpunished.
Cleveland fought back and eventually plucked out three wickets in the space of eleven balls.
However, at 70 for three the damage had already been done and it was left to Brian Hall and George O’Brien Jr to knock off the remaining runs and carry their team across the line.
“In the first over we had 17 runs and from there we knew we were on top of the game and the message was just to continue on,” Chris Douglas, the St David’s captain, said.
St David’s’ target was revised because of a rain delay and time lost during the first innings retrieving the ball from outside of the ground.
Keith Whorms was the pick of the Cleveland bowling with two for 14 from two overs while Dennis Musson Jr claimed the remaining scalp.
Earlier, St David’s, who won the toss, restricted Cleveland to 165 for five after.
Cleveland got their innings off to a flying start with Dean Stephens and wicketkeeper Bryce Daniels producing a 68-run opening stand in 6.2 overs.
However, the home side were unable to capitalise on their solid start during the power play and lost a bunch of wickets trying to pick the run rate back up in the second half of their innings.
Stephens was the mainstay of Cleveland’s innings with an aggressive and unbeaten 93 from 67 balls that included five sixes and nine fours.
The experienced all-rounder lived a charmed life as he was dropped twice during his knock, the first before getting off the mark in the first over of the innings.
“Dean was actually dropped on the second ball on a duck and again in the second over so the game could have been completely different,” Douglas said.
Daniels was next high man with 27 from 18 balls that included three sixes and a four while Makai Young added 12 from ten balls and Gary Whyte 19 from 13 balls with two fours and a six.
Fourth change Sheldon Caesar led the St David’s bowling with two for 34 from his quota of four overs while O’Brien, Justin Pitcher and Allan Douglas took one each.
Yesterday’s resounding win was the perfect response for St David’s after suffering a five-wicket defeat in a low scoring contest against Rangers at Southampton Oval the previous day.
Malachi Jones (two for 20) and captain Dion Stovell (two for 21) claimed four wickets between them to restrict St David’s to 112 for nine.
Jones then hammered 53 from just 26 balls with five sixes and two fours as Rangers replied with 114 for five to reach their target with 16 balls to spare.
“We had an unlucky start to the Twenty20 competition,” Douglas said. “We didn’t bat as well as we would have liked and had a few stale overs in our fielding as well.
“But it’s just good to get back to winning ways because the boys are used to winning.”
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