Rivals aim to build on early-season promise
Champions Southampton Rangers and Willow Cuts will be aiming to build on their winning starts when they lock horns in what promises to be an intriguing Premier Division Twenty20 contest at White Hill Field tomorrow.
Both teams opened the new campaign in style last weekend with victories over Bailey’s Bay and St George’s respectively and will now look to build on that early-season promise.
Rangers cruised to a comfortable 77-run win over Bay at Wellington Oval.
Charles Trott led Rangers’ charge as he struck 54 from 39 balls and claimed two for 11 off of his seam bowling.
Other standout performers for the champions included all-rounder Malachi Jones, who claimed three for 10 off just 16 deliveries, and Tayo Smith, the grandson of Somerset coach Jeff Richardson, who bagged three for 33 with the new ball.
Janeiro Tucker, the Rangers player-coach, was encouraged by his team’s display but admitted there is still room for improvement.
“The performance was pretty good,” Tucker said. “Overall it was a good game and I thought the guys played exceptionally well.
“We still have to iron our some kinks in our bowling and batting. But overall I have no real complaints.
“This was our first game and I think as the season goes on we should improve, which is the main thing.”
As for his team’s next opponents, Tucker said: “I am not worrying about the opposition, that will take it care of itself.
“I don’t worry about what the opposition do. I just have to worry about what my team is going to do and prepare them how I want them to play.”
Dexter Basden, the Willow Cuts coach, revealed his team is up for the challenge.
“I am expecting Rangers to put up a good fight and we will just have to respond,” he added. “Cricket is played on the field so it all depends on the day.”
Cuts are going into the match with their confidence soaring after a hard fought four-wicket win over hosts St George’s in a high-scoring affair at Wellington Oval in their previous outing.
Basden’s team scored 202 for six in reply to St George’s’ total of 198 for five with a ball to spare.
Openers Kwasi James (60) and Solomon Burrows (57) produced a 133-run opening stand to lay a solid foundation before middle order batsman Sergio Raynor stroked an unbeaten 48 and secured his team’s impressive win with a six off the penultimate ball of the match.
Micah Simons was Cuts’s most economical bowler with figures of one for 19 of four overs which included a maiden.
“After Sunday’s game the guys feel extremely confident that they have a chance of getting whatever total teams put up,” Basden added.
“I was quite happy to see these guys come out with a victory and they also earned some respect down in the east.”
Rangers top the Premier Division Twenty20 standings via a superior net run rate over second placed St David’s, who beat hosts Somerset by 38 runs to get their own season off to a positive start under new coach Ricky Brangman.
Elsewhere, St David’s host St George’s at Lords tomorrow while Somerset face Bailey’s Bay today at the same venue.
Meanwhile, First Division Twenty20 match ups will see the Bermuda Under-19 national squad take on Cleveland at Lords today with Somerset Bridge hosting Flatts at White Hill Field and Western Stars doing battle with Central Counties rivals Devonshire at Lords tomorrow.
Warwick, the First Division Twenty20 leaders, have been handed a bye.
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