Renegades close in on title
Rampant Renegades are odds-on favourites to be crowned Evening Cricket League champions after ending Tuff Dogs' hopes of a fifth successive title by securing a 15-run win in a low-scoring match at Shelly Bay.
It was the second defeat in a week — and third in all — for Tuff Dogs, who had earlier lost to De Wicketest by 34 runs.
An eighth successive win has left unbeaten Renegades nine points clear of Tuff Dogs with two matches remaining. They face BCB Academy, who have lost only once, next Wednesday and wrap up their season against bottom club KPMG. Second-placed The Associates have also lost only one game.
Renegades made a modest 106 for five from their 16 overs after winning the toss in Monday's game, led by Matthew Spencer's 38, and Mike Ford's three for 30 then helped cement victory by restricting Tuff Dogs to 91 for nine in reply.
“It was our lowest score of the season,” said Durnferd Davis, who has taken over the captaincy of Renegades in the absence of Ryan Miller.
“Tuff Dogs had a couple of unfortunate run-outs, so the game could have gone either way, but it was a good bowling effort by our guys [to defend that total].”
Renegades, however, are not yet ready to crack open the champagne.
“I wouldn't underestimate the kids,” added Davis ahead of next week's game against the Academy.
Terence Corday, captain of Tuff Dogs, said: “We restricted them to a below-par score and should have chased it down, but failed again.”
De Wicketest's earlier win over Tuff Dogs, which lifted them into the top six, produced the biggest upset of the season.
Logan Phillips was their hero, making 61 in their 126 for six and then claiming two for 21, coupled with Sean Loving's three for 16 and Paul Fox's two for 26, as Tuff Dogs were held to 92 for nine.
“Basically, De Wicketest showed up with more hunger to win,” said Corday, who took three for 21 and made 28.
“They batted well. We were very poor in the field and gave up 30 more runs than we should have.
“Then our top order collapsed and they held some great catches. Certainly on the night they deserved to win.
“We have struggled all year, to be honest.
“We haven't lost any players other than Dean Minors. The team just doesn't seem as focused this year. We just aren't playing that well.”
Renegades went into Monday's game on the back of a 38-run win over High Flyaz.
An unbeaten 50 by Riaan Engelbrecht, 34 not out by Davis and 34 by Spencer guided Renegades to 138 for five before High Flyaz were held to 100 for five with Gerald Simons making 28.
Fifth-placed PHC thrashed KPMG by 70 runs after piling up 159 for three — underpinned by Kevin Hurdle's 54, Antoine Russell's 44 not out and Charles Symonds's 30 — and then dismissing KPMG for 89.
In last week's other completed game, Fine Leg Byes romped to a nine-wicket victory after restricting West XI to 103 for four.