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Devonshire pay heavy price for poor fielding

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All round display: Manders picked up three wickets and scored the winning runs in the Central Counties Cup final at St John’s Field

Western Stars retained the Central Counties Cup on Saturday, leaving Devonshire Rec to wonder what might have been.

Stars won by two wickets, and Rec dropped several catches in a game that could easily have gone either way.

After restricting the challengers to 200 in the first innings, Stars survived a late scare before crossing the line with 71 balls to spare.

Stars were cruising to their target at 174 for four but lost four wickets for 23 runs, as Devonshire fought back to make things interesting.

Devonshire’s impressive fightback was ultimately in vain, however, as lower-order batsmen Jalen Smith and Jayden Manders knocked off the winning runs in an unbroken ninth-wicket partnership.

Smith ended the game in style, hooking Ajaun Lamb’s first and only ball to the long-leg boundary for four at the start of the 39th over to ignite the home team’s celebrations.

“We worked hard as a team and won as a team today,” Brian Hall, the Stars captain, said. “Everyone did what they had to do.”

Stars’ successful run-chase was built on aggressive knocks from Hall and opener Makai Young, both striking half-centuries before Devonshire threatened to turn the game on its head.

Hall thumped 66 from 54 balls, including five sixes and four fours, and Young struck four sixes and as many fours in an equally robust knock of 62 from 56 balls.

Both batsmen made Devonshire pay dearly for putting down chances early in their innings — Young at the wicket and Hall at mid-on before getting off the mark.

Young and Hall added 86 runs for the third wicket after Stars slipped to 32 for two in the tenth over.

Both batsmen played some attractive shots down the ground and on both sides of the wicket, with Young bringing up his half-century off 49 balls in 52 minutes in the eighteenth over with a towering six over long-on off Wilbur Burt, a former Stars player.

The partnership was broken three overs later when Young got a thick outside edge and was caught at third man of Lemar Caines’s first ball.

Hall kept Stars well ahead of the run-rate with some powerful strokeplay, reaching his half-century in the 26th over off 47 balls in 77 minutes with a single off Lamont Brangman, the Devonshire left-arm seam bowler.

However, with victory in sight, Brangman struck a body blow when he had the free-scoring Hall caught at third man, leaving Stars in a spot of bother, with all of their recognised batsmen back in the pavilion.

Brangman tightened the screws, removing Swayne Campbell and Seth Campbell to leave Stars stuttering at 185 for seven in the 34th over. But, with the game in the balance, Smith and Manders rose to the occasion to ensure that the earlier dropped catches would haunt the challengers.

Brangman, who was the catalyst behind Stars’ late slide, took four for 23 from seven overs to lead a Devonshire attack that did not help its cause by contributing 18 wides.

Earlier, Devonshire found themselves in early trouble after electing to bat on a pitch offering considerable bounce.

The challengers lost openers Steven Bremar Jr and Chris Douglas cheaply before a 71-run, third-wicket stand between opener Lamb and Ricardo Brangman, the Devonshire captain and wicketkeeper, stopped the rot.

Both batsmen gave chances before Brangman’s luck ran out in the twentieth over when Justin Robinson took a low, sharp catch at mid-on off the bowling of Young.

Brangman’s dismissal ignited a collapse in which Devonshire’s next six wickets tumbled for 78 runs, including Lamb for a match-high 86 from 95 balls in 162 minutes.

Lamb, whose fifty arrived in 95 minutes from 58 balls, struck seven fours and two sixes, before he went for one big hit too many and was bowled by Hall in the 40th over.

At 159 for nine, the end seemed near for Devonshire.

However, the challengers’ tail wagged with last pair Maronie and Burt adding 41 runs before the former was bowled by Naquan Smith, the Stars seam bowler, in the last over after making 19 from 22 balls.

That Devonshire managed to post the total they did also owed much to the 34 runs that Stars leaked in extras, including 16 wides.

Smith and Manders, the teenage off spinner, took three wickets each to lead the Stars attack.

Western Stars v Devonshire Rec, Central Counties finals at St. Johns Field. (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

Central Counties Cup final

Western Stars v Devonshire Rec

St John’s Field (Devonshire Rec won toss): Western Stars beat Devonshire Rec by two wickets

Devonshire Rec

A Lamb b Hall 86

S Bremar c J Smith b N Smith 4

C Douglas c J Smith b N Smith 2

*†R Brangman c Robinson b Young 25

L Caines st Wilson b Swayne Campbell 2

L Talbot c J Smith b Manders 4

S DeGraff lbw b Manders 13

J Smith c Seth Campbell b Hall 1

L Brangman c and b Manders 0

J Maronie b N Smith 19

W Burt not out 10

Extras (b 6, lb 7, w 16, nb 5) 34

Total (49.2 overs) 200

Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-10, 3-81, 4-96, 5-125, 6-153, 7-156, 8-159, 9-159.

Bowling: Seth Campbell 7-0-27-0; N Smith 9.2-1-34-3; Swayne Campbell 10-0-28-1; Young 7-0-37-1; Hall 10-1-32-2; Manders 6-0-29-3.

Western Stars

†T Wilson b J Smith 6

M Young c J Smith b Caines 62

I Caines run out 5

*B Hall c sub b Brangman 66

J Robinson c sub b Brangman 12

Swayne Campbell c DeGraff b Brangman 11

Seth Campbell b Brangman 4

J Smith not out 13

N Smith run out 2

J Manders not out 2

Extras (b 2, lb 1, w 18) 21

Total (8 wkts, 38.1 overs) 204

W Campbell did not bat.

Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-35, 3-121, 4-116, 5-174, 6-185, 7-185, 8-197.

Bowling: Smith 8-1-31-1; Maronie 7-0-35-0; Burt 6-0-53-0; Degraff 1-0-8-0; Douglas 4-0-14-0; Talbot 2-0-22-0; Caines 3-0-11-1; Brangman 7-1-23-4; Lamb 0.1-0-4-0.

Umpires: Oscar Andrade and Hector Watson.