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Rangers edging closer to title win

St David's will look to achieve what no other team has managed so far this season in the league, inflict a first loss on Southampton Rangers when the champions meet the champions-in-waiting in the Logic Premier Division at Southampton Oval on Sunday.

Rangers pulled off another close win last weekend when they edged Somerset by one wicket to extend their unbeaten run though St David's, who are preparing for next weekend's Eastern Counties final, will be determined to get a good result.

With second-place Bailey's Bay having a bye week, Rangers have the opportunity to increase their lead at the top which presently stands at 19 points with three games remaining.

St David's are well off the pace in third, 60 points behind Rangers after three losses and the league could be settled with a game or two to spare.

The relegation battle, meanwhile, could go down to the wire with two teams automatically relegated, and the team finishing fifth involved in a play-off with the runners up from the First Division where Western Stars have already clinched promotion.

Flatts, still without a win at the bottom of the table, are facing a quick return to the First Division while Cleveland, Willow Cuts and Somerset are all battling to avoid finishing in the second relegation spot. Just three points separate the three teams ahead of this weekend's fixtures, when Somerset will travel to St David's to meet Flatts, and Willow Cuts take on Cleveland at Somerset Cricket Club.

In the Logic First Division, Devonshire Rec and St George's are battling to clinch the promotion play-off spot. Only seven points separate the teams with Rec, in second place, hosting PHC, while St George's meet unbeaten Western Stars at St John's Field.

Somerset Bridge play Warwick at White Hill Field in Sunday's other game.

n Belmont and Bailey's Bay have been crowned respective league champions of the Evening Cricket League and will head into the knockout semi-finals on successive weekends at Shelly Bay.

Belmont retained their Premier Division title after halfway leaders The Associates faded from contention and slipped to third place behind Tuff Dogs.

Bay finished four points clear of runners-up Deloitte to take the Second Division title.

Bay will face Blue Fever in tomorrow's first semi-final at 10am, to be followed at 2pm by Deloitte against the Under-18s.

Next weekend's first Premier Division semi-final pits Belmont against Fine Leg Byes on Saturday, August 29, followed by Tuff Dogs against The Associates the following day. Both games start at 10am.

Champions-in-waiting: Stovell and his Rangers team-mates can take a big step to securing the league title by beating St David's (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 21, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated August 21, 2015 at 1:40 am)

Rangers edging closer to title win

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