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Rangers rediscover winning feeling

At the double: Belboda took two wickets at Southampton Oval (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Southampton Oval (Southampton Rangers won toss): Southampton Rangers beat Cleveland County by 188 runs

Southampton Rangers, the Premier Division champions, chalked up their first league win of the season with an emphatic 188-run demolition of winless Cleveland County at Southampton Oval yesterday.

Janeiro Tucker, the Rangers captain, blasted a typically aggressive 84 and added 107 runs for the fifth wicket with Andrew Raynor, while Ryan Belboda and Vernon Eve took two wickets each to guide the home side to a lopsided victory.

Chasing a steep target of 313, Cleveland folded for 125 in the 35th over with remaining batsmen Jason Simons, the captain, and Keishon Smith unable to pad up after suffering leg injuries in the field during the first innings. Opener Stephen Douglas gathered 50 from 76 balls to lead the Cleveland resistance before he was last wicket to fall.

Rangers put a blunted and erratic Cleveland attack to the sword after electing to take first strike on an excellent batting track.

Openers Kwame Tucker and Curtis Jackson, the former Cleveland player, got Rangers off to a solid start before a collapse, with the home side slipping from 75 without loss to 95 for four.

But a timely century partnership between Tucker and Raynor put Rangers back in control as a combination of wayward bowling and dropped catches took their toll on Cleveland.

Tucker, whose whirlwind 69-ball innings included four sixes and six fours, added a further 85 runs for the sixth wicket with Jason Wade and seemed destined for a century until he was caught on the square-leg boundary attempting to hook seamer Clay Darrell outside the ground.

Wade, who hit five fours and a six during his 31-ball innings, fell shortly after Tucker departed five runs shy of a half-century.

Darrell and Douglas took two wickets each for a Cleveland attack that sent down 40 wides and was penalised six runs for a slow over rate.

Rangers made an early breakthrough in Cleveland’s reply after opener/wicketkeeper Adrian Burrows took on the arm of Alex Dore and was run out.

The visiting side managed to steady the ship with Douglas and Clay Darrell adding 45 runs for the second wicket before Cleveland lost three wickets in the space of 20 runs that reduced them to 81 for four.

Douglas and Jabari Darrell added 37 runs for the fifth wicket to carry Cleveland past the century mark.

But once Darrell was brilliantly run out by Raynor’s direct throw at the stumps the end came swiftly for Cleveland who lost their last three batsmen for the addition of seven runs, including Douglas, whose 76-ball knock contained four boundaries.

Cleveland’s innings would have ended earlier had Rangers held more of their catches.

Belboda, the seam bowler, and Eve, the left-arm spinner, took two for 36 and two for 12 to lead the Rangers’ attack.