St David’s make most of Southampton hangover
Lord's (St David's won toss): St David's beat Southampton Rangers by eight wickets
St David's moved a step closer to another Premier Division title after easily brushing aside the current league champions yesterday to remain just ahead of Bailey's Bay.
After bowling Southampton Rangers out for 160 in less than 30 overs, St David's needed little time to chase down the runs and Allan Douglas Jr, who made 55, helped guide them to victory in 28.2 overs.
With third place the best they can hope for, Rangers made some adjustments to their team after Saturday's Western Counties win over Somerset Bridge, giving the captaincy to Kwame Tucker for the day, and tweaking their batting order as veteran Janeiro Tucker dropped down to No 9.
However, his 76 off 41 balls in just 43 minutes rescued Rangers from a dangerous position of 78 for eight after only 23 overs.
Tucker and Kyle Lightbourne, who scored 16, added 79 for the ninth wicket in little more than six overs, with Tucker showing no mercy to the St David's bowling as he hit five fours and six sixes.
Justin Pitcher felt the fury of Tucker's bat, going for 35 in his last two overs as Tucker smashed him for four sixes as Pitcher conceded 54 runs in five overs.
Lightbourne hit a couple of sixes himself to contribute to the late-innings excitement. The only other Rangers batsman in double figures was opener Gerald Simons with 21.
Rudell Pitcher, bowling first change, got the breakthrough in his first over when he removed Simons and Vernon Eve in the sixth over of the innings to put Rangers 28 for two.
Dion Stovell then had Chris Pitcher caught behind in the next over, before Rangers slumped further to 50 for seven by the seventeenth over as seven batsmen failed to reach double figures, before Tucker and Lightbourne's defiance made sure they reached 150.
Stovell had the best St David's figures against his former team, four for 36 from ten overs, while Rudell Pitcher had a good spell, finishing with three for seven off five overs.
St David's reached 94 for one by tea after Delyone Borden, who made 34, and Shannon Rayner, who was unbeaten on 39, added 54 in 12 overs for the first wicket.
Rayner and Douglas added a further 73 for the second wicket in just 11 overs with Douglas stroking a quick 55, hitting six fours and three sixes in the process. An unbroken third wicket stand of 34 between Raynor and Justin Pitcher wrapped up the victory for St David's.
“It was a county hangover, the guys had a nice night last night and coming down here our preparation was poor,” Kwame Tucker said. “For a game like this we should have been 'up' a bit more but then 160 is defendable.
“St David's came out and batted really well and applied themselves. But we did put some pressure on them and a couple of chances went down.”
Rangers still have two trophies to play for this season, the Champion of Champions and also the Twenty20 final.
“There is still something left in the season, but it [league] is between St David's and Bay to fight for the championship.
“Janeiro has had a long summer and they gave him a break [as captain], now I could be captain for the rest of the season,” Tucker said. “He batted well, a good batsman can bat anywhere.”
The win for both St David's and Bay sets up an intriguing clash next Sunday at Lord's between the top two teams with just two matches remaining.
“Yeah, we're one step closer, but we started to get a little worried when Janeiro started to hit the ball, but once he was out we were in control,” Sammy Robinson, the St David's manager, said.
“Then our openers got a great start for us and it was pretty much smooth sailing throughout our innings. I always say when our team is focused we are pretty much unbeatable.”
• Cleveland picked up a valuable victory over Willow Cuts in a bottom-of-the-table clash at Somerset Cricket Club. Cleveland posted 262 for six in their 50 overs with Daman Rabain leading the way with a half century as several batsmen made useful contributions.
Willow Cuts replied with 201 all out as Mackih McGowan claimed five wickets for Cleveland.