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Stars face uphill task as season comes to end

Guest player: Stovell will appear for Rangers tomorrow (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Western Stars will be hard-pressed to compete against St David’s and Southampton Rangers in this weekend’s Champion of Champions at Southampton Oval to end the season.

Rules governing the Central Counties do not allow for guest players, which leaves Stars, the Central Counties champions, at a disadvantage against St David’s in today’s semi-finals when the Eastern Counties champions are expected to field a few guest players.

In the final tomorrow, Rangers will call on Dion Stovell of St David’s as their guest player.

Stars, whose coach Wendell Smith is standing down after this weekend, are the only team returning from last year’s competition after both the Eastern and Western Counties both crowned new champions this season.

Stars beat both St David’s and Rangers in their first season back in the Premier Division and would have defeated Rangers a second time in the league last month had they not suffered a late-order batting collapse when chasing 230 for victory at Southampton Oval. In the end they lost by just 16 runs.

Stars achieved their main objective this season which was to stay up, finishing a comfortable fourth behind Rangers and seven points ahead of Cleveland County, who needed a play-off win over St George’s to retain their Premier Division status.

• The final of the inaugural Masters Twenty20 League for players over 40 will be played tomorrow at Somerset Cricket Club at 5pm.