Tuff Dogs begin title defence
Arnold Manders will be in the opposition changing room today when Western Stars host champions Tuff Dogs in the first round of the Central Counties at St John's Field.
Manders, a former Stars stalwart who filled in last weekend when they were short in their season opener against Warwick, has been included in the Tuff Dogs team.
Manders has been a player for Tuff Dugs for the last three years, though he opted not to play against Stars last season in the counties as he was then their coach. He did play for Tuff Dugs in the second and third rounds against Devonshire Recreation Club and North Village, another Evening Cricket League team.
Tuff Dogs, who made history by becoming the first Evening Cricket League to win a Central Counties match, are taking this competition seriously by again including Somerset Cup Match pair Jordan DeSilva and Derrick Brangman as their guest players.
Tomorrow marks a year since that upset over Stars at Devonshire Recreation Club where DeSilva scored 47 and Brangman 68 as Tuff Dogs chased down the 226 for nine posted by Stars to win by three wickets.
They have selected a strong team that includes Dean Minors, the former Bermuda wicketkeeper, and former league players Azeem Khan and Maclaren Lowe.
Stars have named former club player Brian Hall, now at St David's, as their only guest player as they seek to gain revenge for last year's loss.
“We are eager to start the defence of our Central Counties title and are well aware that we are no longer looked at as underdogs, although in our minds the pressure is still on the BCB clubs to beat the Evening League teams, regardless of last year's results,” said Terence Corday, the Tuff Dogs captain, who wrapped up the win over Stars with two straight sixes off Wendell White.
“We know Stars will be very hungry to avenge the defeat from last year and will put forward a formidable team,” Corday noted. “This year we are confident we can compete once again, although our preparations have been less than in years past due to our season starting later.
“But we will go out there and give it our all, have some fun in the process and see where the chips fall at the end of the day.”
The winners play North Village in the second round on June 8, with Devonshire Rec to meet them in the final on June 22, all the matches being played this year at St John's Field.
n Champions Southampton Rangers will look to continue their winning start to the season when they travel to Lord's tomorrow to meet St David's.
Rangers scored more than 300 runs in their first two matches against promoted sides Cleveland (319-7) and Flatts (330-5) on their way to comfortable victories.
Najiyah Raynor scored 86 against his former team on the Saturday while Tre Manders scored 110 not out and Shannon Raynor 93 as Rangers had another good day at the crease against Flatts.
However, runs may not be easy to come by tomorrow as St David's have one of the strongest bowling attacks in the league.
Despite scoring just 120 last weekend against Bailey's Bay, the St David's bowlers made it a difficult run chase for Bay. Despite an opening stand of 60, Bay only just pulled off victory by one wicket.
Meanwhile, St David's game against neighbours St George's, rescheduled for today, has been cancelled. In tomorrow's other Premier Division matches, Bay take on St George's at Sea Breeze Oval and Cleveland battle Eastern Counties rivals Flatts at Wellington Oval.
In the First Division, Willow Cuts take on Devonshire Rec at Somerset as they look to make it three straight wins, while Warwick meet Somerset at Southampton Oval and Somerset Bridge host Western Stars at White Hill Field.