Rangers continue storming start
St David's suffered another low-scoring home defeat, this time falling short in a modest run chase against the Premier Division champions.
Much like St David's against Bailey's Bay a week ago, Rangers were dismissed for a low score, 126 in 34.5 overs, but some steady bowling, led by all-rounder Malachi Jones's five-wicket haul, kept the home side at bay, dismissing them for 108 to make it three straight wins.
Janeiro Tucker, the Rangers player-coach, felt a total in the region of 120 would make it a challenging target to chase.
“The wicket wasn't that good,” Tucker said. “This morning it was wet and they sent us in. Our target was anything over 120, after what we saw last weekend, knowing that they struggled at the end. Although we didn't bat as good as we can, we knew what we were coming up against with St David's. I told the guys we would fight to the end and not give up.”
Jones turned out to be the Rangers' hero, scoring 53 from 56 balls after coming in at No 7 on 34 for five after captain Dion Stovell and Tucker were dismissed in successive balls for nought by Justin Pitcher. Jones hit three fours and four sixes in a seventh-wicket stand of 71 with wicketkeeper Ricardo Brangman, which brought up the Rangers hundred in the seventeenth over.
Brangman was the second highest scorer for Rangers with 16.
Pitcher led the St David's bowling with four for 31 from ten overs, while Delyone Borden claimed three for 36 and Cejay Outerbridge two for 31.
St David's had the worst possible start, captain Chris Douglas trapped leg-before for nought by Jones on the third ball of the innings.
OJ Pitcher departed two overs later when Jones dismissed him with the first ball of his second over.
Macai Simmons was dismissed two overs later when he gave Tucker a low catch at slip as Jones struck again to make it six for three after just 4.5 overs.
Wickets continued to fall regularly, with wicketkeeper Brangman taking a diving catch in front of the stumps to remove Ajuan Lamb after he popped the ball up from a Dion Stovell delivery.
Borden, who opened with Douglas, watched four partners depart in quick succession before he and Allan Douglas Jr settled things briefly, with Douglas stating his intention with three well-struck boundaries that quickly made him the top scorer.
However, the revival was short, with teenager Nirobi Mills coming on at the clubhouse end and bowling Douglas for 14 with his first delivery to make it 30 for five.
Borden and Lionel Cann put up some resistance in a stand of 48 for the sixth wicket in 12 overs. Cann struck 33 from six fours off 45 balls to keep the run chase alive, but Rangers seized the control again when Mills had Borden caught behind for 27.
Jones then returned and trapped Cann and Justin Pitcher leg-before in successive overs for his five-wicket haul, leaving St David's down to their tailenders at 87 for eight.
However, just when George O'Brien was threatening to put up a late fight with a six and a four, he stood at the bowler's end and watched the match end with two more leg-before decisions as Outerbridge and Sheldon Caesar, a former Rangers player, were dismissed on successive Tucker balls to leave St David's 19 runs short of victory.
O'Brien, batting at No 9, finished with 16 not out. Jones completed a fine all-round performance with five for 28 from nine overs while Tucker took two for 13 from five overs and Mills two for 38 from ten.
Tucker had praise for Mills who had a good spell and claimed two important wickets.
“He bowled really well, we've been working on it in training,” said Tucker, who took over as coach this season from Ricky Brangman. “He is really coming along with his bowling.
“We've been working on individual stuff in training for certain guys to better themselves, and today it worked out. We didn't bat well but we bowled and fielded well, doing the last two real good.
“I'm not really worried about the undefeated thing, but at the end of the day I do want to win. I want to make sure my younger players learn and develop as cricketers. That's my main goal as coach.”