St George’s shock champions Rangers to blow title race wide open
St George’s blew the Premier Division Twenty20 title race wide open after handing champions Southampton Rangers their first loss of the season at Wellington Oval yesterday.
Allan Douglas Jr blasted an unbeaten hundred while Oronde Bascome chipped in with a fifty in a double century partnership that powered the hosts to 219 for three, their highest total of the season, after electing to bat.
Wendell Smith’s team then restricted Rangers to 161 for 8 in their reply, with captain Onias Bascome and Treadwell Gibbons Jr claiming two wickets each to lead the charge in the field.
“I think it was a good team performance overall,” Clay Smith, the St George’s assistant coach, commented.
“Allan (Douglas) and Oronde (Bascome) pretty much took the game away from Rangers with their partnership.
“Then we turned around and collectively put in a good bowling performance. It was a total team performance.”
The hosts got off to a poor start after Rangers opening bowler Nirobi Mills dismissed Gibbons and Temiko Wilson, the wicketkeeper-batsman, off successive deliveries in the first over of the match.
The right arm fast bowler bowled Gibbons with a yorker and Wilson with an inswinger that moved sharply off the seam to reduce St George’s to three for two.
After surviving Mills’s hat-trick delivery, Bascome unleashed a vicious assault on the Rangers attack and along with Douglas added 211 for the third wicket to place the hosts firmly in the driver’s seat.
Bascome also rode his luck as he was dropped at short third man off the bowling of Mills before offering a soft return catch to Malachi Jones which also went unpunished.
With Douglas intent to play a supporting role, the former St George’s captain raced to his fifty off 26 deliveries with a six over the square leg boundary off off spinner Tayo Smith.
Douglas reached his fifty off 39 balls shortly after the pair brought up the century partnership in the 11th over.
The run rate increased considerably as Bascome and Douglas capitalised on some loose bowling from Smith and Lamont Brangman who went for 40 and 30 runs in the two overs they sent down.
St George’s dodged another bullet when Jones put down a sharp return catch off Douglas.
Douglas and Bascome then brought up the double partnership in the 18th over before the latter mistimed a drive and was caught in the covers after gathering 93 from 46 balls with 11 fours and six sixes.
Douglas reached a deserved hundred off 65 balls in the last over after scampering through for a single in the covers off the bowling of Charles Trott.
The opening batsman finished unbeaten on 102 from 67 balls with nine sixes and five fours.
“The coach (Wendell Smith) asked for somebody to bat right through after losing two early wickets,” Douglas said. “So obviously being aggressive as I normally am I had to switch my game up and build a good innings.”
He added: “I think Oronde’s innings was a little better than mine. He did exceptionally good because being in early trouble he took the pressure and the bowlers on from the beginning, so hats off to him.”
Douglas and Bascome accounted for all of their team’s runs off the bat, with the remaining 24 coming via extras.
Rangers made a promising start to the run chase with cousins Janeiro and Kwame Tucker adding 49 for the first wicket.
Gibbons made the big breakthrough when he had Kwame Tucker (27) caught at short third man in the sixth over.
Player/coach Janeiro Tucker added another 41 runs for the second wicket with Alex Dore (37) to keep the chase on track.
Douglas made another major breakthrough after bowling Tucker (36) with a slower, full length delivery.
Wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals thereafter before the overs ran out with Rangers well behind the asking rate.
Trott (22) and Shannon Rayner (13) were the remaining Rangers batsman in double figures.
Gibbons claimed two for 11 and Onias Bascome two for 32 respectively.