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Holders Willow Cuts to make at least one change for Western Counties final showdown with Rangers

Chris Douglas is set to make another guest appearance for cup-holders Willow Cuts in the Western Counties Cup final against Southampton Rangers (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Dexter Basden, the Willow Cuts coach, says his players are up for the Western Counties final against challengers Southampton Rangers at White Hill Field tomorrow.

The former Cuts opening batsman admits his team have their work cut out against a formidable Rangers line-up but is cautiously optimistic they can be equal to the task in front of them.

“Rangers are a powerhouse but on the given day anybody can win on the field,” Basden told The Royal Gazette.

“We have to obviously respect them and definitely have to bring our A game.

“But we are the champs and have the cup, so they have to come to us.”

Cuts and Rangers have produced some exciting matches in the competition throughout the years and Basden expects tomorrow will be no exception.

“Rangers and Cuts is always a derby in that Western Counties,” he added. “When it comes to Rangers and Cuts, they are going to bring their A game, so we have to be up to the challenge.”

Cuts regained the showpiece courtesy of a landslide 180-run win over previous holders PHC, their first of the season, in the previous round of the competition to ensure the cup changed hands for a second time — after PHC turned over 2019 champions Warwick in the second round.

The competition was cancelled in 2020 because of the global pandemic.

Guest player Chris Douglas led the charge, stroking 106, a maiden hundred in the competition, and claiming four for seven from three overs of flighty off spin.

Douglas and Kwasi James, the Cuts captain, added 193 for the first wicket as the challengers piled up 343 for six in their allotted 50 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.

Douglas earned man-of-the-match accolades for his superb all-round display as well as two plane tickets offered by David Burt, the Premier, for the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker of each team.

Guest batsman Dalin Richardson and bowler Kevin Tucker were the recipients for PHC.

Cuts are expected to make subtle changes to their team tomorrow. “We may make two potential changes,” Basden said.

“It won’t be more than two changes but I know there is definitely one in the making.”

Among the potential new additions is experienced all-rounder Kevon Fubler while guest players Douglas and Dean Stephens are once again available.

“Kevon will probably be coming in and outside of that we still have Chris Douglas and Dean Stephens,” Basden said.

“Dean has to go as a guest because he just came back from Cleveland. He hasn’t played a full season, so he doesn’t qualify as a regular player.”

Cuts and Rangers both suffered defeats in their previous outings in the Premier Division Twenty20 last weekend.

Cuts lost by five wickets against Somerset who completed the league double over their West End rivals and hosts at White Hill Field.

Rangers, the champions, lost by 58 runs against St George’s at Wellington Oval — their first defeat of the season.

Janeiro Tucker’s team were without experienced all-rounder Dion Stovell, who is also unavailable for tomorrow’s Western Counties commitment with Cuts.

Tucker referred all comment yesterday to captain Malachi Jones, who could not be reached.

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Published August 20, 2021 at 8:02 am (Updated August 21, 2021 at 8:09 am)

Holders Willow Cuts to make at least one change for Western Counties final showdown with Rangers

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