‛If we lose, we have ourselves to blame’ admits Southampton Rangers coach Janeiro Tucker
Southampton Rangers are hoping to have Dion Stovell and Kwame Tucker back for the two matches this weekend that will decide the Twenty20 title race.
Rangers have been in a wobble since the two players went on holiday after Stovell played for Cleveland in the second round of the Eastern Counties Cup on August 14. The next day the team suffered their first loss in the league, going down to St George’s before losing the next weekend to Somerset.
Now a second meeting with St George’s tomorrow, a rescheduled match from July 4, will be crucial in Rangers’ bid to defend the title they won on net run-rate over St David’s last season. Victory on Saturday would put Rangers ten points clear of Somerset going into Sunday’s final round of matches, while eliminating St George’s and Bailey’s Bay from contention.
However, rain has been forecast for the weekend, which could affect the final round of Premier Division matches, as they did last year with the approaching Hurricane Paulette forcing the cancellation of the League Cup final between top two Rangers and St David’s, leaving Rangers to win the title on net run-rate.
“We need to win at least one game,” Janeiro Tucker, the Rangers player-coach, said of this weekend’s scenario.
“We’ve just got to show up and put our best foot forward. I wish it could have been over by this time. I believe Dion’s back, but I haven’t seen him.”
Stovell has been a key man for Rangers in both the batting and bowling, while Tucker brings experience to the top of the batting order. Despite the two losses, Rangers are still the favourites as they also have a superior net run-rate to Somerset.
But defeat by St George’s tomorrow would put the title firmly in the grasp of the east-enders, whose net run-rate is the best of the lot.
“It’s in our hands, really, up to us on what we want to do,” said Tucker, acknowledging that the title would have already been wrapped up but for those two defeats. “If we lose, we have ourselves to blame.
“Actually, we have ourselves to blame now, but it doesn’t make sense crying over spilt milk. Those guys left us at a bad time, but that’s how it is.
“With Dion we’ve been missing that extra bowler, and the two batsmen. With those two back that could be a minimum of another 60 runs, plus Dion’s four overs and picking up wickets.”
Sunday’s other matches will see Somerset playing relegated St David’s at Somerset Cricket Club and St George’s hosting Willow Cuts at Wellington Oval.
Allan Douglas Jr, of St George’s, won another Player of the Week award for his season-high score of 146 against St David’s last weekend. Dominic Sabir, of Warwick, was the First Division Player of the Week after scoring 83 not out in the win against Cleveland County. Both players received $50 gift cards from sponsor The Booth.
Warwick and Western Stars hold a 20-point lead in the promotion race, level on 60 points, while Cleveland have 40 points in third place.
Warwick meet Flatts at Somerset on Sunday while Stars take on PHC at Sea Breeze Oval. Cleveland play Devonshire Rec at Wellington Oval in the other match.