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Dion Stovell shines as Rangers progress in Western Counties Cup

Pivotal performance: Dion Stovell (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Belying a day of blazing sunshine, Southampton Rangers barely broke a sweat as they started their Western Counties Cup title defence in style with a seven-wicket rout of Somerset Bridge at Southampton Oval on Saturday.

A four-wicket haul, combined with a top score of 39 from leading all-rounder Dion Stovell spurred the home team, with the visitors having few answers to the standout player in the field or at the crease.

From the outset, Bridge were made to respond to questions asked, after winning the toss and choosing to bat.

And while the initial response to the challenge by openers Noel Woods and Shawn Riley showed early promise, the hopeful pledge proved deceptive, as Bridge, not unexpectedly, capitulated under pressure from a stringent bowling attack.

After inching their way to 23 for the first wicket, the plot was lost, first by Riley, who, after facing 19 balls and registering five runs, attempted to break the shackles with a ill-timed swipe at medium pacer Nirobi Smith-Mills and was comprehensively bowled.

Seven runs later his replacement at the wicket, Cofield Robinson, likewise embarked on a forlorn trek back to the sidelines and once Woods was adjudged leg before at the hands of first change, Janeiro Tucker, the die had been well and truly cast and home team captain well realised it as a moment to tighten the screws.

“I thought that their confidence was probably through the roof, in that they thought they could score some runs against my good bowling attack, but, obviously, that was never going to be the case,” said Dalin Richardson, who was captaining Rangers for the first time in the competition.

“Our bowlers did well. There’s always room for improvement, because my standards and our standards here are high and they held out a bit longer than I would have expected, but the bowlers did well overall.”

To say his bowlers did well was very much an understatement, as batsmen were consistently beguiled, mostly by the many variations offered by Stovell and the raw pace of Smith-Mills, with Janeiro Tucker’s crafty right-arm also causing batter consternation.

Stovell’s four wickets came at a miserly cost of 11 runs, while the three picked up by Smith-Mills yielded just 22, and Tucker weighed in with a brace, Bridge’s 3.07 run rate attesting to their struggles.Aside from Woods, only guest player Regino Smith demonstrated a semblance of the required application, his 22 coming from 23 balls before he edged a Janeiro Tucker delivery to wicketkeeper Kwame Tucker.

“We just didn’t set a decent enough total against a very cultured Rangers team, that has a lot of experience and quality,” said a disappointed Bridge captain, Adrian Burrows, a hopeful anchor who was senselessly run out in the middle of the innings, at a time when consolidation was desperately needed.

“The wicket was fine. Credit to the groundstaff for that. We just didn’t apply ourselves to the level that was required.

“It’s definitely a difficult loss. In the whole, we just didn’t score enough runs.

“There were probably a few decisions that went against us that could have been different, but mostly we just didn’t score enough.

“There was no issue with our choosing to bat first. We wanted to go out and post a good score. Our thinking was that roughly 220 to 250 would have been a competitive target for us to set.”

Nevertheless, even a greater target, while potentially more challenging, would likely have proved difficult to defend considering the manner of Stovell, arguably the most in-form player on the island at present.

Stovell announced himself early and often, straight driving Woods for two sixes, while also showing an affinity for the cut shot through the point region.

His seeming disrespect for the bowling though proved his undoing when he flashed at Kareem Hollis’s first ball, one well outside the off stump, got an edge and was caught behind, his vigil containing five fours and two sixes.

Supporting Stovell in the run parade was fellow opener Jaloni Albuoy, whose 24 came from just 15 balls and included three boundaries and a six.

Rangers incurred mini collapse, falling to 85 for three, but the result was never in doubt, with Richardson ending matters with a six to deep mid-wicket, Rangers requiring just 8.3 overs in total.

Riley was the best of Bridge’s bowlers with two for 25.

A confident Richardson noted how he had fully expected victory on the day and that his club similarly had great expectation for the remainder of the competition.

“I believe we have a team strong enough to beat everybody in the Western Counties and we’re charting a course towards the top,” said the talented youngster, also a member of the Bermuda squad.

“I feel like we played well and could have bowled them out for a bit cheaper than what we did, my standards are high.”

Somerset Bridge

N Woods lbw b J Tucker 16

S Riley b Mills 5

C Robinson c Raynor b Mills 5

*†A Burrows run out 2

R Smith c K Tucker b J Tucker 22

J Smith b Stovell 4

C McIntosh c and b Stovell 0

S Hollis lbw b Stovell 2

C Trott b Mills 9

S Tavares c K Tucker b Stovell 0

K Hollis not out 6

Extras (b 1, lb 1, w 14) 16

Total (28.2 overs) 87

Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-30, 3-36, 4-36, 5-44, 6-54, 7-58, 8-64, 9-64

Bowling: Mills 8-0-22-3; Trott 5-0-15-0; J Tucker 8-1-30-2; Stovell 7-2-11-4; Smith 1-0-7-0

Southampton Rangers

D Stovell c Burrows b K Hollis 39

J Albuoy b Riley 24

C Trott b Riley 14

T Manders not out 5

*D Richardson not out 6

Extras (b 1, w 4) 5

Total (3wkts; 8.3 overs) 93

†K Tucker, A Raynor, J Tucker, K Astwood, N Mills and T Smith did not bat.

Fall of wickets: 1-65, 2-65, 3-85

Bowling: Woods 3-0-31-0; Smith 2-0-24-0; S Riley 2-0-25-2; K Hollis 1.3-0-12-1

Umpires: E Carrington and D Smith

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Published July 04, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated July 04, 2022 at 7:54 am)

Dion Stovell shines as Rangers progress in Western Counties Cup

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