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Title challenge could be on cards for Cleveland County

Dion Stovell picked up three wickets in his first game for Cleveland County

Somerset Cricket Ground (Cleveland won toss): Cleveland County beat Western Stars by six wickets

Cleveland County’s opening batsman Q’Shai Darrell feels his side’s recruitment could well lead to a title challenge after a dominant display against Western Stars on the opening day of the season.

Darrell fell just a run shy of his half century as he top-scored for Cleveland as they chased down a target of 134 in just 18.4 overs.

“We have made a very strong start to the campaign,” Darrell said following the six-wicket victory.

“With the additions we have made to the squad, we need to be ambitious and challenge for the league.”

Darrell was delighted with his opening knock despite just missing out on his 50.

“I was really pleased with my innings,” he said. “However, I lost focus at a critical time and that cost me the milestone. To me, confidence comes with repetition and fitness.”

Cleveland won the toss and sent Western Stars into bat in sweltering heat.

The designated home side started with confidence, with openers Gavin Manders and Jason Anderson knocking the ball around the ground easily and rotating the strike.

Manders was the more aggressive of the two starting batsmen as Cleveland bowling pair Jabari Darrell and Tybrae Robinson struggled with their line, bowling five of their nine total wides in the first five overs.

The opening pair were on the brink of completing a 50 partnership, but Cleveland had other ideas.

The introduction of skipper Mackih McGowan and new recruit Dion Stovell was the catalyst for a Western Stars batting collapse as Stovell began to show the importance of his signing from Southampton Rangers. He enticed both Manders and Anderson to find the safe hands of Jabari Darrell with tame drives to long-off and mid-wicket respectively.

Just after the second drinks break, Dante Wellman was caught behind by Steven Bremar to begin the struggle.

Stars captain Tre Manders found his range, despite being dropped on zero, and he orchestrated another fruitful stand with Seth Campbell, but those around him could not maintain their composure in an attempt to build a competitive total.

Brian Hall was taken by an acrobatic catch from wicketkeeper Bremar who thwarted his attempt to place a backward scoop toward the third man boundary.

McGowan finished with three wickets as he helped to tear through the middle order and Allan Douglas Jr completed a tremendous spell by mopping up the bottom of the order.

In response to the Western Stars total, Darrell adopted a measured approach, knowing his team had a paltry total to chase and the entire 50 overs to do it.

A barrage of wide balls from Jeft Singh did not help the Stars effort with Darrell’s partner Treadwell Gibbons Jr hitting three straight boundaries before he was bowled by Seth Campbell.

Darrell was then joined by the calm presence of veteran Steven Bremar, with whom he mustered the largest partnership of the game (52).

Although spinner Don stepped in to three wickets, Allan Douglas and McGowan closed out the victory, with the former hitting a beautiful on drive to the mid-wicket boundary before McGowan finished the game with a monstrous six over cow corner.

Western Stars v Cleveland scorecard

Western Stars

G Manders c Darrell b Stovell 26

J Anderson c Darrell b Stovell 24

D Wellman c Bremar b McGowan 12

K Furbert lbw b McGowan 2

J Edness lbw b Stovell 1

*T Manders lbw b Douglas 19

B Hall c Bremar b McGowan 6

†S Campbell not out 25

N Smith b Douglas 0

J Sinah lbw b Douglas 1

S Don b Douglas 0

Extras (lb 7, w 9, nb 2) 18

Total (26.3 overs) 134

Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-64, 3-70, 4-71, 5-71, 6-79, 7-127, 8-128, 9-134, 10-134.

Bowling: J Darrell 3-0-23-0; Robinson 3-0-21-0; Douglas 5.3-0-20-4; McGowan 7-1-37-3; Stovell 7-1-22-3; Young 1-0-4-0.

Cleveland County

T Gibbons b Campbell 19

Q Darrell lbw b Don 49

†S Bremar c Wellman b Don 26

M Young b Don 2

A Douglas not out 14

*M McGowan not out 6

Extras (b 4, lb 2, w 15, nb 1) 22

Total (4 wkts; 18.5 overs) 136

T Robinson, J Darrell, T Tucker, D Stovell and C Darrell did not bat.

Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-92, 3-107, 4-129.

Bowling: Campbell 6-0-39-1; Sinah 1-0-13-0; Hall 5.5-0-36-0; Smith 3-0-21-0; Don 3-0-21-3

Umpires: C Brangman and D Smith.

*UPDATE: This report was corrected to reflect that Dion Stovell did not take seven wickets for Cleveland County.

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Published May 02, 2023 at 1:28 pm (Updated May 02, 2023 at 1:29 pm)

Title challenge could be on cards for Cleveland County

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