Dennis Williams praised Tuff Dogs for their upset win over holders Western Stars, saying it was just what was needed to generate more interest in the Central Counties.
However Williams, a Central Counties committee member and manager of Devonshire Rec, is hoping that his team do not become the next BCB league side to lose to Tuff Dogs in the second round tomorrow at Devonshire Rec.
Tuff Dogs produced one of the big upsets of the early season when they dethroned Stars three weeks ago with a three-wicket victory, with guest players Jordan DeSilva and Derrick Brangman playing key roles. DeSilva claimed four wickets and Brangman two as Stars were restricted to 226 for nine in their 50 overs. Brangman then led the run chase with 68 while DeSilva scored 47 as Tuff Dogs replied with 232 for seven.
“It was great for the competition itself,” Williams said. “The idea to bring in North Village and Tuff Dogs was to boost the Central Counties, which had dwindled down to just the two teams.
“With one of those teams producing an upset like that over Western Stars it adds some creditability to the tournament, that anybody can win it, and that the teams in there are strong and competitive. It enhances the product that we’re trying to push as a viable competition.”
Rec, a former powerhouse in the competition, were set include a couple of guest players of their own when they selected their team last night, with cousins Allan Douglas and Chris Douglas of St David’s both invited to play. Obviously, they are not taking Tuff Dogs lightly.
“To be fair to them they do have some good players in their own right outside of Derrick and Jordan,” Williams acknowledged. “They may have guys who are a little older but they are seasoned cricketers who know the game well and play at a pretty decent level.
“They are capable of putting on a good performance on any given day. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the game because Rec had an Open [League] game on the same day down at St David’s. But from all the reports that I’ve heard, Tuff Dogs played a good game that day. We definitely acknowledge they have a good team.
“I’m not putting any favourites tag on us, after all we did lose to them in a Twenty20 game last season after we beat them in the group stage, but then lost to them in the Plate final at Bailey’s Bay.
“There’s no taking them lightly, as a matter of fact it will be quite the opposite. We’ll have to play our best game to come out with a victory.”
The Central Counties, the youngest of the three counties, also went through some administrative changes a couple of years ago and is now run by four club representatives on the committee, Williams being one of them.
North Village and Tuff Dogs, from the Evening League, agreed to play in the competition last season after the departure of teams like Nationals, Police and Young Men’s Social Club left the Counties with just Devonshire Rec and Western Stars.
Tuff Dogs also have Dean Minors and Azeem Khan, both former league players, while another veteran member of their team, Arnold Manders, was brought in for tomorrow’s match in place of bowler Janaka Perrera as the only change.
“We look forward to the challenge of defending the cup against Rec at their home field, and once again going into the game as underdogs,” said Terence Corday, the Tuff Dogs captain, who scored the winning boundary against Stars. “Rec will be a very strong side with the addition of Chris and Allan Douglas, arguably two of the best and most explosive batsmen on the island. Even though we are the champions I think there is more pressure on them as the top-tier team to beat an Evening League outfit. We are confident, however, in the way we approach and play the game and look to give them a good fight and to see where the dust settles at the end of the day.”
Last year, Rec saw the holders Stars score a mammoth 365 for five in the first round, before they were dismissed for 199 in reply. Tomorrow’s winners will play North Village in the final on June 23.
Tuff Dogs: Terence Corday (capt), Tim Davies, Trevor Corday, Gary Ray, Azeem Khan, Jordan DeSilva, Dean Minors, Justin Barritt, Derrick Brangman, Durnferd Davis, Arnold Manders. Res: Maurice Steede.
• Southampton Rangers will play Bailey’s Bay at home as the Premier Division reaches the halfway stage of the league on Sunday. St David’s, the only unbeaten team, travel to Wellington Oval to meet neighbours St George’s while Somerset host Western Stars in a clash between the two winless sides.
In the First Division, PHC play Warwick at PHC Field, Somerset Bridge welcome Cleveland to White Hill Field and Devonshire Rec host Flatts.