Najiyah Raynor has warned his Southampton Rangers team-mates that they cannot afford to rest on their laurels after kicking off the new season with back-to-back wins.
The defending champions have started their campaign in style dismantling two new promoted sides in as many days, following up a 136-run win over Cleveland County on Saturday with an emphatic 229-run rout of Flatts Victoria yesterday.
However, with a match against tougher opposition in the form of last year’s runners-up St David’s coming next, Raynor, who followed up an impressive knock of 87 on Saturday, with a steady 36 yesterday, has warned against consistency as Rangers aim to retain their crown.
“We’ve started really strongly on the batting side and to score more than 600 runs over the opening weekend, is really promising,” Raynor said.
“Two wins from two is obviously great but no one is getting carried away with anything just yet because it’s far too early and we’ve played two newly promoted sides.
“We haven’t been properly tested yet but we play St David’s next week who I feel are the only team who can really push us. We’ll have be at the top of our game.
“We’ve punished two newly promoted teams, and we can’t really complain about our performances, but we know St David’s will be another level completely.
“Our target every game is to score more than 300, no matter the opponent, and so if everybody does their part we know we’re a tough team to beat.
“We keep each other on our toes. The experienced players, the international guys, in the team won’t allow our levels to drop so the expectation is always high.
“We came into the season as defending champions and the aim is to go on and win it again.”
Just as they did on Saturday, Rangers batted first, with openers Shannon and Najiah Raynor settling into the rhythm quickly, putting 70 on the board before the latter was caught by Regino Smith off the bowling of Paul Carr Harvey for 36.
Jahloni Albouy came to the wicket and left swiftly after for 8, bowled by Carr Harvey, before Shannon Raynor joined him in the pavilion, just seven shy of a century, caught off the bowling of Kijuan Franks, with the score standing at a solid 191 for three.
Malachi Jones joined Tre Manders at the crease as the pair took Rangers past the 200 mark before Jones fell prey to Dajon Carey for just 11 with the score at 211 for four after 36.3 overs. Just four overs later Carey also claimed the wicket of Rangers captain Curt Stovell for 15 with the home side at 257 for five.
Ricardo Brangman joined Manders at the crease with the pair seeing out the reaming overs with out loss as Rangers set an opposing total of 330 for five. Brangman finished on a solid 27 from 23 balls, while Manders proved the standout performer, top scoring with an impressive 110 off of 95 balls, including three sixes and nine fours.
Having taken two wickets, Carey then opened the Flatts reply alongside Franks. The bowling of Nirobi Mills pinned back the pair early on, before Franks was caught by Charles Trott off the bowling of Mills for 6 with 19 on the board after 2.5 overs.
Captain Coefield Robinson joined Carey at the crease and steadied the innings until the latter dismissed leg before by Mills for 17 leaving the score at 44 for two from 8.6 overs.
Smith came and went adding only 7, off the bowling of Jones, before being joined in the pavilion almost immediately by Reggie Baker, who fell prey to Tayo Smith for a solitary run leaving the score at 64 for four from 14.1 overs.
Robinson was dismissed off the bowling of Jones an over later for 22, with Nelson Bascome following shortly after having added a single run to Flatts total, bowled by Smith, leaving the score at 76 for six from 16.4 overs.
Carr Harvey was the next wicket to fall two overs later with only two further runs added to the total. In danger of a complete collapse, Barry Decouto was joined by youngster Logan Jones with the pair steadying the innings, taking Flatts past 90 before the former was caught off the bowling of Janeiro Tucker for 6.
At 91 for eight Dale Benjamin, 8 not out, entered the fray alongside Jones, who played a number of impressive shots before being bowled and caught by Stovell for 9 leaving the score at 101 for nine.
Koda Bascome came to the crease but could not prevent the inevitable defeat as he bowled second ball for nought by Stovell as Rangers wrapped up a second successive victory.
In stark contrast to Rangers, the result was a second straight defeat for Flatts Village, who suffered a 142-run loss to Baileys Bay on Saturday.
With only two players reaching double figures against Rangers, Robinson conceded his team must address their batting difficulties but refused to hit the panic button just yet.
“As a team we’ve talked about what we need to do to improve the batting performances because they just aren’t good enough for where they should be,” Robinson said.
“However, far too early to panic just yet. We had two tough games in two days and some of the players just aren’t ready for that much in such a short time.
“These first two game were hard but I’m confident there will be teams that we will be beat along the way, it’s still early in the season.”
Southampton Rangers v Flatt Victoria
Southampton Oval (Rangers won toss): Southampton Rangers beat Flatts Victoria by 229 runs
S Raynor c Jones b Franks 93
†N Raynor c Smith b Harvey 36
J Albouy b Harvey 8
T Manders not out 110
M O Jones b Carey 11
*D C Stovell c Bascome b Carey 5
R Brangman not out 27
Extras (w 21, nb 1, lb 8) 30
Total (5 wkts, 50 overs) 330
C Trott, G Simons, J J Tucker, N Mills, T Smith did not bat
Fall of Wicket: 70-1, 114-2, 191-3, 211-4, 257-5
Bowling: Bascome 6-0-55-0; Franks 10-0-63-1; Harvey 10-0-50-2; Smith 10-0-61-0; Bascome 4-0-39-0; Carey 10-0-54-2
D Carey lbw b Mills 17
K Franks c Trott b Mills 6
*†C Robinson c Albouy b Jones 22
R Smith c G Simons b Jones 7
R Baker c C Trott b Smith 1
P Carr Harvey lbw b Smith 6
N Bascome b Smith 1
B Decouto c T Manders b Tucker 6
L Jones c & b Stovell 9
D Benjamin not out 8
K Bascome b Stovell 0
Extras (w 16, lb 2) 18
Total (10 wckts, 27.5 overs) 101
Fall of Wicket: 19-1, 44-2, 63-3, 64-4, 74-5, 76-6, 78-7, 91-8, 101-9, 101-10
Bowling: Mills 6-1-26-2; Trott 5-0-21-0; Jones 8-1-17-2; Smith 4-1-23-3; Tucker 4-1-12-1; Stovell 0.5-0-0-2