The Royal Gazette masthead

A masterful piece of bowling by Dwayne (Sluggo) Leverock inspired defending champions Southampton Rangers to their third successive Belco Cup triumph against Young Men's Social Club at Lords.

Leverock, whose rotund frame made him a cricketing icon at the 2007 World Cup, captured a five-wicket haul to ensure Social Club never seriously looked like prising the much-coveted cup from Rangers' vice-like grip.

The slow left-arm bowler's master-class spell included three wickets in just six deliveries, to tear the heart out of Social Club's middle order and help lay the foundations for Rangers' comfortable 66-run victory.

Not that he carried his side's bowling attack alone though, with Traddie Simpson's nagging line-and-length a tool of frustration, providing support and a pair of wickets.

Earlier Rangers' batsman Janeiro Tucker had bludgeoned a swashbuckling 97 before being bowled by national team-mate Kevin Hurdle to help his side to 234 for six from their allotted 50 overs.

The middle order bat, who scored an unbeaten century against Flatts in the semi-finals, struck two sixes and ten fours during his entertaining knock which saw him dropped on three occasions.

The age-old cricketing adage of "catches win matches" has never been so apt for Social Club who left Lords ruing what could have been, had they not been so profligate in the out-field.

But despite riding their luck only those of a die-hard Social Club persuasion could begrudge Rangers their title success, which Leverock later hailed as a "complete team performance".

"It doesn't get much better than winning the Belco Cup and taking five wickets in the final," Leverock reflected after his bowling heroics.

"But the whole team must take credit for the victory as everyone contributed and ensured we were always in the driving seat.

"We tried to squeeze and frustrate them with both bat and ball and that ploy worked well for us."

Rangers' continued success this season is all the more impressive considering the loss of influential players such Lionel Cann, Keith Wainwright and Olin Jones.

In the absence of his former team-mates, Leverock said he has made a conscious effort to become one of the side's "elder statesmen" and provide support for the younger players if required.

"I was particularly pleased for the young guys who have come in and filled the gaps in our depleted team," he added.

"They stepped up to the plate and showed a lot of maturity. But should they need support or advice, then the older guys like myself are always available."

Social Club had won the toss and elected to bowl with conditions overcast, and it took just four overs before they made the breakthrough with Jaymo Durham dismissing Curtis Jackson for four.

Kevin Hurdle then got in on the act and found the edge of Rohaan Simons (3) with wicket-keeper Winston Simmons taking a routine catch.

And when Durham reduced Rangers to 31 for three, clean bowling Kwame Tucker for 10, it certainly seemed as though they were in a spot of bother.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man, as Janerio Tucker casually strolled to the wicket and proceeded to swing the pendulum back in Rangers' favour with an array of flamboyant shots.

Both he and Dion Stovell raced to their half-centuries, enjoying a fourth-wicket partnership of 163, before the latter was dismissed for 69.

Hurdle finally sent Tucker's stumps cart-wheeling three shy of his century, but the damage had already been inflicted.

Rain halted proceedings at the start of Social Club's innings after Outerbridge (2) and Thomas (4) had already fallen cheaply the latter courtesy of an acrobatic slip catch by Leverock.

When play resumed Glenn Blakeney (71) and Charlie Marshall (42) gave Social Club hope of a rival, but both men fell in quick succession to Leverock who proceeded to mop up the tail with aplomb.

Rangers advanced through to Sunday's final after defeating Flatts by 107 runs at Lords, while Young Men's Social Club prevailed over St. David's at Somerset Cricket Club in the other semi-final.