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Winning start for Herefordshire in MCCA Trophy
10:30am Thursday 1st May 2014 in Sport
HEREFORDSHIRE overcame wet conditions to make a winning start to their MCCA Trophy campaign by beating Staffordshire by 43 runs at Colwall.
"I really didn't think we would play when I got there," said chairman of selectors Ernie Morgan.
"The outfield was very wet but the Colwall groundstaff did a fantastic job."
The 32 overs a side match got underway at 3pm and the weather relented bar for one short interruption which shaved an over off each team's innings.
Herefordshire lost the toss and were invited to bat with former Worcestershire all-rounder Neil Pinner (23) and Liam Gwynne (21) posting 47 for the first wicket.
"It was not easy early on as the covers had been on for five days and the ball was doing a bit," said Morgan. "But we plugged away."
There was steady scoring down order with Ben Stebbings (31) and skipper Dave Exall (29) top-scoring and Michael O'Shea (10) and wicket-keeper Chris Powell (16 not out) chipping in with double-figure scores as the home county reached 151-8 from their allotted overs.
Powell's contribution may prove a swansong at county level, however.
"Chris broke a thumb at indoor nets and he has also had other finger injuries," said Morgan. "So it may mean he has to give up keeping wicket.
"We're lucky that we have a replacement lined up in Luke Pagett, who keeps wicket for Bath and is a regional salesman for our new sponsors Weston's Cider."
There was an early run-out in the Staffordshire reply and a wicket apiece for paceman Graham Whiles and his opening bowling partner Dan Conway as the visitors slipped to 15-3.
But then former Worcestershire batsman Kadeer Ali (20) and ex-Herefordshire all-rounder Michael Hill (28) staged a revival with a stand of 50 for the fourth wicket.
"They were going along steadily at three an over but then the wickets started to go down," said Morgan.
"The required rate went up to eight an over and, with desperation setting in, there were a string of run-outs.
"We bowled well, no-one really got clobbered and there were no catches dropped."
Pinner was the pick of the bowlers with 3-26 as Herefordshire wrapped up a comfortable win.
On Sunday, Herefordshire head for Burnham for their first ever meeting with Buckinghamshire, the only Minor County they have never played.
Pagett will replace Powell while Brad Wadlan, who is due to return tomorrow (Friday) after a season playing first-class cricket in Zimbabwe, will replace the unavailable Whiles.