Encouraging win against Staffs
Sparkling half-centuries from openers Mal Loye and Fahim Qureshi led Bucks to a five-wicket victory over Staffordshire in their final Minor Counties Trophy match at Marlow on Sunday.
But the win was not enough for Bucks to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competittion. All five teams in the rain-affected group finished with four points. Staffs and Dorset went through on the best nett run-rate. Bucks came fourth.
However, it was an encouraging display by Bucks, who captured three early wickets after inserting Staffs on an excellent pitch.
Bucks bowlers, including debutant Doug King from Harefield, kept the visitors in check and it was only in the last seven overs which yielded 73 runs that the batsman exerted themselves.
Atiq Chishti finished with 87 not out off 83 balls, but the real acceleration came from Richard Hassall, who hammered 57 not out from 36 balls as Staffs reached 230-5 from their 50 overs. Simon Stanway finished with 2-31 from ten overs.
Bucks were given a flying start by Loye and Qureshi, who added 98 in 22 overs to set them on their way. Loye, the former Northants and England one day international , made 56 off 61 balls, one of his three sixes breaking a pavilion window.
David Cranfield-Thompson, dropped twice before he had scored, and Qureshi maintained the momentum in a stand of 89. Qureshi, who has joined Tring Park from Slough, was out for 75 off 86 balls.
Bucks lost further wickets in the chase for runs, as the county eased home by five wickets with six overs to spare.
Although not qualifying for the later stages, Bucks would have been heartened by the display ahead of the forthcoming Championship campaign.