Logan Cup 2007-08 1st round April 21, 2008

Price sinks defending champions

Centrals and Northerns both completed wins inside three-days in a low-scoring first round of this year's much-postponed Logan Cup.

In Mutari, Northerns beat defending champions Easterns by 65 runs thanks to a good all-round effort from Ray Price. He finished with match figures of 9 for 51 and also chipped in with useful runs. On a slow and low pitch, Brendan Taylor provided the anchor in Northerns' first innings with a solid 62 while Shingi Masakadza, Hamilton's young brother who is making a return to cricket from football, and fellow seamer Silent Mujaji, bagged three wickets each.

Easterns were rather below par with little of note other than Hamilton Masakadza's 60 and opening batsman Johnson Marumisa's 52, conceding a first-innings lead of 62. Northerns also struggled when batting again, with offspinner Timycen Maruma taking a career-best 7 for 82. Set 219 to win, Easterns were sunk by the spin pairing of Price (5 for 39) and Graeme Cremer (3 for 42).

In Kwekwe, the match also ended in three days with hosts Centrals beating Westerns by seven wickets, Tafadzwa Ngulube making the only hundred of the round with 111 in Westerns' first innings of 187.

After stinging criticism in a leading state-run newspaper last weekend, you might have thought that Zimbabwe Cricket's bloated media department would have pulled out all the stops to get scorecards to the media - all the more so as last season it took testy intervention from the ICC to get cards for matches several months after the conclusion of the competition.

Sadly, it was pretty much business as usual with the Logan Cup being conducted in the kind of secrecy that surrounds the outcome of the presidential election. Not even the official ZC website could manage reports or cards. A day after the conclusion of the two matches the site still led with a preview of the games.

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare