The new-look Logan Cup finally got underway after a couple of false starts, and on the evidence of the first round of matches the quality has definitely improved from the dark days of two or three years ago.

The Harare-based Mountaineers were the favourites but they contrived to almost lose a match against the Mashonaland Eagles at Harare Sports Club after dominating for the best part of three days. The Mountaineers took a first-innings lead of 176 thanks largely to Hamilton Masakadza's 188 and appeared well on course when they bowled the Eagles out for 271 to leave themselves needing 95 to win. However, panic set in and six wickets went down in as many overs as a succession of batsmen perished to crazy run-outs, and Mountaineers were left holding on at 45 for 7 at the close.

At Kweke, Midwest Rhinos cruised to a 135-run victory over Matabeleland Tuskers with an allround performance by Graeme Cremer stealing the headlines with eight wickets and a brace of half centuries. Given the flat pitch, the scores probably should have been higher, but Cremer's 5 for 73 helped Rhinos to a first-innings lead of 95, and, set an improbable target of 371, Tuskers could only manage 236.

The Masvingo-based Southern Rocks, who are rumoured to have signed up former Kenya captain Steve Tikolo as their player-coach, had a bye and make their competition debut in the second round.

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare