LOGAN CUP MATCH: MASHONALAND EAGLES v SOUTHERN ROCKS
At Harare Sports Club, 31 October 2012: Day 2
Close of play: Southern Rocks (459/8 dec) v Mashonaland Eagles (15/1).
It was a day of records at Harare Sports Club for Southern Rocks, who continued to defy the odds and prosper in their Logan Cup match against the powerful Mashonaland Eagles team.
Rocks recorded their highest-ever Logan Cup total of 459 for eight wickets, declared, and this total included a hard-working century on first-class debut by the 18-year-old Peter Burgoyne, a Derbyshire professional who has yet to play a first-class match for his county. Several overseas professionals have scored centuries on their debuts for Zimbabwean franchises in the last couple of seasons, but Burgoyne is the first to do so on his first-class debut anywhere. The top scorer was local player Richmond Mutumbami with an excellent 141 runs.
Southern Rocks continued from their overnight score of 259 for four, with Mutumbami on 87 and Burgoyne eight. Mutumbami reached the nineties with a superb cover drive for four off the third ball of the morning, from Nathan Waller, but it took him over 30 minutes to reach the second century of his career, which he did with an off-driven boundary off the bowling of Innocent Chinyoka.
Mutumbami never relaxed his concentration after this but continued to pile on the runs.
At the other end, Burgoyne was equally vigilant on a pitch that now gave nothing to the bowlers at all, and the pair was still together at lunch. Mutumbami did have a life at 134, however, as Stuart Matsikenyeri failed to hold a hard low pull at midwicket. He had also earlier, on two or three occasions, come close to being run out. The score at the interval was 343 for four, Mutumbami on 136 and Burgoyne 38, but rain-clouds were looming.
Play restarted on time, but only about six minutes’ play and six runs were possible before the light grew so bad that the players had to leave the field. The rain, and even hail, started about two minutes later. It lasted less than half an hour, but took another hour to clear up. It was an unwanted break for Southern Rocks and indeed it did no good to Mutumbami, who immediately fell leg-before-wicket to a sharp spinner from Sikandar Raza Butt for a superb 141(223 balls, 21 fours and 2 sixes). His partnership with Burgoyne had added 153 runs.
With Tendai Chisoro now at the crease, the orders were clearly to increase the scoring rate. Although the approach was now more aggressive, Mashonaland Eagles kept it tight and runs came no more quickly, Chisoro falling to a catch at slip for six. Burgoyne soon afterwards reached a marathon fifty, off 182 balls. With the tail-enders in, Burgoyne moved up another gear and swung two balls from Raza over wide long-on for six in the same over. He later did the same to Tinotenda Mutombodzi and progressed with great confidence towards his century. Burgoyne’s second fifty took him only another 47 balls, and when he drove a ball from Mark Mbofana through the covers for three to reach the landmark, Southern Rocks declared on their new record total, beating the 449 for five against the same opposition on the Masvingo batting paradise two seasons ago.
To their credit, Mashonaland Eagles never wilted with the ball or in the field, in spite of being kept out there for almost 10 hours, which none of them could have expected. Only Chinyoka and Mbofana took as many as two wickets, and now they had to go out and seek to emulate their upstart opponents in batting.
Eagles, after all their opening batsmen problems in the last few seasons, sent in two makeshift openers in Regis Chakabva and Chamunorwa Chibhabha.
The latter got off to a confident start; not so the former, who is still recovering from a hand injury that has prevented him from keeping wicket. Chakabva was yorked by Tinashe Panyangara for one. To the Eagles’ advantage, the pitch was flat and Brian Vitori had problems finding his line. However, the light was poor. Vitori tried to compensate for his deficiencies by bowling bouncers, one of which struck Chibhabha a nasty blow on the helmet in the bad light.
The umpires brought the players off the field and then more rain began, leaving Rocks after two days with the advantage in leaving Rocks after two days with the advantage in the match, so far.