HENLEY players Michael Roberts and Gurveer Singh produced outstanding performances for BERKSHIRE against STAFFORDSHIRE in the Unicorns Trophy at Wargrave on Sunday. But, sadly, they were alone.
Berkshire, having lifted the trophy last August, crashed to their second successive Group 4 defeat.
They saw Staffordshire post a very respectable total of 282-9 in their 50 overs despite a six-wicket haul from spinner Singh.
The holders were then blasted out for a miserly 128 with opener Roberts making 78 of their runs. It was very much a case of Berkshire’s fortunes going rapidly downhill.
For Staffordshire all-rounder Michael Hill blasted 75 not out off 64 balls before taking 5-10 with his left-arm seamers.
Staffordshire, who had been hammered by James Morris’ side in the competition last season, went into the game with a much-changed team following two successive defeats.
But, having elected to bat first, they took control with some particularly aggressive batting and were soon averaging seven runs an over with Peter Wilshaw cracking 65 off 63 balls. The introduction of spinners Singh, Euan Brock and Stephens slowed down the run rate, but Staffs finished their innings strongly thanks to Hill and Matt Goodwin (37 off 18 balls) to set their hosts with a formidable task.
Singh finished with 6-53 off 10 overs, while Stephens had 2-14 off three.
Berkshire needed to get their innings off to a good start, but it failed to materialise and they were soon in deep trouble.
In fact, they never looked even remotely capable of making a close game of it with batsmen being dismissed cheaply.
Only Roberts offered any stiff resistance. The Henley opener made 78 before being eighth man out with the total on 116.
Roberts survived 100 balls, seven more than the rest of the team put together.
Only one other batsman managed to reach double figures, and that was Henley’s Brock with 14.
With two defeats and two games to play, Berkshire look virtually out of contention for a place in the Trophy quarter-finals. Oxfordshire, with three wins out of three, have already qualified and only one other spot in Group 4 remains open for the remaining four counties.
Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, two sides still without a win, meet at Dinton on Sunday.