All-round class from Simmons

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The Independent Online

Phil Simmons, the veteran West Indian all-rounder, dominated Wales' NatWest Trophy first-round victory over Buckinghamshire at Pontarddulais yesterday.

The former Test player hit 82 from 103 balls, with six fours and two sixes along the way, and then came up with a run-out, a wicket and two catches as Wales prevailed by 11 runs.

"I'm satisfied with that innings," the Trinidadian said. "It was my first of the season, and I will now be playing some cricket in the Central Derbyshire League. But I will be back in Wales for round two at Cardiff."

There was a first-ball scare for the former Leicestershire man when at 23 for 2 in the 12th over he survived a confident lbw shout by the medium-pacer Paul Woodroffe.

It left a smiling Keith Arthurton - another former West Indies Test player appearing for Buckinghamshire - to quip: "Tell him he was really out to that one."

Simmons went on to bat sensibly, adding 50 for the third wicket with Mike Newbold and 52 for the sixth with Mark Davies. Having scored only 12 from as many overs, he found some momentum and made it count once he was set.

He rode his luck, put down twice from difficult chances and caught by Arthurton off a no-ball, before his effort helped Wales reach 212 for 6.

Buckinghamshire's hopes of a successful chase always depended on Arthurton and he made 48 to keep his side well ahead of the run rate but then played on to the former Glamorgan bowler Steve Barwick in the 25th over.

Simmons' safe hands helped account for Paul Atkins and Bruce Percy but his most significant contribution in the field came when he ran out Kelvin Locke who had made 41.

Two stumpings followed from the former Glamorgan wicketkeeper Colin Metson, captaining Wales on his debut and they effectively ended Bucks' hopes who needed 20 from the final over Woodroffe's six off Simmons a valiant, but futile, blow.

The tightest game of the first round was at Chester where Lincolnshire went through against on the basis of losing fewer wickets - nine to Cheshire's 10 - in compiling 204.

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