A superb century from Michael Payne gave Bucks a flying start in the Minor Counties Trophy with an 81-run victory over Staffordshire in their Group 4 match at Stone on Sunday.
Bucks, who have had a poor record in this competition in recent years, looked to be struggling at 42-2 after being put into bat by the hosts. One of the wickets to fall was that of former Northants batsman Rob White, making his competitive debut for the county. But Tring Park batsman Payne and High Wycombe left-hander David Cranfield-Thompson turned the game around with a sparkling stand of 135 for the third wicket at five runs an over. Cranfield-Thompson cracked 71 off 77 balls, but Payne went on to score 103 off 124 balls with 12 fours.
With a generous helping of 28 extras, Bucks were able to reach a useful 281-6 from their 50 overs. Payne had not finished as he and fellow off-spinner Shaftab Khalid then spun out Staffordshire, who got off to a brisk start against the seamers, for 200 in the 46th over. Payne took 3-24 off eight overs, while Khalid returned the excellent figues of 5-35 in 9.3 overs to secure Bucks’ convincing victory. Their next match in the competition is against Wales at Dinton on Sunday, May 19.