NEWLY-appointed Dorset captain Chris Park opened his reign with a victory and then hailed the contribution of all-rounder Max Waller.
Waller, who last represented Dorset when they won the Minor Counties title in 2010, starred in their 32-run win over Group One rivals Wales at Dean Park today.
The Somerset-contracted 26-year-old underpinned Dorset’s modest total of 176, finishing undefeated on 91 after running out of batting partners as the hosts wasted two of their allotted 50 overs.
Waller then returned an economical 10-over spell of three for 33 and also chipped in with a smart catch and a sharp throw for a run-out as Wales were dismissed for 144 in reply.
Victory helped Dorset avenge last season’s defeat by the Principality and left them in good shape ahead of their second group match against Devon - who beat Cornwall by seven wickets today - in Sidmouth in seven days.
Park, who shared a fifth-wicket stand of 40 with Waller, told the Daily Echo: “It was a real man-of-the-match performance from Max. His knock was fantastic and, to bat through the innings, showed just what an excellent professional he is and what a great attitude he brings to the team.
“We know we can’t keep relying on the professional players we have available from Hampshire and Somerset but their inclusion does give us a boost. If we have someone like Max or Lewis McManus in the side, there is a knock-on effect and it is good for confidence.”
Only Waller, Josh Lawrence (21), Park (20) and ex-Parley youngster Sam Thomson (13) reached double figures as Dorset surrendered their final six wickets for just 45, slipping from 131 for four to 176.
However, after seamer Mark Wolstenholme had made an early breakthrough, spinners Waller (3-33) and Tom Hicks (3-24) set about ensuring Wales would always be up against it.
Wolstenholme (2-21) and James Hayman (1-21) both returned tidy spells, while Thomson saw his 10 overs go for just 29 and Waller’s brilliant piece of fielding accounted for Wales skipper Darren Thomas.
Park added: “It was a fantastic team performance. We thought we might be 25 runs short but it wasn’t a bad total.
“The pitch was a little damp and bowler-friendly so we did well to scrape to 176. We couldn’t have asked any more from all the bowlers and it was a great start to the season.”