Cheshire Development Xl v Warwickshire U19s
By Matt Sharp
Toss:- Cheshire Development XI who elected to Field
Warwickshire U19s 1st innings 228 ao
Cheshire Development Xl 1st innings 96 ao and 190 for 6
Warwickshire registered a 1st innings victory
The Development XI with Pete Hancock. Matt Sharp was taking Olly Thompson to hospital.
With a much changed side from the abandoned game in Durham Lee Dixon was drafted in to support the team and provide much needed experience and ability in what was an untried batting line-up. The team contained a number of debutants including Riley (Glossop), Davis (Alderley Edge), Marsland (Oxton), Thompson (Chester BH), Goode (Congleton) and Williams (Poynton) and was the first opportunity for Hancock and Sharp to take a look at some of Cheshire’s future generation of stars
Cheshire at last got their rain delayed season underway against a full strength Warwickshire team, although an eventful warm-up session resulted in Thompson sustaining an eye injury and delaying his debut until after tea.
Cheshire won the toss and elected to field which given the rain and overcast conditions was the only option. Riley and Davis opened and immediately caused Hingley and Cornick problems, beating the bat with pace and movement, Riley and Davis deservedly claiming the wickets of both openers, Warwickshire were in real trouble at 15 for 2.
The home side were on top. Best entered the fray and made the most of his luck, surviving a drop and a strong case for LBW early on, he did though play a dogged innings reaching 78 before a combination of Law and Marsland claimed his wicket. At the other end the wickets continued to fall with Riley and then Dixon claiming two more victims and the stage was set for an early finish in the field and a chance to bat after tea. Payne though had other ideas and after coming to the crease under extreme pressure played a superb innings of 62, giving few chances and batting with the tail to post a team score of 228. Marsland completed a superb display with the Gloves claiming four victims including a leg side diving catch to end the innings of Burton when he looked set to post a big score.
Pick of the Bowling was Riley who posted impressive figures of 4/50, whilst Davis (1/36) Ward (1/20) and Law (2/32) all contributed to bowling the team out and restricting the visitors. A special mention though has to go to R Dixon who completed 38 overs conceding only 48 runs and taking two wickets. Given the luck enjoyed by Warwickshire, manager Gary Steer and his team were more than happy with their total.
Needing 229 to deliver a 1st innings win Cheshire were in confident mood though openers Murphy and Normanton had to endure a tricky 20 minutes out in the middle before the day was finished, Murphy survived an early LBW Shout and overnight Cheshire were 11 without loss.
Buoyed by the news that Ali had been selected by England U19s for their tour of Australia Warwickshire were keen to apply some early pressure and it paid off with Normanton falling early to an unlucky LBW decision off Ali, Murphy was removed soon after with McKay the wicketkeeper taking a regulation catch and the signs looked ominous for Cheshire. The pattern of play continued with Law, Thompson, Ward and Davis all taking an early walk back to the pavilion, but for some resolute batting by brothers Lee (21) and Ross (15) Dixon the score could have been even more embarrassing, though Marlsand and Riley provided some much needed entertainment at the end of the innings. Cheshire posted a 1st inning score of 96 all out and unsurprisingly were asked to follow-on.
Things had to change and after a much needed injection of realism by coach Hancock Cheshire approached their second innings with much more endeavour.
Though the batting order had changed the result looked to be heading down the same direction when Murphy (6) and Thompson (2) were dismissed within the first 3 overs.
As the sky turned blue and the sun cream was applied the two Dixon brothers again showed their class with Lee and Ross taking the game to Warwickshire. Warwickshire changed tact and replaced their seam attack with another England hopeful and an emerging prospect who though delivered some testing deliveries had no answer to the fluency of both brothers, L Dixon reaching 84 before holing out to Hunt. Young Dixon carried his bat with 56 and was ably supported by Ward who reached 27 before the game was completed.
Asked to reflect on his first game in charge Sharp was keen to praise his team “I thought we really toughed it out in the field and took the game to them early on and even when little was happening for bowler or batter and the game looked to be drifting along, Ross (Dixon) made key interventions which ensured that we kept the pressure on at all times. I was particularly pleased with our bowling and fielding and everyone contributed well. Riley, Davis and Marsland had great games and it was good to see Goode and Williams get an opportunity to bowl. I was though disappointed with our batting and can only look to the Dixon brothers (L Dixon 21 and 84, R Dixon 15 and 56,) and Ward (27) in the second innings as an example of how to perform under these circumstances. I am looking forward to our game on the 17th July against Staffordshire when I hope we can build on a solid if not spectacular start to our season”