Cheshire Development Xl v Warwickshire U19s
By Matt Sharp

Toss:- Cheshire Development XI who elected to bat
Cheshire Development Xl 159 all out
Worcestershire 155 all out
Cheshire won by 4 runs

The victorious Development XI at Macclesfield C.C.

The Cheshire Development Xl played host to a Worcester combination team.

With Macclesfield CC preparing a great wicket the scene was set for a fascinating encounter with a strong Cheshire team including leading Cheshire run scorer Khalid Sawas playing in front of a home crowd and a bowling line up with plenty of depth and experience Worcester were going to be in for a real game even with the number of professionals in their Lineup.

Dixon won the toss and elected to bat, deciding to put the new opening partnership of Winter and Warner to the test. Unfortunately Winter departed early on for 1 caught off the bowling of Friend and though Warner looked comfortable Friend trapped him LBW for just 12, not a great start for Cheshire.

Law came to wicket knowing that he had been in good form for Cheshire making a solid score in the Lancashire game, at the other end Sawas came to the crease but became Friend's third victim within 3 balls and with Dan Brown (16) Dixon (10) and Ward (6) going cheaply the Development squad looked to be heading for an early finish and a potentially embarrassing score.

Worcester, though, didn’t reckon on the resilience of Law and Williamson who accumulated 60 between them. Law was eventually caught by Rhodes for 56 but by this time he had done his job. Williamson continued to battle on until the end but with Marsland, Davis and Matthews only contributing 2 runs to the score, the innings finished with Cheshire posting 159 all out (Williamson 38 no).

Over lunch Sharp was asked to reflect at the halfway point “I thought we recovered well to get to 159 when at one stage it looked like we would struggle to get to 120. I have a feeling we may be twenty to thirty runs short but you just never know, with the attack we have we could cause them some real problems”

Cheshire then took to the field knowing that only a monumental effort with the ball would ensure a competitive game, with a small total and a Worcester team containing a number of 1st/2nd teamers including Brett D’oliviera a win today would be some achievement.

With Davis and Ward opening the bowling Dixon encouraged them early on to push the ball through putting every ounce of available effort into each delivery. Ward struck immediately taking Leach out with an unplayable ball and the home player looked to have the “bit between his teeth”. Ward then dispatched Cadmore and Rhodes without either of them troubling the scorer.

At the other end though the experienced Fell was starting to build an innings. Wickets continued to fall with Matthews getting in on the act, dismissing danger man D’olivera for 5 whilst Ward claimed victim number four when Cox kindly guided the ball to Marsland, the Cheshire Wicketkeeper, who is yet to drop a catch.

Worcestershire looked to be heading for an embarrassing defeat with Fell running out of partners, Stuart paying the price of a suicidal run against the arm of Ward at fine leg.

Cheshire’s ascendancy was only stopped when No. 8 McCluskie helped to build what nearly became a match winning partnership though Fell became Williamsons first victim of the day reaching a score of 51.

Cheshire eased off and started to “gift” runs to the visitors. Dixon rallied his troups as Worcestershire were edging closer and closer to the target. Williamson then took the wicket of Friend before Harwood became No5 for Ward.

Cheshire were so close to completing a super days work but McCluskie and Harrison battled on taking the total to 155 before an inspired change of bowling by Dixon allowed Davis to get reward for some excellent bowling early on with the final and important wicket of Harrison.

Worcestershire finished on 155, four runs short of the Cheshire total.

Asked for some post match analysis Sharp was keen to praise the work rate and focus of the team.

He said, “This is my most satisfying result since taking over the reigns as the manager of the squad, we have to remember that we were playing against a well drilled Worcestershire team who play together every week. Their team contains a number of Pros and to beat them shows just how good our guys are, we should all be proud of them."

"Ward obviously takes the plaudits with 5 for 19 and a superb run out in front of his home crowd, he came out guns blazing and was quicker, keener and tougher than any of the opposition. Law picked up where he left off with the bat against Lancs and he has shown why he has become a fixture in this team."

"Williamson with 38 and 2 wickets took the game to the opposition. Catches for Marsland again, Sawas, a good start for Brown and Warner, wickets in a pressure situation from Matthews and Davis and great fitness by Winter in the field (his chance will come again with the bat) shows the strength of this squad."

"Next we face Staffordshire at New Brighton where I hope we can once again put the opposition to the sword."