Cheshire Development XI v Staffordshire Development XI at New Brighton
Monday, Tuesday August 13 and 14, 2012

Report by Matt Sharp

Toss:- Cheshire Development XI who elected to bat
Cheshire Development Xl 1st innings 346 ao and 149 for 2 (dec.)
Staffordshire Development Xl 1st innings 218 for 9 (dec.) and 163 for 6
Cheshire registered a 1st innings victory
Team Details

The Development XI with Pete Hancock and Matt Sharp.

Cheshire recorded a comprehensive 1st innings victory beating Staffordshire by 128 runs.

The Cheshire Development Xl took on a Staffordshire development side managed by ex-England opener Kim Barnett. The game was hosted at New Brighton and Cheshire and their opponents were looking forward to a competitive encounter.

Ross Dixon won the toss and elected to bat on a dry and hard wicket. This continued an amazing run for Ross who has won the toss in every game this year.

Hughes and Davies opened the batting hoping to get off to a solid start; Hughes though was dismissed in the 10th over with the score on 10.

Davies was joined by Rowe and both players demonstrated their class by putting on a partnership of 154. Both batted excellently with Rowe capitalising on any bad ball and Davies playing shots all around the ground, putting the opening bowlers in their place and creating confusion for the Staffordshire captain. Davies was eventually caught with the one chance he gave as was Rowe, both caught behind off the off spinner Hassall.

With Cheshire 164 for 3 a big score of 300+ was the target.

Law played well for his 41 and Luke McCoy looked a class apart before both became victims of Hassall’s off spin again. A middle order collapse then followed with Dixon, Ward and Williams failing to score and at 229 for 8 Cheshire looked only likely to reach 250.

In came Marsland (67) who, supported by Davis (18) and Hawke (28), took the score to an impressive 346 all out, Marsland in particular embarrassed the middle order by making the task of scoring runs look easy.

So the stage was set for Riley and Davis to put the Staffordshire openers under intense pressure in what remained of the time after tea. Riley took an aggressive approach to his task, peppering the openers with the ball, beating the batter for pace and generally scaring them into submission. He was ably supported by the pace and accuracy of Davis.

At close of play Staffs were 51 for 4 and the outcome looked like a formality.

Day two commenced with Cheshire looking to close out the game quickly, Cheadle put up some resistance with a patient 31 and Ball (21) did his best to stop the rot that had settled into the Staffordshire middle order though they were still only 99 for 5.

In came Hassall who had already taken 8 wickets now took his opportunity with the bat, playing a shot a ball, he had used a number of his lives when he was finally caught and bowled by captain Dixon for 77 off 72 balls.

The Staffs tail then gave little resistance and at lunch they were 218 for 9.

An agreement was made at lunch for Staffordshire to declare so that Cheshire could bat for 25 overs and give an opportunity for the opposition to chase it down. With the weather, lack of cricket and time available this set-up a thrilling climax to the game.

Cheshire batted for 25 overs. Rowe and Davies again taking the Staffs attack apart. Rowe was given LBW on 50 but Davies carried his bat for 64 to top a great match for the player. Law (13) and McCoy (20) made useful contributions before Cheshire declared.

A target of 277 was set and but for the opening pair Beech (62) and Hassett (66) Cheshire’s opponents struggled to keep up with the run rate required and look after their wickets. When Hassall came to the crease Staffs were 162 for 5 and hoping for a miracle. Dixon took on the responsibility for dismissing Hassall for 0 and Kim Barnett knew that the game was now finished.

Williams bowled superbly picking up 4 wickets.

Asked about this performance Matt Sharp gave a summary “From the moment we went out to bat we punished Staffordshire at every opportunity and demoralised them with the first innings score.

Staffordshire had no answer to our batting and bowling. Obviously Davis and Rowe were in a different league both of them scoring over 150 runs across the two innings.

Marsland surprised everyone with a fluent 67. Jay Riley bowled as quickly as I have seen, Davis was accurate and importantly consistent as he has been all season taking 3 wickets and Williams capped off a fine day for Cheshire with 4 for 66 off 16.

Hawke also bowled well and supported Marsland with an important 28 runs. Luke McCoy looked superb with the bat and Law continues to get runs for us.

Dixon did a great job of leading the team as well as taking a superb caught and bowled and this now gives us our second win of the season.

No doubt Leicestershire will present us with a different challenge but I know the team are up for the fight and want to finish the season with another win”