Rain thwarts Cheshire at Chester Boughton Hall
By Derrick Hastings

Cheshire v Herefordshire at Chester BH, 19, 20, 21 August, 2012
Toss Cheshire who elected to Bat
Cheshire 476 for 8 (90 overs); Herefordshire 298 for 9 (83 overs)
Match drawn
Cheshire 12 points – Herefordshire 8 points (2 points deducted for slow over rate)

Rain prevented Cheshire claiming what could have been an emphatic victory over Herefordshire at Chester Boughton Hall. With only 34 overs bowled on the first day and a heavy downpour over lunch on the final day, the game was abandoned as a draw.

Play started on time on the Sunday but was interrupted by rain after only six overs had been bowled. There was a concern over possible damage to the bowlers’ run-ups as no covers were available. Fortunately, nearby Christleton kindly came to the rescue and made their covers available for the duration of the match.

Play resumed after lunch with openers Warren Goodwin and Jonny Kettle at the crease. Goodwin’s wicket fell with the score on 36 of which Goodwin had scored 27 off only 30 balls. Rick Moore then came in to bat and was still there when another prolonged shower of rain shortly after 3:00 pm forced play to be interrupted for three hours. Kettle and Moore were still batting with Cheshire on 119 for 1 when bright sunlight shining into the slip fielders’ eyes caused a slightly earlier finish than planned.

Second day

Although play had been scheduled to start at 10:30, it did not actually start until shortly after 11:00 because of moisture on the square.

Seven runs were added to the overnight score when Moore was trapped LBW for 34, at which point Khalid Sawas came to the crease and dominated the Herefordshire bowlers. Kettle was out for 70 with the score on 205 for 3 and each of the middle-order batsmen contributed handsomely to the final Cheshire score.

Lee Dixon’s 47 came off 61 balls, James Duffy’s 40 off only 35 balls and Danny Berry’s 35 off just 25 balls included 3 sixes, one of which went into the canal to be followed next ball by one which cleared the canal completely!

Sawas (Pictured left by Barry Mitchell) had a fine innings of 164 which ended when the 90 over deadline was approaching and he was caught on the boundary attempting his fifth 6 of the day. His innings also contained 24 fours and he only faced 140 balls. It is all the more remarkable given that he was batting with a badly broken finger.

Cheshire’s innings closed on 476, which was an all-time record for the Club, beating the previous highest score of 472. This record was set in 2007 during the Championship final against Northumberland at Jesmond.

The pick of the Herefordshire bowlers were Nick Powell (3 – 95) and Dan Conway (3 – 114). Unfortunately, the bowling rate was very slow, with only 27 overs being bowled during one session of Two hours and twenty minutes. This meant that Herefordshire were penalised by two Championship points.

Herefordshire’s reply started well with a partnership of 60 for the first wicket and 42 for the second. The next two wickets fell relatively cheaply and the visitors were 135 for 4 when the sun again intervened to curtail the day’s play.

Third Day

Heavy dew meant that the early scheduled 10:30 start had to be delayed while the outfield was cleared. This was achieved by running the mower over the outfield as no rope was available. This left the field looking rather scarred although it did not interfere noticeably with the speed of the ball over the ground.

Danny Woods began to work his magic again taking 6 wickets for 71 runs off of 23 overs and Herefordshire were reduced to 298 for 9 after 83 and facing the prospect of following on at lunch. Unfortunately, an absolute downpour occurred over lunch leaving standing water all over the outfield and causing the game to be abandoned.

The Captain, James Duffy, was disappointed by the outcome. “We had a chance of bowling them out twice in the time that was left but the rain defeated us,” he said. “The loss of most of the first day was frustrating but we still had a lot of confidence in our ability to win the match – particularly given that Woodsy was bowling as well as he has done all season.”

“Khalid’s batting was magnificent and all the other batters contributed to our superb total. It was a real team effort, albeit led by Khalid. I am really pleased with the way the players have coalesced into a true team this year, particularly given the inexperience of many of the side at the start of the season.”