Danny Woods on his way to 13 match wickets

The inventive Khalid Sawas
3 in 3 as Danny does Dorset
By Jim Law

MCCA Championship, Western Division: Cheshire 312-8 & 305, Dorset 379-8 & 167. Cheshire won by 71 runs.
Cheshire 22 points, Dorset 7 points.

Danny Woods outstanding bowling ensured Cheshire made it three Championship victories in three as they spun out Dorset to claim a famous victory at sun drenched Bournemouth.

With Dorset chasing 239 on the last afternoon, skipper Woods claimed a dramatic 8-62 to see his side home. This on the back of his first innings 5-116.

Khalid Sawas was back to form with a fine 121 followed by 85 in the second innings and there were major contributions from Johnny Kettle (58) and Chris Tipper (75).

Cheshire now sit joint second in the Western Division table at the half way stage and Woods is currently the leading Minor Counties wicket taker with 33 scalps.

Cheshire were forced into one change from the side that defeated Wiltshire, Macclesfield's Ian Tait replacing the injured Scott Kirwin.

Dean Park has had mixed fortunes for Cheshire over the years but in soaring temperatures, Woods had no hesitation in making first use of a good pitch and their first innings total of 312-8 was about par against Jake Lintott's slow left arm (4-92).

After Kettle's 58, Sawas took control. His magnificent and mature 121 cleverly crafted around his colleagues, Adam Syddall contributing a stoic unbeaten 33 from 117 balls allowing Sawas to flourish in the later stages.

Dorset's reply of 379-8 saw the Cheshire fielders toil in the sun, Woods taking the best return of 5-116 as the hosts built up a useful 67 run lead.

Cheshire's second dig of 305 was built on a solid 75 from Tipper and saw Sawas continue where he left off with a sparkling 85. Lintott was again the chief tormentor with 4-84 and a lead of 238 saw Dorset in the driving seat needing 239 to win from a minimum 56 overs.

But nobody bargained on Woods being in the form of his life as Cheshire turned things round in dramatic fashion. From 68-1, Dorset slumped to 167 all out as Cheshire got home by 71 runs.

Cheshire's Lee Dixon paid tribute to his skipper describing his performance as 'inspirational - both in terms of bowling and leadership in the final push. His intensity in pushing for victory was second to none.' He added 'it was a tremendous match to be part of. The focus and application throughout was as good as I've seen in my time with the County and the team spirit outstanding'.

Dixon continued 'There were key contributions throughout that shaped the match. Sawas batted so intelligently to work with the others around him and Tipper's application in our second knock was outstanding. On top of that, Kettle's hugely important stumping at 68-1 in the second innings was as good as I've seen'.

Woods remained his usual modest self praising the team ethic and relishing the return of friend and skipper James Duffy. 'We've set things up nicely for the rest of the season' he said,' and with James returning, it'll be an interesting finale'.

Next up for Cheshire is a trip to fourth placed Berkshire at Finchampstead followed by home games with Devon at Bowdon and a potential blockbuster with Shropshire at Nantwich.

Western Division leading places: 1 - Shropshire (70), 2 - Cheshire (68), Wales MC (68), 4 - Berkshire (50)