Now it's four out of four as Cheshire hit top spot
By Jim Law

MCCA Championship, Western Division: Cheshire 390-8 & 173-5 dec, Berkshire 251 & 116.
Cheshire beat Berkshire by 196 runs.
Cheshire 24 points, Berkshire 5 points.


Danny Woods' Cheshire side hit top spot in the Minor Counties Western Division after another stunning performance by the skipper. Woods 5-73 and 8-38 saw him take 13 wickets for the second match running and he now totals 42 from four games. The stats pile up too for Warren Goodwin who hit a Cheshire personal best 191 in his side's first innings.

The trip to Finchampstead saw one enforced change to the side that won at Dorset with Callum Rowe slotting into the top order in place of the injured Chris Tipper.

In glorious weather, Cheshire made the most of winning the toss as they amassed a first innings total of 390-8, Goodwin's stunning contribution including twenty-two boundaries. Goodwin, in scoring his sixth Championship hundred surpassed his previous highest Cheshire score of 154, prompting Lee Dixon to cite it as 'the best he'd seen'.

Great support from Rick Moore (51) and Khalid Sawas (76) helped ensure maximum batting points, the pick of the bowlers, James Morris taking 3-62.

The Berkshire reply slipped away after a promising start, Simon Macey hitting 55 and ex-Cheshire quickie Richard Logan striking 56. Spin twins Woods and Jack Williams led the way, their partnership really beginning to flourish. Williams complemented Woods with a fine 4-68 from his 23 overs.

Cheshire's first innings lead of 138 and overnight thunderstorms delaying the third morning meant they had to score quickly to put themselves in a winning position. Their lunchtime declaration at 173-6 set Berkshire a total of 313 from a minimum 66 overs, Dixon leading the way with an unbeaten 43. Sawas again scored freely with 43 and there were sound contributions from Moore and Johnny Kettle (both 32).

The pressure was on for the home side and Woods and Williams eagerly set about their task, reducing Berkshire to 116 all out to signal a fourth consecutive Cheshire victory.

The modest Woods again paid tribute to an all-round team performance recognising Goodwin's contribution and the role his seamers and fellow spinner played. 'He (Warren) played all around the wicket with a tremendous array of shots. The partnership with Khalid proved a turning point and the great early work put in by Adam (Sydall) and Iain (Tait) set things up nicely for Jack and me'.

With James Duffy set to return for Cheshire's next match at home to Devon, Woods has the side in great shape and can't wait for the season climax. 'James is a class act and will make a good side even stronger,' he said. 'And with two home games to go we're relishing the opportunity to push for the title'.

The full scorecard can be seen here.

Remaining games: Aug 4, 5, 6 (H) v Devon at Bowdon, Aug 18, 19, 20 (H) v Shropshire at Nantwich.