Cheshire cling on for draw at Colwall
By Jim Law

Champions on back foot as Herefordshire take the plaudits

Western Division: Herefordshire 324, Cheshire 132 & 140-9. Match drawn
Herefordshire 11 points, Cheshire 8 points.

Cheshire clung on to scrape a draw in their opening three day Unicorns Championship match with Herefordshire at Colwall.

Following on 192 runs behind after a poor first innings, Danny Woods side again struggled with the bat second time around, only the inform Lee Dixon making a major impact with 55. However, after a late stoppage for rain, Cheshire just survived to claim an unlikely draw.

A much changed Cheshire line up saw a debut for Neston quickie Ash Davis and returns for Jack Williams and Calum Rowe. Khalid Sawas missed out through injury and Nick Anderson, called up for the KO trophy games, made his three day debut. With skipper James Duffy unavailable due to work commitments, Danny Woods once again led the side.

Winning the toss and batting first, Herefordshire's 324 total seemed above par as the Cheshire attack ran out of steam. Adam Syddall grabbed 2-26 from nine overs before limping out of the attack, Ash Davis was unlucky to end without a wicket from his 16 overs whilst Rick Moore's ongoing back troubles left Woods with limited options. The skipper worked hard for his 3-72 from 31 overs and there were a couple of wickets each for Warren Goodwin and Williams. Ben Stebbings and Nitesh Patel top scored for the hosts, both making 50s.

After rain washed out much of the second day, Cheshire's first innings saw a new opening partnership of Goodwin and Danny Berry. The top order found the going tough to close day two on 79-4 (Danny Berry 22), and day three was no easier as they slumped to 142 all out, Anderson digging in for 39, ex Glamorgan spinner Mick O'Shea taking 5-47.

Forced to follow on, Cheshire were staring defeat in the face at 8-3 before Dixon steadied the ship with 55. A rain break ensued before the visitors took advantage of their 'get out of jail card,' Davis and Woods having to survive one ball before stumps were drawn.

Woods was philosophical about his side's shortcomings recognising the need for improvement. "We just didn't show up," he reflected "and didn't deserve to get anything from the game. Hopefully we can put it down to a bad day (or three) at the office. We'll sit down, regroup and go again next week."

Woods' men will have an early chance to bounce back as they again face Herefordshire - this time in a one day KO Trophy quarter final match - at Chester Boughton Hall this Sunday, 15 June.

Next matches: 
 Sun 15 June: Unicorns KO Trophy quarter final - Cheshire v Herefordshire (Chester Boughton Hall CC) 11.00am
 Sun-Tues 22-24 June: Unicorns Championship - Cheshire v Cornwall (Alderley Edge) 11.00am