Stalemate by the sea as Cheshire and Devon draw
By Jim Law

Cheshire force the pace but settle for 12 points as Devon see the game out.
Unicorns Championship Western Division: Cheshire 349 & 202, Devon 272 & 242-8. Match drawn.
Devon 10 points, Cheshire 12 points.

Cheshire closed the gap on Devon at the top of the Western Division table and moved up to third place as they just fell short of forcing victory at picturesque Sidmouth.

The reigning champions have yet to face leaders Wiltshire and remain in the battle to retain their 2013 title.

Devon finished the game 37 runs short with two wickets remaining having been set 280 to win. They were indebted to a sparkling 93 from Josh Bess, following his unbeaten 102 in the first innings.

With the Cheshire pack again shuffled due to injuries and unavailability, Calum Rowe (69) and Pat Roberts (62) opened up for the visitors with a fine stand of 146. Rick Moore added 56 and Lee Dixon 61 as Cheshire posted 349 first time round.

Bess' innings was the mainstay of the Devon reply against a predominantly spin attack. Harry Killoran again grabbed five wickets as Cheshire gained a decent 77 run lead.

With quick runs required second time around, Cheshire managed 202 meaning a challenging but gettable 280 chase. Inform Moore blasted 78 with Roberts adding 46.Trevor Anning took 5-49.

Adam Syddall then led the charge with 4-53 but although Danny Woods constantly rotated his attack, Bess continued to thwart. A late run out gave a brief glimpse of victory but Devon finally saw things out with eight wickets down.

"It was a bit frustrating," commented Woods, "but there were some great positives to take away. Calum (Rowe) and Pat (Roberts) worked well together as openers and of course Rick (Moore) is having a great season whist Harry (Killoran) goes from strength to strength. We fell short in a couple of areas but by and large worked pretty hard to get so close."

Looking ahead to a return to Sidmouth next Sunday (13 July) for the semi-final KO Trophy tie, Woods added "I wouldn't read too much into what's gone on here over the last three days. There will be changes to both sides and we're pretty happy with our one day form."

James Duffy takes over the reins as Cheshire are set to include Warren Goodwin and Chris Tipper. A win would see them face either Wiltshire of Oxfordshire in the final at Wormsley.

Devon v Cheshire full scorecard

Western Division Table:
Team Played Won Lost Tied Drawn N/R Points
Wiltshire 3 3 0 0 0 0 71
Devon 3 2 0 0 1 0 57
Cheshire 3 1 0 0 2 0 43
Wales MC 3 1 0 0 2 0 42
Herefordshire 3 1 1 0 1 0 35
Cornwall 3 1 1 0 1 0 33
Shropshire 3 1 2 0 0 0 30
Dorset 3 1 2 0 0 0 29
Berkshire 3 0 2 0 1 0 23
Oxfordshire 3 0 3 0 0 0 18

Cheshire's team v Devon at Sidmouth CC, Sunday 13 July 2014 (50 overs, 11.00 am - reserve day Monday 14 July):

James Duffy (Hyde - captain), Danny Berry (Hyde), Chris Tipper (Hyde), Danny Woods (York), Rick Moore (Oulton Park),
Pat Roberts (Oulton Park - Wicket Keeper), Lee Dixon (Chester Boughton Hall), Jack Williams (Chester Boughton Hall),
Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall), Calum Rowe (Alderley Edge), Adam Syddall (Urmston), Nick James (Oulton Park).