Devon cream Cheshire
By Jim Law

Cheshire put to the sword in KO Trophy semi final.
Unicorns Counties KO Trophy semi final: Devon 367-7 (50 overs), Cheshire 231 all out (39.1 overs).
Devon won by 136 runs.

Cheshire's dreams of a KO Trophy final were dashed against a powerful Devon side at Sidmouth.

In their second trip to the south west in a week, James Duffy's men fell well short as Devon piled on the runs.and the agony. Devon will now play Oxfordshire in the final.

A large crowd watched on by the seaside as Josh Bess won the toss for Devon and had no hesitation in batting first on what looked a great surface.

And so it proved as the Cheshire bowlers toiled in the sun and the home side made hay. Rob Woodman (118) and Matt Thompson (126) were chief destroyers adding 180 for the second wicket after Adam Syddall had made an early breakthrough.

Damage limitation was the main priority as Duffy's limited attack meant eight bowlers tried their luck.

But no mercy was shown as Devon racked up 367-7 from their 50 overs, Danny Berry returning the best bowling figures of 3-64.

The Cheshire reply began positively with the returning Warren Goodwin looking back to his best. But set more than seven an over from the outset was always going to be a challenge and wickets fell regularly to an attack that included Somerset's Jamie Overton.

With the rate increasing and more and more risks being taken, there was an inevitability about the outcome. Goodwin top scored with 73 and although there were good contributions from Berry (34), Pat Roberts (33) and Calum Rowe (30), Cheshire were clearly second best, closing on 231.

Maybe the toll of two long overnight road trips played a part but Duffy was realistic in defeat. 'Fair play to Devon," he said. "Sometimes you just have to put your hands up and acknowledge that we were beaten by the better side on the day. We'll bounce back."

Cheshire have a week to dust themselves down and regroup for a three day Unicorns Counties Western Division match with Wales Minor Counties which starts at Bowdon this Sunday (July 20).

Selection is once again likely to be hit by work commitments and injuries with Danny Woods back at the helm.

Cheshire side v Wales MC, Sunday-Tuesday 20, 21, 22 July 2014 tbc (will be posted on the website later this week).