About turn in Wiltshire puts Cheshire in pole position
By Jim Law

Victory puts Cheshire top of the pile with one to play.
Unicorns Championship Western Division: Cheshire 227 & 381-4, Wiltshire 174 & 208.
Cheshire won by 226 runs.
Cheshire 22 points, Wiltshire 4 points.



The Team at Salisbury
Back Row: Nick James, Jack Williams, Matt Ingram, Warren Goodwin, Rick Moore, Danny Berry, Lee Dixon
Front Row: Calum Rowe, Adam Syddall, James Duffy (Capt.), Dan Woods, Pat Roberts



An extraordinary turnaround saw Cheshire leap frog Devon and Wiltshire to head the Western Division.

And with one game to play, it's tight at the top.

Cheshire lead Wiltshire by just one point, Herefordshire jump to third and with Shropshire and Devon just behind, technically any one of the top five can take the title.

Calum Rowe's cool 155 not out in Cheshire's second innings following Rick Moore's rescuing 119 first time round saw a dramatic recovery for the 2013 Champions who were sitting at 23-5 on the first morning.

With the ball jagging around early doors, Cheshire immediately regretted their decision to bat first at Salisbury but up stepped saviour Moore again to steer his side to respectability. Moore hit an excellent 119 - his third Cheshire century of the season

Together with Danny Berry (29), some semblance of order returned as James Duffy resumed the captaincy, adding extra seam to his attack with Upton's Matt Ingram making his debut.

Ingram contributed a useful 20 from the tail in a 227 total before playing his part in reducing Wiltshire's reply to 174. He bagged two wickets with a couple each for Adam Syddall and Jack Williams, Danny Woods snaffling three.

A surprise lead grew as things settled down in Cheshire's second innings, Rowe's coming-of-age continuing in a focused, mature display, carrying his bat for an outstanding 155. Moore again shone with 76, Warren Goodwin made 40 and Lee Dixon 60 as Duffy turned the screw.

The declaration at 381-4 meant Wiltshire chasing an unlikely 435 for victory and despite resistance from Ed Young (42), Jayden Levitt (41) and Mike Coles (39), Cheshire juggled their bowling well, were sharp in the field and swept to victory. With the wickets again shared around, Moore took 3-45 and Jack Williams' two wickets came at crucial times.

An elated Duffy heralded the upturn and paid tribute to Rowe, the Adderley Edge batsmen making a career best for the third game running.

"He gets better and better," said Duffy. "The application he showed was outstanding."

The skipper highlighted too the overall resolve shown by his side. "When you consider we were in pieces at 23-5, it was an amazing performance. Everyone played their part. It's difficult to remember a game when everybody chipped in so much."

With Devon going down against Shropshire, the cat's now truly amongst the pigeons.

But there's one equation that stands out: a full points victory against Oxfordshire at Nantwich would clinch the title for Cheshire whatever anybody else does.

It's right down to the wire.
Wiltshire v Cheshire full scorecard

Western Division Table:
Team Played Won Lost Tied Drawn N/R Points
Cheshire 5 3 0 0 2 0 85
Wiltshire 5 3 1 0 1 0 84
Herefordshire 5 3 1 0 1 0 81
Shropshire 5 3 2 0 0 0 74
Devon 5 2 1 0 2 0 73
Dorset 5 2 2 0 1 0 61
Wales MC 5 1 2 0 2 0 51
Cornwall 5 1 3 0 1 0 42
Berkshire 5 0 3 0 2 0 37
Oxfordshire 5 0 3 0 2 0 36


Remaining fixtures (17, 18, 19 August 2014):
    Cheshire v Oxfordshire (Nantwich)
    Shropshire v Wiltshire (Whitchurch)
    Herefordshire v Wales MC (Brockhampton)
    Devon v Berkshire (Exmouth)
    Dorset v Cornwall (Bournemouth)