Unicorns Championship - Western Division
Cheshire routed inside two days in Championship opener with Shropshire.
By Jim Law
Sunday - Tuesday 7-9 June 2015, Whitchurch CC
Cheshire CCC 100 & 108, Shropshire 358-9.
Shropshire (24 points) beat Cheshire (4 points) by an innings and 150 runs).
Cheshire turned in a dismal performance in their opening Unicorns Championship match with a humiliating innings and 58 run defeat at the hands of Shropshire.
The game was all over before tea on the second day at Whitchurch with Cheshire left to lick their wounds after one of their biggest losses in recent times.
Having comprehensively beaten Shropshire in the KO Trophy just a few weeks ago, Danny Woods men had no answer to the superb pace and swing of the home attack, Ben Sanderson grabbing a match haul of 11-58.
It was an uncharacteristic performance and the prospect of such a mauling seemed a long way off as Woods won the toss and opted to bat.
Yet the visitors were soon reeling after a devastating opening spell from Sanderson and Matt Higginbottom.
In fact at 48-6, Cheshire did well to reach 100 in their first innings, Nick Anderson making 22.
To be fair, Shropshire's top order found the going tough against Adam Syddall and Ash Davis as they slipped to 82-6 but then came the fightback. Tom Weston (105) and Rich Aucott (91) produced a record 177 eighth wicket partnership to take total control.
A first innings lead of 258 proved well beyond Cheshire as Sanderson again put in a scintillating performance adding 5-19 to his first innings haul of 6-38, aided by Gurman Randhawa (4-35). Cheshire were skittled for 108, Jack Williams top scoring with 26. .
It was Shropshire's first win in 2015 and they were naturally delighted at such a dramatic win whilst Woods was bewildered by his side's showing.
"Shropshire completely outplayed us. Congratulations to them. We had no answer to such a strong bowling performance," he said.
"It's important we don't get too down heartened and we must continue to be positive and back our ability.
"We look forward to the opportunity to put things right when we travel to Wales Minor Counties for our next game."
Explaining that in no way was it meant as an excuse, Woods also highlighted how his batsmen struggled with the Dukes balls - used in Shropshire and in Minor Counties cricket. They have a greater tendency to swing and the Shropshire attack exploited that to the full.
"The Cheshire County League use Reader balls and that really does put us at a disadvantage," he said.
"It would help our development considerably if we used Dukes."
Unicorns Minor Counties Western Division.
21-23 June (A) v Wales Minor Counties (Newport CC)
5-7 July (H) v Dorset (Grappenhall CC)
19-21 July (A) v Cornwall (St Austell CC)
2-4 August (H) v Berkshire (Alderley Edge CC)
16-18 August (H) v Herefordshire (Chester Boughton Hall CC)