Quarterfinal 'Hert' break

By Jim Law

Unicorns KO Trophy Quarter Final
Sunday 11 June 2017, Harpenden CC
Cheshire 273-8 (50 overs), Hertfordshire 274-5 (49 overs).
Hertfordshire won by 5 wickets.

It was quarter final heartbreak for Lee Dixon's side as they went down in an enthralling contest with Hertfordshire at Harpenden.

In a game that ebbed and flowed, a late charge took the hosts over the line and set up a home semi-final with Lincolnshire.

After Cheshire had posted 273-8, Hertfordshire's reply struggled for long periods until Tanweer Sikander masterminded the run in with a fine 91 and Reece Hussain 51.

Yet it ultimately went to the wire with a final flurry settling the game with an over left.

The Cheshire innings was built around a controlled 94 from Rick Moore after Callum Rowe had struck 54. Luke Robinson (39) and Wayne White (31) added mid order steel but there was a general feeling that 273 was 20 or so short on a flat deck. Sikander took 3-51 to sit alongside his later batting heroics.

As the Hertfordshire reply drifted, Dixon used his bowlers cleverly to stem the run flow and by the time Sikander arrived, 96-3 was well behind the required rate.

The turning point was a fine 119 fourth wicket stand between Sikander and Hussain but with the two being dismissed in quick succession, Cheshire seemed in control with Oliver Freckingham taking 3-43 and the returning Andy Clarke containing well with 1-42 from his ten overs.

But with wickets in hand and Ben Frazer and Pat Scott at the crease, Hertfordshire upped the ante and a late flurry saw them home leaving a dejected Dixon to reflect on what might have been.

"In hindsight we were maybe 20 short," he said. "But I felt we bowled really well and put pressure on at important times. We really battled hard and maybe missed a couple of players but we certainly gave it our all.

"Overall we've progressed well in this tournament this year and we now have to adapt for the three-day challenge."

Cheshire will take on Cornwall in the Unicorns Championship at Nantwich next Sunday/Monday/Tuesday 18,19,20 June.

Hertfordshire v Cheshire full scorecard