Cheshire brush Shropshire aside to set up Devon final

By Jim Law

Unicorns Counties KO Trophy
Sunday 1 July 2018, Bridgnorth CC
Cheshire 254-9 (50 overs), Shropshire 131 (27.5 overs).
Cheshire won by 123 runs.

After losing a three day game to the same opposition just five days earlier, Cheshire swept Shropshire aside to clinch a place in the 2018 KO Trophy final. They'll meet Devon at Wormsley CC on 29th August - their first final in the competition since 2007 when they lost to Suffolk.

Skipper Rick Moore steadied the Cheshire ship with a top score of 69 after a ponderous start and once handed the ball, his bowlers did him proud.

Cheshire were able to recall Jack White, Jack Williams, Ed Fluck, Luke Robinson and Jamie Crawley for the vital clash, players who've made a significant contribution to their side's one day success this year.

The early signs weren't great. Cheshire won the toss and batted first on a two-pace pitch which required concentration and application. And at 81-5, their final total of 254-9 looked unlikely. Moore's in a rich vein of form though and when finally dismissed (stumped off a wide), his side had got their act together.

Simon Normanton (39) and Luke Robinson (31) added crucial late runs with Shropshire's lack of discipline contributing a stunning 51 extras including 35 wides.

Shropshire's reply stuttered from the off as for once their strong top order couldn't get going, Stephen Leach, Omar Ali and Will Parton all out cheaply. Alexi Kervezee managed 42 but controlled bowling from spinners and seamers quickly took the game away.

Jack White took 4-29, Jack Williams 3-40 and Simon Normanton 2-41 as the attack relished the challenge to bowl Shropshire out for 131.

"We struggled to get going with the bat," said Moore "and it was tough at times. My job was to bat time when I came in and gradually we turned things round. We felt that 250 on that pitch would be a decent total but at one stage it seemed a real long way off.

"We've worked hard in this competition and there've been some big performances against Cumberland and Lincolnshire as well as today so we're delighted to have made the final. We last won this trophy in 1996 so it would be great to put that to rights."

Devon pulled off a last gasp win in the other semi-final against Suffolk when they scraped home with scores tied.

And Moore may yet get a second visit to Wormsley. Cheshire currently sit top of their T20 Group and must await the outcome of the Northumberland/Cumberland double-header in two weeks to learn their fate.

For now he was happy to reflect on a "job well done" as he hands over the captaincy reins to colleague Danny Leech for next week's three day game against Wales Minor Counties at Abergavenny.

Shropshire v Cheshire scorecard
This was the team.