Firqan Shafiq leaving the field after his maiden ton for Cheshire

Frustration in Wales as Cheshire settle for draw

By Jim Law

Unicorns Championship Western Division
Wales MC v Cheshire CCC at Abergavenny CC, 8,9,10 July 2018
Cheshire 415-7 & 243-6 dec, Wales MC 160 & 331-8.
Match drawn.

Déjà vu for both sides in their second Unicorns Championship outing. Wales MC, having been under the cosh against Devon two weeks earlier had managed to pull off a memorable draw then and did here. Cheshire, ruled the roost, as they did against Shropshire at times, but couldn't turn their superiority into a win.

Needing eight wickets on the last day, the game went to the wire with Wales MC finishing eight down.

Day one couldn't have gone any better for Cheshire as they took first use of a very good pitch and piled on 415-7 with Furqan Shafiq scoring his maiden Cheshire hundred. Danny Leech made 65 and Will Evans added a flamboyant 73.

A wilting Welsh side then slumped to 24-6 by the close of day one, scraping eventually to 160 with ex-Gloucestershire wicket-keeper Cameron Herring holding things together with 90, Cheshire quickies Ben Aitchison (4-34) and Wayne White (3-40) caused the damage with Hyde debutant Bailey Wightman taking 2-23.

With a mammoth lead of 255, Cheshire declined to enforce the follow-on with ECB fast bowling directives limiting the use of their young firepower second time around.

So a second innings total of 243-6 declared, with 98 from Callum Rowe set the home side an unlikely target of 499. With two wickets going down for just 19 on the second evening, Cheshire set themselves up for a last day triumph.

But the Welsh youngsters dug deep to ward off some excellent bowling from White who managed 53 overs in the game, and from Normanton (3-109). Hampered by an injury to Wightman and perhaps lacking an extra front line spinner, Cheshire fell short. Yet final drama saw two late wickets and although Cheshire sensed a breakthrough at the death, they had to settle for a draw.

It was a frustrating end to game that Leech's side had dominated throughout.

"Disappointing, but some good application and decent individual performances," remarked skipper Leech. "We've now got our first three day home match to look forward to (at Nantwich) and we're going to reassess and look forward to that."

Wales MC v Cheshire scorecard
This was the team.