Third day frustration for Cheshire again in Dorset draw

By Jim Law

Unicorns Championship - Western Division
Sunday - Tuesday 22-24 July 2018, Nantwich CC
Cheshire 375-7, Dorset 211 & 312-8.
Match drawn.

Once again Cheshire got themselves into a commanding position on the final day of a Unicorns Championship match but couldn't quite cross the line.

After defeat to Shropshire and a frustrating draw in Wales, Danny Leech's side again had to settle for a draw as Dorset kept them at bay.

The recalled Danny Woods shone with a nine wicket match haul and the skipper hit 112.

Dorset played into Cheshire's hands on day one, putting their hosts into bat. Leech's finely crafted 112 and Furqan Shafiq classy 63 set a platform for big hitting Will Evans to blast 71 and Simon Normanton (37*) to build a commanding 375-7. Josh McCoy took 4-82.

The bowlers then played their part reducing Dorset to 211 with Woods taking 4-66, Wayne White 3-47 and Chris Charles 3-50. A 155 third wicket partnership between Luke Webb (73) and Alex Eckland threatened to challenge the Cheshire total but from 169-2, Dorset fell to 211 all out.

Unlike in Wales, Leech enforced the follow-on with Dorset struggling 164 runs behind. But as with that game were thwarted by stubborn defence as Webb (76) and 100 from Ed Ellis saw Dorset through to 312-8 at the end of a rain affected third day.

Leech mixed his bowlers and pushed for the victory but the wickets weren't forthcoming although Woods took 5-116 (9-182) from a mammoth 45 overs. White weighed in with 3-82 but as the pitch got slower, Dorset grew in confidence.

The result leaves Cheshire halfway in the league with three to play. Leech was left to reflect on the positive side from his side's first three games. All could have been victories with Cheshire well placed on the third morning in each game.

"Great to have Danny Woods back in the side at the top of his game," he said, "but of course disappointing not to push on and get the win.

"There's not too much wrong with how we're going about our game and with an away trip to Cornwall followed by two home games (at Chester and Alderley Edge), we've still a lot of cricket to play".

The three day side travel to Truro in a couple of weeks and the one day side have T20 finals and a KO Trophy final to look forward to at Wormsley CC in late August.

Cheshire v Dorset scorecard
This was the team