Cheshire one win away from Lords

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE have booked their place in this year's Minor Counties Cricket Association (MCCA) Knockout Trophy semi-finals.

Andy Hall's side dug deep to defeat Cumberland by five wickets at Barrow Cricket Club today (Sunday) - and now play Devon in the semi on Sunday 1st July at Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club.

A reserve day of Monday 2nd July has been arranged in case no play takes place on the Sunday.

Having won the toss and elected to field, Cheshire had Cumberland reeling at 105-8, until a ninth wicket partnership of 77 saw their opponents post 194 all out in 49.4 overs.

Off-spinner Nathan Dumelow (3-30) was the pick of Cheshire's bowlers, while Guy Emmett, Daniel Berry and Adam Syddall all chipped in with two wickets. Seamer Jason Whittaker also claimed an important scalp.

Hall then led from the front, top-scoring with 65 as Cheshire triumphed in 36.1 overs. Opener David Fitzsimmons (31), Dumelow (40) and an unbeaten 23 from James Duffy steered the visitors over the winning line.

An important 3rd wicket stand of 68 between Hall and Fitzsimmons, and then 62 between there skipper Dumelow laid the platform for success as Cheshire claimed two points to win Group A and leave themselves within one victory of playing at Lords in this year's showcase final on Bank Holiday Monday 27th August.

"That's a great win for us," said a delighted Hall. "We bowled really well and, although we let them get too many runs, we batted sensibly and made sure of the victory.

"It's nice to do well in this competition because we haven't really gone that far in the last few years, but if we can win one more match we'll be playing at Lords. That would mean a lot to the players."

Team manager Sandy Scrimgeour added: "We made it harder than it should have been, but the most important thing is we've won.

"The team are pulling together and if they keep performing, then there's no reason why we can't get to Lord's."

Cheshire took a 13-man squad with them to Barrow, with opening batsman Danny Leech and seamer Tom Young missing out in the final squad as Hyde duo Fitzsimmons and spinner Berry got the nod instead.

Scorecard:
Cumberland 1st innings: 194 all out, 49.4 overs (C D'Leny 38, M Gorley 33, G Pratt 31, N Dumelow 3-30, G Emmett 2-28, D Berry 2-27, A Syddall 2-65, J Whittaker 1-31).
Cheshire 1st innings: 195-5, 36.1 overs (A Hall 65, N Dumelow 40, D Fitzsimmons 31, J Duffy 23 not out).
Result: Cheshire won by 5 wickets (Cheshire 2pts, Cumberland 0pts).

Cheshire team: capt - Andy Hall, wkt kpr - Matt Dawson (Bramhall); Ben Spendlove, Nathan Dumelow, Guy Emmett, (Oulton Park); Ismail Dawood (Urmston); Dave Fitzsimmons, James Duffy, Daniel Berry (Hyde); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Adam Syddall (Bowdon).

Reserves: Tony Young (Hyde), Danny Leech (Oulton Park). Scorer: Jim Law (Chester Boughton Hall).

NB to editor
Cheshire's 2007 fixtures:
MCCA Knockout Cup (Semi-finals) - July 1 v Devon (@ Chester Boughton Hall).

MCCA Three-day Championship - June 10-12 v Devon @ Chester Boughton Hall; June 24-26 v Berkshire @ Finchampstead; July 8-10 v Dorset @ Dean Park; July 22-24 v Wiltshire @ Alderley Edge; August 5-7 v Oxfordshire @ Banbury; August 19-21 v Shropshire @ Nantwich.

Resource Bank Inter-County 20/20 Knockout - July 12 v Lashings, Shropshire and Staffordshire @ Wellington, Shropshire.

Berry and Leech give Cheshire options

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE have named a strong 13-man squad ahead of their crucial Minor Counties Knockout Cup clash against Cumberland at Barrow Cricket Club on Sunday (June 3, 11.00am start).

Spinner Danny Woods is unavailable and is replaced in the squad by Hyde teammate Daniel Berry, while opening batsman Dave Fitzsimmons, also from Hyde, returns to the side after recovering from a knee injury. Oulton Park batsman Danny Leech is also included, the left-hander looking to make his first appearance in the 50-over a side competition this season.

The county have named 13 players for added cover, with skipper Andy Hall knowing victory would secure the 2005 Minor Counties Champions a place in this year's semi-finals on July 1st.

"It's a massive game for us," said Hall. "We've not done that great in the Knockout Cup these last few seasons, but we've won two games this year and have a great chance of getting into the semi-finals.

"We've gone with 13 players in case of any late injuries, and also because it gives us plenty options. We could play an extra spinner, seamer or batsman, and we've also got cover in the wicketkeeping department with Ismail (Dawood) playing."

Cheshire have beaten Northumberland and Shropshire this season, with their match against Herefordshire abandoned due to heavy rain.

But going into the final round of round-robin matches in Group A, only Cheshire (5pts) and Northumberland (4pts) can qualify for the semi-finals.

There are a few different permutations for both sides to progress on Sunday, but Hall knows victory would seal his county's place in the last 4. Victory in the semis would earn a glamour tie at Lords.

"We need to win, it's as simple as that. The players know what we've got to do...and they know what's at stake," added Hall.

"We can't really look as far as Lords, but that's the incentive and the players will have that in the back of their minds, just like I do."

Cheshire 13-man squad: capt - Andy Hall, wkt kpr - Matt Dawson (Bramhall); Ben Spendlove, Nathan Dumelow, Guy Emmett, Danny Leech (Oulton Park); Ismail Dawood (Urmston); Dave Fitzsimmons, James Duffy, Daniel Berry, Tom Young (Hyde); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Adam Syddall (Bowdon). Scorer: Jim Law (Chester Boughton Hall).

Cheshire's 2007 fixtures:
MCCA Knockout Cup (Final round-robin match) - June 3 v Cumberland @ Barrow.

MCCA Three-day Championship - June 10-12 v Devon @ Chester Boughton Hall; June 24-26 v Berkshire @ Finchampstead; July 8-10 v Dorset @ Dean Park; July 22-24 v Wiltshire @ Alderley Edge; August 5-7 v Oxfordshire @ Banbury; August 19-21 v Shropshire @ Nantwich.

Resource Bank Inter-County 20/20 Knockout - July 12 v Lashings, Shropshire and Staffordshire @ Wellington, Shropshire.

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