Cheshire boosted by Dawood signing

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE manager Sandy Scrimgeour has welcomed the arrival of former first-class player Ismail Dawood to the county fold.

The talented wicketkeeper and right-hand batsman is expected to make his debut for Cheshire against Northumberland in the MCCA Knockout Cup on Sunday 6 May.

And having played for Yorkshire, Glamorgan, Northants and Worcestershire, no wonder Scrimgeour was happy to reveal Dawood came highly-recommended.

"Ismail's a very good player, I hope he'll be very successful for us this season," said Scrimgeour.

"Recruiting any player with first-class experience is good. I think we've got a stronger squad that last year, which bodes well so long as we perform to the best of our ability."

Dawood, who played Minor Counties cricket for Herefordshire last season, is good mates with Cheshire skipper Andy Hall and has played with the Bramhall skipper on many occasions at representative level.

He has recently joined Urmston, newly promoted to The Right Move Abroad Cheshire County League ECB Premier Division, as a player/coach.

And although he won't keep wicket for either county or club, the 30-year-old is looking to impress with bat, and even the ball if he is given a chance.

"Ismail might bowl for us this season," revealed Urmston chairman Rob Arnold. "He's obviously a very good batsman, but we've already got a very good wicketkeeper, so he's looking to do well with the bat...and maybe the ball."

Dawood has a first-class century to his name and three half-centuries, enough proof that he is a player with plenty of talent.

"We lost six players from the team which won the Minor Counties Championship two years ago, so it was always going to be really hard to repeat that success last season," added Scrimgeour.

"But we've got some good young players and recruited well this season, which includes the signing of Ismail.

"There's going to be healthy competition for places and some players might miss out if they don't perform."

Cheshire's 2007 fixtures:

MCCA Knockout Cup (Round-robin matches) - May 6 v Northumberland @ Grappenhall; May 13 v Hereforshire @ Colwall; May 20 v Shropshire @ Christleton; 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.