CHESHIRE'S TITLE CHALLENGE DENTED BY DEVON
By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Media Officer, mobile 07813 859986)

Photo courtesy of Derrick Hastings
Pictured: Cheshire spinner Danny Woods impressed with the ball, but he couldn't prevent his county from being beaten by Devon.

CHESHIRE's MCCA Championship title challenge is hanging by a thread after their second successive defeat in the three-day format of the game.
The county started the season with an impressive victory away to Herefordshire in their opening match in the Western Division, but today (Tuesday) were agonizingly beaten by three wickets by Devon at Torquay Cricket Club.
It followed Cheshire's six-wicket defeat to Cornwall in their last county match at the end of last month.
A low-scoring match nearly went the distance despite Devon only needing 91 to win on the final day.
Cheshire heaped the pressure on their opponents and took seven wickets in a dramatic finish, but the hosts held on to clinch a valuable win.
And now, with just three Championship matches remaining, Cheshire know their hopes of winning the Western Division title have all but disappeared.
Group leaders Berkshire won for a third match in a row and now hold a healthy advantage at the summit at the halfway stage in the season.
"It's not impossible, but it's going to take a lot for us to catch Berkshire now, we're pretty much out of the race," admitted a disappointed Cheshire skipper Andy Hall.
"Our batting let us down and again. We just didn't score enough runs unfortunately and that's cost us for a second match in a row.
"We did really well to keep Devon to a slender first innings lead, but then we fell away again with the bat and didn't leave them enough runs to chase.
"It's frustrating because we all know we can play better than that."
Having won the toss Hall chose to bat first, but regular wickets meant the visitors were always on the back foot.
At 96-5 Cheshire were struggling and they did well to post 191 all out from 62.5 overs.
All-rounder Richard Logan top-scored with 37, while vice captain James Duffy with 33 was the only other batsman to make an impact or sorts.
In fact the biggest partnership in Cheshire's first innings was 36, proof of their problems in trying to post a challenging a first innings total.
Trevor Anning was the pick of the Devon bowlers with an excellent 4-28 return from 19 overs, while David Lye chipped in with 3-15 from 6.5 overs.
Devon were cruising at 96-0 until they lost their first wicket and the floodgates opened as Cheshire picked up six wickets for 98 runs.
Opener Rob Holman top-scored with 64 from 167 balls, while fellow opener Matt Thompson chipped in with 44 from 94 balls.
Lye contributed 37 and skipper Neil Hancock 26, but Devon were bowled out for 237 in 85 overs, losing their ten wickets for 141 runs.
Spinner Danny Woods did the damage with a 3-52 return from 24 economic overs, while Logan claimed two scalps and other wickets were spread.
But with a solid start needed before the final day's play, Cheshire lost both of their openers and found themselves 29-2 from 20 overs at the close, still 19 runs behind from first innings.
Richard Wilkinson and Lee Dixon started well, but when they fell for a top-score 32 and 24 respectively Cheshire slumped from 75-2 to 136 all out having lost their last eight wickets for just 61 runs.
Only three of the last seven batsman managed double figures as spinner Christopher Bradley, who was wicketless in Cheshire's first innings, returned career-best figures of 6-31 from 12.3 overs to leave the visitors with a lead of just 91.
But Cheshire battled hard and thanks to three early wickets from Adam Syddall had the hosts tottering at 44-4, 67-5 and then 85-6.
Another wicket was to fall but a battling 38 from 128 balls from opener Holman proved crucial as Devon limped over the winning line.
"If we'd have got 20-30 runs more who knows what would have happened," added Hall. "But it's always going to take something really special to win a match when the opposition only need 91 to win.
Scorecard (Cheshire won the toss and batted first):
Cheshire 1st innings: 191 all out, 62.5 overs (Logan 37, Duffy 33, Anning 4-28, Lye 3-15)
Devon 1st innings: 237 all out, 85 overs (Holman 64, Thompson 44, Lye 37, Woods 3-52)
Cheshire 2nd innings: 136 all out, 50.3 overs (Wilkinson 32, Bradley 6-31)
Devon 2nd innings: 93-7, 42.5 overs (Holman 38, Syddall 3-33)

Result: Devon (22pts) beat Cheshire (5pts) by three wickets

Cheshire's team v Devon:
Andy Hall (captain, Marple)
Jonny Kettle (wicketkeeper, Nantwich)
Lee Dixon (Oxton)
James Duffy (Hyde)
Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall)
Richard Logan (Chichester)
Danny Berry (Hyde)
Adam Syddall (Urmston)
Jimmy Warrington (Nantwich)
Richard Wilkinson (Barnt Green)
Danny Woods (York)
12th man: Ross Dixon (Oxton)
Scorer: Janet Herbert

CHESHIRE UNCHANGED FOR DEVON CHALLENGE
By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Media Officer, mobile 07813 859986)


Pictured: Cheshire all-rounder Richard Logan will be looking to continue his solid form this season (Photo courtesy of Derrick Hastings)

CHESHIRE have resisted the temptation to change their team for their third MCCA Championship outing of the season, away to Devon at Torquay Cricket Club (10-12 July).
The six-times champions slipped to a disappointing six-wicket defeat in their last three-day match at Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club.
And Cheshire skipper Andy Hall knows his side must bounce back immediately having slipped to fourth in the current Western Division standings.
Berkshire are 21 points clear of Cheshire who, following their first defeat to Cornwall in 25 matches and since 1983, are now fifth in the table.
Devon, champions themselves an impressive seven times, are second and 14 points off top spot.
"It's a game we really want to win," revealed Hall. "We know if we can beat Devon then we'll be right back in the mix.
"It's a short season and you can't afford many slip ups. We've had ours and we know we've got to bounce back and start performing to our ability.
"We were all disappointed with our defeat to Cornwall, but we had opportunities in that match and didn't take them.
"It would have been really easy to have made lots of changes to the team, but everyone has got another chance to improve from that performance.
"There were a couple of bright sparks from the match with Jonny Kettle getting a brilliant hundred and James Warrington taking six wickets, but we all need to be firing and contributing."
Cheshire and Devon have had some exciting tussles down the years with the host county narrowly ahead in head-to-head meetings with seven to Cheshire's six, with the rest of the those 25 encounters drawn.
"Devon have definitely been one of our closest rivals over the last few years, they're a very strong county," added Hall.
"They've got a lot of good players like Neil Hancock, Rob Dawson, Trevor Anning to name a few. It's going to be a good test for us, but one which I hope we'll be ready for.
"If you want to win this division, then you've got to beat the best. That's what we're going to try and do."
Devon CCC Match Preview

Cheshire's team v Devon:
Andy Hall (captain, Marple)
Jonny Kettle (wicketkeeper, Nantwich)
Lee Dixon (Oxton)
James Duffy (Hyde)
Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall)
Richard Logan (Chichester)
Danny Berry (Hyde)
Adam Syddall (Urmston)
Jimmy Warrington (Nantwich)
Richard Wilkinson (Barnt Green)
Danny Woods (York)
12th man: Ross Dixon (Oxton)
Scorer: Janet Herbert