Cheshire heading to Lords

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE are heading to Lords for this year's MCCA Knockout Trophy final after a thrilling semi-final victory against Devon yesterday.

Unbeaten all season, Cheshire snatched a 12-run victory at Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club - and now meet Suffolk in this year's 50-over showcase on Monday 27th August.

Having won the toss and batted first, Cheshire posted an imposing 270-7 from their allotted overs.

All-rounder Nathan Dumelow starred with the bat, crashing 90 from just 74 balls, an innings which included 5 sixes and 9 fours.

Former Derbyshire team Chris Bassano (48) and ex-Yorkshire batsman Ismail Dawood (45) also starred with the willow.

Bassano - who shared a valuable opening stand of 55 with Danny Leech - hit one six and 6 fours in his 60-ball innings, while Dawood hit 6 fours in his important 65-ball knock.

At 167-4 Cheshire still had plenty to do, but a fifth-wicket partnership of 90 runs between Dumelow and James Duffy took the hosts close to 250.

In reply Devon, the defending Minor Counties champions, were 123-3 at the halfway stage, but two quick q wickets swung the game in Cheshire's favour as Devon stumbled to 167-6.

However, a seventh-wicket partnership of 52 between David Lye and Trevor Anning saw the visitors battle to 219-7.

But in a dramatic finish Dumelow (4-56) and seamer Adam Syddall (4-36) helped dismiss Devon for 258 with one ball remaining.

"I'm delighted for all the lads," beamed team manager Sandy Scrimgeour. "It was a great performance, all the players can't wait to play at Lords."

Cheshire shared the 2005 Minor Counties Championship title with Suffolk, their opponents in this year's showcase.

"Suffolk are a strong side, but we're playing good cricket. I hope the winning run continues, but we can't afford to get carried away. There's still a lot of hard work left to do," added Scrimgeour.

Scorecard:
Cheshire: 270-7, 50 overs (N Dumelow 90, C Bassano 48, I Dawood 45)
Devon: 258 all out, 49.5 overs (N Hancock 62, T Anning 44, R Dawson 34, N Dumelow 4-56, A Syddall 4-36).

Result: Cheshire won by 12 runs.

Cheshire team: Nathan Dumelow (captain), Danny Leech, Chris Bassano, Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park); James Duffy, Danny Woods (Hyde); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Adam Syddall (Bowdon); Chris Finegan (Neston); Ismail Dawood (Urmston); Matthew Dawson (Bramhall). 12th man: Chris Davies (Oxton).

Cheshire's remaining 2007 MCCA three-day Championship fixtures: August 5-7 v Oxfordshire @ Banbury; August 19-21 v Shropshire @ Nantwich.

MCCA 50-over Knockout Trophy - final (August 27 @ Lords): v Suffolk.

Skipper Hall to miss semi-final showdown

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE skipper Andy Hall will not play in tomorrow's (Sunday) MCCA Knockout Trophy semi-final clash with Devon at Chester Boughton Hall.

The county captain has been ruled out after failing a late fitness test on his fractured right wrist.

Hall, who has been in fine form this season with the bat, hoped he would be able to take his metal splint off and play in the much-anticipated 50-over contest, but has been advised by a specialist to rest for at least another fortnight so he bone heals.

"I'm definitely not going to be playing on Sunday," confirmed Hall, who knows victory for Cheshire would earn then a meeting with Suffolk in this year's showcase final at Lords.

"I'm really disappointed because it's the biggest game of our season so far, but I don't want to cause further damage by playing and then possibly miss the rest of the season. There's a lot more big matches - and I want to play in those.

"I was told it usually takes four weeks for an injury like this to heal, which takes me up to next weekend's Championship game with Oxford.

"I'm probably an outside chance for that, but even though I'm not playing at the moment I've got every confidence that the team will keep winning."

Cheshire have not lost a game this season in the Knockout Trophy and Championship competitions.

And with a strong 16-17 man county squad flourishing, Hall believes the 2005 Minor Counties champions have every chance of making it their best season yet under his leadership.

Former Derbyshire all-rounder Nathan Dumelow will captain the side again against Devon in Hall's absence. Dumelow starred as captain when Cheshire hammered Wiltshire in the Championship at Alderley Edge earlier this week, finishing with impressive match figures of 11-40.

"Nathan's a good cricketer, he's got a good cricket brain. I've got no worries about him captaining the team," added Hall.

"I'll be watching the match, but I wish the all the players the best of luck. It would be great to get to Lords."

Cheshire (13 man squad): Nathan Dumelow (captain), Danny Leech, Chris Bassano, Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park); James Duffy, Danny Woods (Hyde); Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Adam Syddall (Bowdon); Oliver Sadler (Nantwich); Chris Finegan (Neston); Ismail Dawood (Urmston); Matthew Dawson (Bramhall). 12th man: Chris Davies (Oxton).

Cheshire's remaining 2007 MCCA three-day Championship fixtures: August 5-7 v Oxfordshire @ Banbury; August 19-21 v Shropshire @ Nantwich.

Hall facing semi-final fitness test

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE skipper Andy Hall is facing a late fitness test ahead of Sunday's mouth-watering semi-final showdown with Devon in the MCCA Knockout Cup at Chester Boughton Hall.

The county's influential captain suffered a suspected fractured right wrist on the final day of Cheshire's impressive Championship win over Dorset last week.

But despite having been forced to wear a metal splint to protect his wrist, Hall is hopeful that if he doesn't have a cast fitted, then he stands a chance of playing in what, is arguably, Cheshire's biggest match of the season so far.

"These are the games you want to play in, you want to play in the 'big' matches," said Hall.

"I'm going to see a specialist on Thursday to see the extent of the damage. I'm just hoping that I'll be fit and I'll be given the all clear to play."

Cheshire have named a 14-man squad as cover for the injured Hall, with Nantwich batsman Oliver Sadler called into the side having also filled in the skipper in their three-day game with Wiltshire at Alderley Edge earlier this week.

Sadler recently starred for Oxfordshire, for whom he is captain, in the annual University Varsity match against Cambridgeshire, scoring a half-century and taking three wickets.

And Hall has no worries that if he is not fit, then opener Sadler will do a good job as his replacement.

"Ollie's a good player, he's been scoring runs and is in decent form," added Hall.

"If I end up not playing then I'll be there supporting the lads - and if we win the race will be on to play at Lords."

Chester Boughton Hall batsman Warren Goodwin is again given the chance to shine on his home ground, while former first-class players Nathan Dumelow, Ben Spendlove, Chris Bassano and Ismail Dawood give Cheshire plenty of strength in depth.

Cheshire (14 man squad): Andy Hall (captain), Matthew Dawson (Bramhall); Nathan Dumelow, Danny Leech, Chris Bassano, Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park); James Duffy, Danny Woods (Hyde); Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Adam Syddall (Bowdon); Oliver Sadler (Nantwich); Chris Finegan (Neston); Ismail Dawood (Urmston). 12th man: Chris Davies (Oxton).

Cheshire's remaining 2007 MCCA three-day Championship fixtures: August 5-7 v Oxfordshire @ Banbury; August 19-21 v Shropshire @ Nantwich.

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