Leech looking at dream Lords date

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE opener Danny Leech is relishing Sunday’s Knockout Trophy 50-over semi-final clash with Devon at Chester Boughton Hall (12noon start).

The Oulton Park left-hander has been named as one of five Park players in Cheshire’s strong 13-man squad.

Fellow club mates Nathan Dumelow, Chris Bassano and Ben Spendlove (all formerly of Derbyshire) and Guy Emmett – are also selected as Cheshire bid to earn themselves a glamour final showdown at Lords next month (27th August).

And with the chance of playing at Lords up for grabs, no wonder Leech is gunning to shine at Chester, a ground where he set a new county record just over a fortnight ago.

When Cheshire beat Devon in the Minor Counties Championship Western Division at Chester earlier this month, Leech crashed a superb 119 in a record 287 stand with county skipper Andy Hall.

Buoyed by that performance, no wonder Leech is looking to make his mark again.

“It would be fantastic to play at Lords, it’s the home of cricket and I’m sure most players want to play there,” said Leech.

“Personally, I’ve not been involved in a better Cheshire squad. We’re looking really strong this season – and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.

“The atmosphere is great. It’s the first time in a few years we’ve got a good set of squad players to compete in the one-day and three-day formats of the game.

“I think we’ve realised we need more depth if you’re going to win something.”

And Leech expects a hard-fought battle on Sunday as Devon – last year’s Minor Counties champions – look to exact revenge for their nine-wicket Championship defeat (their first for eight months).

“They’ll be a reaction from Devon, they’ll come at us hard,” added Leech.

“They’ve always been one of the strongest sides in Minor Counties cricket, they’re used to winning.

“But it’s up to us to get on top of them and if we play well, like we did in the three-day game, then we know we can beat them.”

Leech has yet to learn whether he will be in the starting line-up, with two players set to miss out in the 13-man squad.

But the popular batsman has an extra incentive to play at Lords – and succeed there.

Only last year Park chairman Roy Ramsbottom sadly passed away due to illness. A respected figure in Cheshire cricket, he was a member of the MCC and would regularly be found at Lords watching cricket.

“Roy was a big fan of Lords and did so much for Cheshire cricket, it would be great if we won there for him. Especially for me and the Oulton Park lads, it would mean a lot to us,” said Leech.

As well as starring as county level, Leech also believes Park have a good chance of defending their ECB Premier Division title in The Right Move Abroad Cheshire County League – especially with Dumelow, Spendlove and Bassano passing off their wealth of experience on the younger and olders players alike.

“|’ve already learnt so much from playing and being around these guys,” he said.

“I’ve definitely improved and the guys coming to the club has been great. You get a re-assurance playing with them and lots of things have improved, from preparation, training, looking after your kit....and loads more things. They’ve brought a fresh perspective to the club - and also to the Cheshire team.”