Day 3 -Cheshire crowned Championship champions

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE have been crowned the new Minor Counties Championship champions after they defeated Northumberland by an innings and four runs today (Tuesday). 
This year's Western Division winners claimed the last three wickets they needed for victory in just over an hour and a half to complete a memorable title-double this term. 
Cheshire shared the 2005 Championship title with Suffolk after a drawn match in Ipswich and also in 2001 when they shared the crown with Lincolnshire. 
But the county's impressive victory this season, with almost a day and a half to spare, was their first outright crown since they beat Cambridgeshire in 1988 by 13 runs in a one-day final at Worcester.
Trailing by 117 runs overnight, Eastern Division champions Northumberland showed some resistance as they tried to make Cheshire bat again.
Their skipper Phil Nicholson (27 not out) and debutant Matthew Mutchall (25) shared in a last-wicket stand of 52, but by then the damage had been done by Cheshire's bowlers as they all chipped in with important wickets. 
Cheshire had always been in the driving seat in this year's four-day final thanks to a record-breaking opening stand of 317 between Danny Leech (202) and Warren Goodwin (153) saw the county post an imposing 472-6 to overhaul their opponent's 176 all out first innings effort.
Leech's 266-ball innings, which included 18 fours and seven sixes, was also a new county record, beating Bob Cook's 192 for Cheshire against Yorkshire 2nd XI in 1971 at Castleford.
Cheshire's 472 was also the county's highest ever first innings total, eclipsing their 438-5 against Berkshire last year at Chester Boughton Hall CC.
Former Derbyshire all-rounder Nathan Dumelow finished the match with nine wickets - taking him to an impressive 39 victims for the season in all competition - and fellow spinner Dan Woods claimed five victims as Northumberland then crumbled from 62 without loss to 179-7 at the end of the second day.
It didn't take long for Cheshire to polish off the tail, although No 9 batsman Graeme Bridge smashed a quickfire 58 from 39 balls.
Seamers Adam Syddall (four wickets) and Chris Finegan (two wickets) also played their part for Cheshire in a excellent win, which was achieved with over a day and half to spare.
"We've been fantastic this season," praised Cheshire skipper Andy Hall. "We've only lost one match and could have won a treble if we'd not lost to Suffolk in the Knockout Trophy final at Lords. It's been an amazing season, a real team effort."
Scorecard
Northumberland 1st innings: 176 all out, 51.5 overs (M Dale 37, N Dumelow 6-74, A Syddall 2-45, D Woods 2-12).
Cheshire 1st innings: 472-6, 90 overs (D Leech 202, W Goodwin 154, J Duffy 34).
Northumberland 2nd innings: 292 all out, 90.3 overs (G Bridge 58, N Dumelow 3-94, C Finegan 2-30, D Woods 3-86, A Syddall 2-74).

Day 2 - Record breakers Leech and Goodwin sparkle for Cheshire in Championship final
 
By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986) 
RECORD-breakers Danny Leech and Warren Goodwin had plenty to smile about yesterday as they pushed Cheshire towards victory over Northumberland with a day to spare in this year's Minor Counties Championship final.
The opening pair shared an amazing first-wicket stand of 317 at Jesmond Cricket Club as the Western Division winners continued their dominance over the Eastern Division champions in this season's four-day showcase.
Oulton Park left-hander Leech was finally out of the penultimate ball of the innings for an impressive 202 as Cheshire posted an imposing 472-6 having routed their opponents for 176 all out in their first innings.
It was Leech's highest ever score and also a highest ever individual score from any Cheshire batsman. The previous highest score from a Cheshire batsman came from Bob Cooke who, against Yorkshire 2nd XI, 
scored 192 in 1971 at Castleford.
Leech's 267-ball innings included seven sixes and 18 fours, while Goodwin weighed in with 154 from 196 balls, a knock which included three sixes and 25 fours. It was also the Chester Boughton Hall player's highest ever score.The pair's partnership of 317 beat the 
previous best of 277 set by former county skipper Ian Cockbain (117) and John Hitchmough (177) against Wales at Neston in 1989.
"Danny and Warren were fantastic, they batted brilliantly," praised Cheshire skipper Andy Hall. "I don't think anyone expected us to dominate the final like this, but that's what we've done."
Cheshire's first innings total was also a new record, eclipsing the previous highest of 438-5, achieved against Berkshire in 2006 
at Chester Boughton Hall.
Batting for a second time Northumberland slipped from 62-0 to 179-7 at the close of play, leaving Cheshire 117 runs ahead and with just three wickets left to claim a famous win. Spinners Nathan Dumelow, Danny Woods and seamer Chris Finegan 
claimed two scalps each, while left-arm paceman Adam Syddall also claimed a valuable scalp.
"We've not won yet, but I'm so delighted with how we've performed. The lads have been brilliant," added Hall, whose side shared the Championship title with Suffolk two years ago.
"If we do win victory will make up for our defeat in the Knockout Trophy final. We wanted to finish the season on a winning note - and that looks like what we're going to do." 
Scorecard:
Northumberland 1st innings: 176 all out, 51.5 overs (M Dale 37, N Dumelow 6-74, A Syddall 2-45, D Woods 2-12)
Cheshire 1st innings: 472-6, 90 overs (D Leech 202, W Goodwin 154, J Duffy 34)
Northumberland 2nd innings: 179-7, 55.2 overs (N Dumelow 2-34, C Finegan 2-30, D Woods 2-57, A Syddall 1-50).

Day 1 - Goodwin and Dumelow star for impressive Cheshire
 
By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC press officer 07813 859986)
CHESTER Boughton Hall all-rounder Warren Goodwin starred as Cheshire dominated the first day of this season's four-day Minor Counties Championship against Northumberland yesterday.
Goodwin finished the day unbeaten and four runs short of his debut century as Cheshire closed on 169-0 having routed their hosts for 176 at Jesmond Cricket Club.
And with nearly 46 overs left in their allotted 90 first innings overs, the Western Division champions have the perfect platform in which to bat the Eastern Division champions out of the game.
Goodwin's fluent 96 included a staggering 19 boundaries, with 80 of his runs coming from fours and sixes.
Fellow opener Danny Leech also remained unbeaten at the close after a patient 53, an innings which included five fours and one six.
Goodwin's half-century came off just 87 balls in 87 minutes, while in contrast Leech battled his way to a well-deserved half-century in 116 balls and 134 minutes.
Earlier, former Derbyshire all-rounder Nathan Dumelow impressed with a 6-74 return from 20.5 overs as Northumberland crumbled from 49-0 to 176 all out, losing their ten wickets for just 127 runs.
Bad light eventually saw the players finish early, but Cheshire skipper Andy Hall was in no doubts that his side had dominated proceedings.
"You couldn't have really asked for a better start to the final," said Hall. "Northumberland had a good start and were flying at 45-0 from 10 overs, but we bowled and fielded excellently.
"Nathan was spinning the ball and Adam Syddall and Danny Woods bowled well to compliment him."
Left-arm seamer Syddall (2-45) and left-arm spinner Woods (2-12) also impressed with the ball as their opponents lost regular wickets.
At 49-0 the home team slumped to 68-4, 116-2 and 150-8 as Cheshire took control.
"We've just got to keeping going and get as many runs as we can and leave Northumberland with a big score to chase," added Hall.
Scorecard:
Northumberland 1st innings: 176 all out, 51.5 overs (M Dale 37, N Dumelow 6-74, A Syddall 2-45, D Woods 2-12)
Cheshire 1st innings: 169-0, 43.1 overs (W Goodwin 96 not out, D Leech 53 not out).