Cheshire's hopes of progressing in the MCCA Knockout Cup have been all but dashed by the dismal weekend weather.

They collected just one point from a frustrating trip to Northumberland after posting a useful target when batting first.

Cheshire have now finished their four games in the first stage of the competition, winning one, losing one and having two fixture washed out.

"We've got four points, all the other four sides have three points but a game left," explained skipper Andy Hall.

"If all the other matches don't get finished, there's a possibility we could go through on a faster run rate.

"But we're not holding our breath. It's just a pity the matches aren't taking place this coming weekend because it always rains on Bank Holiday," said Hall ruefully.

"It's disappointing because we fancied our chances of getting a positive result at Tynemouth."

Having beaten Hereforshire in their previous outing, Cheshire looked to continue their good form when batting first in tricky conditions.

They managed to complete 50 overs with Oulton Park's Danny Leech making 51 for the JW Lees-sponsored outfit.

Team mate Ben Spendlove chipped in with 38 while Jason Duffy from Hyde made a rapid 29 from 18 deliveries. Nick Cantello (Bramhall) also contributed 29.

"A few got in but weren't able to build a bigger innings," added Hall. "But we still thought it was a good enough total to defend."

Unfortunately for the visitors they never had a change to put the theory to the test.

Northumberland's batsmen didn't get to the crease and the match was eventually abandoned.

Cheshire's next scheduled outing is the start of their Minor Counties Championship defence. They have a three day meeting with Berkshire at Chester from June 11-13.


Cheshire 235-7

AJ Hall bowled Rutherford 18
DN Leech ct Simpson b Gale 51
BL Spendlove ct Gale b Windows 38
NRC Dumelow ct Smith b Simpson 22
N Cantello ct Parker b Rutherford 29
J Duffy ct Worthy b Smith 29
K Waterhouse b Rutherford 1
JP Whitaker not out 14
MR Dawson not out 11
BJ Cutbill DNB
RW Fisher DNB

Extras 22

FOW: 1-28, 2-115, 3-140, 4-154, 5-202, 6-209, 7-209.


G Stewart 10-1-45-0
DJ Rutherford 10-4-23-3
C Simpson 10-1-54-1
JB Windows 10-1-43-1
I Pattison 3-0-18-0
S Gale 5-0-29-1
A Smith 2-0-14-1


By Neil Goulding

CHESHIRE have been forced to change their side ahead of Sunday's last MCCA Knockout Cup group clash with Northumberland.

Needing a victory to have any chance of qualifying for the next round and possibly a dream final at Lords, the county will be without promising seam bowler Tom Youngs.

The Hyde left-armer has been advised by a medical specialist to rest for the next fortnight because of troublesome shin-splints, an old injury which has resurfaced.

That means experienced campaigner Jason Whittaker is able to return to the fray.

The Bolton school teacher missed Cheshire's 12-runs victory over Herefordshire on Sunday, so is eager to impress on his return.

"It will good to have Jason back," said Cheshire skipper Andy Hall.

"It's unfortunate for Tom, but hopefully he recovers quickly. He'll be back and feature for the team this season.

"But this is a good chance for Jason to come back in and do well. He's been in the team for a number of years now and is a solid all-rounder."

Hall also revealed the JW Lees-sponsored Cheshire side's first victory of the season has been a welcome confidence-booster ahead of Sunday's clash with Northumberland.

"It's always important to get that first win under your belt," added Hall.

"Everyone was delighted with our win and I want us to build on that for the rest of the season, but particularly this game.

"We know we've got to beat Northumberland to stand any chance of qualifying for the next round, so we are going to give it everything we've got.

"All we can do is win and hope other results go our way. If we can get to the next round then I'm confident we can get to the final this year. We need the team to rally round and look for another victory."

Cheshire team v Northumberland (11.00am start): Andy Hall (capt), Matt Dawson (wkt kpr), Barney Cutbill, Nick Cantello (Bramhall); Danny Leech, Ben Spendlove, Nathan Dumelow, (Oulton Park); James Duffy (Hyde); Kevin Waterhouse (Bollington); Robin Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall); Jason Whittaker (Wishaw). 12th man: Chris Davies (Oxton). Scorer: Jim Law (Chester Boughton Hall).

Remaining 2006/7 fixture schedule - MCCA Knocout Cup: v Northumberland (21 May @ Tynemouth). Minor Counties three-day Championship: v Berkshire (11-13 June @ Chester Boughton Hall), v Cornwall (25-27 June @ Cornwall), v Dorset (9-11 July @ Nantwich), v Herefordshire (23-25 July @ Alderley Edge), v Wales (6-8 August @ tbc) and v Shropshire (20-22 August @ Whitchurch).