CHESHIRE CRUISE TO IMPORTANT OXFORDSHIRE WIN

By Neil Goulding

CHESHIRE have laid the perfect platform to win the Minor Counties Championship Western Division after an impressive 125-runs victory over Oxfordshire in their three-day clash at Nantwich Cricket Club.

Andy Hall's team had reduced the visitors to 178-5 overnight chasing a challenging target of 365 for victory at Whitehouse Lane.

But despite seeing their hosts grind their way to 230-6, Cheshire dug deep to clinch the last four wickets they needed for victory at the expense of just ten runs.

Dave Pennett, the former Nottinghamshire pace ace, led the way with 5-45 from 19.4 overs, while seamer Jason Whittaker (2-32), former England and Lancashire leg-spinning all-rounder Chris Schofield (2-24) and left-arm spinner Robin Fisher (1-16) were also in the wickets.

Pennett was the pick of the bowlers and finished with match figures of 10-116 following his 5-71 return in the first innings, while Whittaker also played a key role with match figures of 6-104.

The J W Lees Cheshire side also starred with the bat in this match, former Derbyshire all rounder Nathan Dumelow (107 & 44) and skipper Hall (106) with centuries to their name, while debutant Nick Cantello made a spirited 82, enhancing his claims for a place in the county's final match.

Victory for Cheshire gave them 23 points and if they win their last match, against Wales at Chester Boughton Hall (21-23 August) the Western Division title could be won.

"That was a great victory for us," said a delighted Hall.

"We bowled excellently in both innings, especially Dave Pennett. Dave was fantastic and got key wickets for us.

"It was also nice to see Nick Cantello get runs on debut and myself and Nathan both score centuries.

"We needed to win this game to put pressure on Berkshire ahead of the last game of the season.

"All we can do now is win against Wales and hope Berkshire slip up. We've got a great chance of winning the title this year."

Indeed, a view echoed by Cheshire's chairman of cricket Gerry Hardstaff, who added: "That victory has set us up perfectly for the last match of the season.

"It was a very pleasing performance and we can now look forward to the last game and hopefully win.

"There have been some excellent performances in this game, but as a team we are playing with a lot of confidence."

Hardstaff and Hall have a few selection headaches ahead of the Wales encounter, with opening batsman Danny Leech expected to be available and promising youngster Warren Goodwin, who starred on debut, also in line for a recall having missed this match.

Cantello, who impressed with the bat in the first innings, and Hyde's James Duffy are also pushing for a place in the side, healthy competition for a final concerted push for the title.

"There's a few players coming back, which makes picking the side a little bit difficult," said Hardstaff.

"I'd rather have it like that though. Competition for places is good, especially with such a crucial game in front of us."

Scorecard

Minor Counties Championship - Western Division (Nantwich Cricket Club)

Cheshire 1st innings: 313 all out (N Dumelow 107, N Cantello 82, M Currie 34, C Schofield 30, N Arnold 5-65, P Evans 4-59).

FOW: 39, 39, 70, 286, 297, 310, 311, 311, 313, 313.

Oxfordshire 1st innings: (89-6 overnight) 176 all out (D Pennett 5-71, J Whittaker 4-72, S Hole 66).

FOW: 23, 23, 33, 41, 55, 69, 100, 106, 111, 176.

Cheshire 2nd innings: 227 all out (A Hall 106, N Dumelow 44, J Hewitt 5-41, K Arnold 3-36).

FOW: 5, 19, 80, 86, 179, 205, 212, 227, 227, 227.

Oxfordshire 2nd innings: (overnight 178-5) 240 all out (D Pennett 5-45, J Whittaker 2-32, C Schofield 2-24, C Knightley 80, I Hawtin 40).

FOW: 14, 36, 36, 56, 104, 204, 230, 230, 230, 240.

Result: Cheshire won by 125 runs (Cheshire 23pts, Oxfordshire 5pts).

Cheshire team: Andy Hall (captain, Bramhall); Nathan Dumelow, Danny Jones (Oulton Park); Mark Currie (Alderley Edge); Chris Schofield (Littleborough); Steve Ogilby, Robin Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Dave Pennett (Harrogate); Nick Cantello (Heaton Mersey); Matthew Dawson (Milnrow). 12th man: Adam Wildig (Alderley Edge).

 

CHESHIRE STILL IN DRIVING SEAT

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, mobile 07931 376811)

CHESHIRE captain Andy Hall smashed a brilliant century to keep his team in the driving seat after the second day of their Minor Counties Championship Western Division clash at Nantwich Cricket Club.

Hall hit nine 4s and one giant straight six as the home side set their opponents a daunting target of 365 to win having been behind for most of the match.

Having been 89-6 overnight, Cheshire reduced Oxfordshire to 111-9, but a last-wicket stand of 65 between number nine batsman Stuart Hole (66) and number 11 Keith Arnold (not out 0) saw the visitors trail the hosts by 137 runs after the first innings.

But then it was the turn of Hall and Nathan Dumelow (44), who went to work with the willow and shared an important partnership of 93, similar to their impressive partnership in the first innings, and Cheshire were able to post 227 all out on a tricky wicket.

Cheshire's last five wickets fell for 22, but a target of 365 was a difficult proposition for Oxfordshire's batsmen.

And so it proved as the visitors slipped to 176-5 in the remaining 46 overs of they day.

Pennett and Whittaker again did the damage with the ball with two wickets each, while left-arm spinner Robin Fisher also chipped in with a valuable scalp.

Cheshire are now left requiring five wickets for a famous victory which, if they achieve it, will give them a great chance of challenging for the Western Division title.

Oxfordshire, on the other hand, require exactly 190 to win, although though Cheshire will have different ideas.

"We're still in the driving seat, but the final morning session will be crucial," said Gerry Hardstaff, Cheshire's chairman of cricket.

"It was another good day for us, but it's important we get some early wickets so Oxfordshire don't stand any chance of winning this game.

"Andy Hall's century was a brilliant innings in the context of the game. It was difficult to bat out there, but although we lost quick wickets at the end a target of 365 is a big ask."

Cheshire 1st innings: 313 all out (N Dumelow 107, N Cantello 82, M Currie 34, C Schofield 30, N Arnold 5-65, P Evans 4-59).

FOW: 39, 39, 70, 286, 297, 310, 311, 311, 313, 313.

Oxfordshire 1st innings: (89-6 overnight) 176 all out (D Pennett 5-71, J Whittaker 4-72, S Hole 66).

FOW: 23, 23, 33, 41, 55, 69, 100, 106, 111, 176.

Cheshire 2nd innings: 227 all out (A Hall 106, N Dumelow 44, J Hewitt 5-41, K Arnold 3-36).

FOW: 5, 19, 80, 86, 179, 205, 212, 227, 227, 227.

Cheshire team: Andy Hall (captain, Bramhall); Nathan Dumelow, Danny Jones (Oulton Park); Mark Currie (Alderley Edge); Chris Schofield (Littleborough); Steve Ogilby, Robin Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Dave Pennett (Harrogate); Nick Cantello (Heaton Mersey); Matthew Dawson (Milnrow). 12th man: Guy Emmett (Bowdon).

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CHESHIRE TAKE EARLY STRANGLEHOLD

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, mobile 07931 376811)

CHESHIRE took a commanding stance on the opening day of their Minor Counties Championship clash with Oxfordshire at Nantwich Cricket Club after a fine batting and bowling display.

Andy Hall’s side were under pressure at 90-3 until a partnership of 196 from Nathan Dumelow (107) and debutant Nick Cantello (82) put the hosts back on track for a big total.

Although wickets fell cheaply after tea Cheshire still managed to post 313, bowled out with two balls of their allotted 90 overs.

Then it was the turn of Dave Pennett and Jason Whittaker to do the damage with the ball.

Former Nottinghamshire ace Pennett weighted in with 3-47 from 10 overs, while seamer Whittaker took 2-36 as Oxfordshire slumped to 89-6 from the remaining 20 overs of the first day’s play.

Cheshire skipper Hall was understandably delighted with his side’s performance, especially in the context of the Western Division title race.

If Cheshire do win this three day contest, the first ever to be staged at Nantwich, then they will have a great chance of winning the league title.

“Nathan and Nick batted excellently and got us out of a tricky situation, and then Dave and Jason did us a great job,” said Hall.

“To get six wickets in the last session of the day has put us in a very strong position.

“Hopefully we can get some early wickets today (Monday) and give ourselves a big lead.”

Dumelow’s century was the highlight of the day, an innings which included 15 boundaries and four huge sixes.

Cantello, meanwhile, a replacement for promising youngster Warren Goodwin out through injury, also hit 15 boundaries, battling hard after a tough start to star on debut.

Cheshire were also without opener Danny Leech. He was replaced by Milnrow's and Cheshire 2nd team wicketkeeper/batsman Matthew Dawson.

Cheshire 1st innings: 313 all out, 89.4 overs (N Dumelow 107, N Cantello 82, M Currie 34, C Schofield 30, K Arnold 5-65, P Evans 4-59).

 

FOW: 39, 39, 70, 286, 297, 310, 311, 311, 313, 313.

 

Oxfordshire 1st innings: 89-6, 20 overs (D Pennett 3-47, J Whittaker 2-36).

 

FOW: 23, 23, 33, 41, 55, 69

 

Points so far: Cheshire 5pts, Oxfordshire 3pts

 

Cheshire team: Andy Hall (captain, Bramhall); Nathan Dumelow, Danny Jones (Oulton Park); Mark Currie (Alderley Edge); Chris Schofield (Littleborough); Steve Ogilby, Robin Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Dave Pennett (Harrogate); Nick Cantello (Heaton Mersey); Matthew Dawson (Milnrow). 12th man: Guy Emmett (Bowdon).

 

CHESHIRE NAME UNCHANGED TEAM FOR OXFORDSHIRE CLASH

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, mobile 07931 376811)

CHESHIRE have named a strong team ahead of what could prove to be a crucial home clash with Oxfordshire at Nantwich Cricket Club, which runs from Sunday (7-9 August).

Andy Hall's team have given themselves a great chance to win the Minor Counties Championship Western Division this season - and victory over Oxfordshire would enhance them claims with one league game left in the season.

Cheshire are currently joint top of the table with Berkshire, the teams locked on 67 points after two wins and two draws this term.

And with Wales still to play in their last game (21-23 August), Hall knows a victory would be the perfect tonic and pressure-builder on Berkshire come the final three days of the domestic season.

"If we can beat Oxfordshire that sets up for what could be a Championship decider in our last match of the season when we play Wales," said Hall.

"We've had a very good season, but it's important we don't falter at such a late stage.

"It's a great chance for us to beat Oxfordshire and hope results go our way. If we draw or lose then the last game of the season might be irrelevant.

"We don't want to be in that situation. We are looking for a win and I'm glad we've got a full strength side at our disposal."

Indeed, Cheshire have former England and Lancashire leg-spinning all-rounder Chris Schofield amongst their ranks, as well as former Lancashire batsman Mark Currie.

Chester Boughton Hall trio Warren Goodwin, Robin Fisher and Stephen Ogilby all get the chance to shine at Whitehouse Lane, for the first three-day county match to be staged at Nantwich this season.

Oulton Park trio Danny Leech, former Derbyshire all-rounder Nathan Dumelow and Danny Jones have also been selected, especially after their fine form which has helped their club top the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League ECB Premier Division this season.

Former Oulton Park all-rounder Jason Whittaker is in the side, looking to continue his excellent form with bat and ball, while ex-Nottinghamshire pace ace Dave Pennett completes the Cheshire line-up.

"We've selected the same side which beat Wiltshire in our last match," said Gerry Hardstaff, the Cheshire chairman of cricket.

"There were a few people unavailable for this game anyway, but we didn't want to change a winning side.

"A win against Oxfordshire would really leave us in a strong position going into the last game of the season."

Cheshire team: Andy Hall (captain, Bramhall); Danny Leech, Nathan Dumelow, Danny Jones (Oulton Park); Mark Currie (Alderley Edge); Chris Schofield (Littleborough); Warren Goodwin, Steve Ogilby, Robin Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Dave Pennett (Harrogate). 12th man: to be announced.

- Sunday start 12noon, followed by 11am each day thereafter.

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