CENTURION DUMELOW STARS AS CHESHIRE STAY TOP OF WESTERN DIVISION
By Neil Goulding

DEFENDING Minor Counties champions Cheshire are flying high at the top of the Championship Western Division despite a rain-affected draw with Oxfordshire.
Last year's winners, who have already beaten Wiltshire and Wales Minor Counties this season, shaded the draw points 8-7 after heavy rain frustrated both counties at Alderley Edge Cricket Club.
But with fellow title-chasers Berkshire and Cornwall both beaten, and Shropshire also held to a draw, Cheshire are now 18 points clear at the summit at the halfway stage of the season.
With no play on the second day because of heavy rain a result was always going to be difficult. Cheshire resumed on 187-6 from 44 overs on the third and final day's play. Maximum points were the priority - and they got them thanks to stand-in skipper Nathan Dumelow and wicketkeeper Matthew Dawson.
Dumelow, unbeaten on 80 from the first day, added a further 70 runs before he was finally out for a superb 150. The former Derbyshire all-rounder's 155-ball innings included four sixes and 22 fours.
Alongside Dawson the pair shared in a spirited sixth wicket partnership of 138 before Dumelow was finally out with the score on 286.
Cheshire still needed a further 39 runs to claim full batting points. Dawson (56 not out) - his second half-century in as many matches - and Daniel Berry (15 not out) made sure of the points with an important unbeaten seventh wicket partnership of 45.
The hosts then declared on 331-7, having only used 27 overs to add a further 144 runs.
Oxfordshire batted for two overs to reach 3-0 before rain brought a premature close to proceedings.
"We were in real trouble on the first day when we lost quick wickets, but once again we've shown out strength in depth, we bat all the way down in the order," reflected Cheshire team manager Sandy Scrimgeour.
"We're in a very strong position at the halfway stage in the season, but we can't afford to get carried away. We've still got three more games to play, we can't get too overconfident.
"We've got to keep plugging away and take each match as it comes. We don't know whether the weather will affect us in our other matches, so hopefully we can get a win in our next match and push on from there."
Cheshire are away to Devon in their next three-day Championship match, at Exmouth Cricket Club (20-22 July).
Meanwhile, Cheshire A host the Northumberland Development XI in their next match at Mobberley Cricket Club (16-17 July). Free admission for spectators.

Scorecard:

Cheshire 1st innings: (187-6 overnight 44 overs) 331-7 declared, 71 overs (Dumelow 150, Duffy 61, Dawson 56 not out)
FOW: 0, 0, 7, 41, 116, 148, 286

Oxfordshire 1st innings: 3-0, 2 overs

Result: Cheshire (8pts) drew with Oxfordshire (7pts)

General: Cheshire won the toss and elected to bat. No play Day 2 due to rain, only 44 overs on Day 1. Day 3 affected by heavy showers, numerous stoppages.

Cheshire team: Chris Davies (Oxton), James McCoy (Widnes), Nick Cantello (Bramhall), Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park), Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park), James Duffy (Hyde), Matthew Dawson (Bramhall, wicketkeeper), Chris Finegan (Neston), Adam Syddall (Bowdon), Daniel Berry (Hyde), Jason Whittaker (Alderley Edge). 12th man: Ollie Law (Chester Boughton Hall). Scorer: Jim Law.

Cheshire are kindly sponsored by AB Nutrition Ltd and therightmoveabroad.com

DUMELOW AND DUFFY LEAD CHESHIRE FIGHTBACK FROM THE EDGE Day !
By Neil Goulding

STAND-IN skipper Nathan Dumelow and James Duffy led a spirited fightback as Minor Counties champions Cheshire found life tough going on the opening day of their three-day Championship clash with Oxfordshire at Alderley Edge Cricket Club.
Dumelow, in charge of the county side in the absence of regular skipper Andy Hall, hit an unbeaten 80 and Duffy starred with 61 as the hosts battled back after a nervy start to finish the first day on 187-6 from 44 overs.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Cheshire were struggling at 0-2 and 7-3. Debutant James McCoy was dismissed second ball, while Nick Cantello - back in the side after a long absence - perished in the third over without troubling the scorers.
And things went from bad to worse when Ben Spendlove was caught behind in the sixth over.
But although opener Chris Davies was out in the 15th over to leave Cheshire in real trouble at 41-4, it was Dumelow and Duffy who dug in with an important fifth wicket partnership of 76 to start the fightback.
Left-hander Duffy was eventually out with the score at 116, his 66-ball innings lasted 75 minutes and included one six and 9 fours.
Cheshire lost their next wicket on 148 when Jason Whittaker was out for 10, but wicketkeeper Matthew Dawson stayed with Dumelow until the close of play as the pair shared in an unbeaten seventh wicket partnership of 39.
With Dan Berry - one of Cheshire's match-winners at Chester Boughton Hall a fortnight ago - Chris Finegan and Adam Syddall still to bat, Cheshire will hope they can make full use of their 46 remaining overs.
The start of the match was delayed due to heavy rain and, when the players were finally due to start at 2.15pm following an early lunch, the heavens opened once again to halt proceedings.
Play finally got underway at 4.30pm, although there was one further delay when bad light brought the players off at 64-4 for a short time.
Before the match Cheshire's opening batsman Warren Goodwin was forced to withdraw having broken a finger in midweek playing for the Minor Counties representative side, with fellow opener Danny Leech unavailable for selection due to work commitments. Skipper Hall was also absent because of work commitments.
Debutant McCoy was given his chance alongside Oxton's Davies, who has been Cheshire's 12th man for some time now, and Bramhall's Cantello. The three were the only three significant changes to the county side.

Scorecard:
Cheshire 1st innings: 187-6, 44 overs (Dumelow 80 not out, Duffy 61)
FOW: 0, 0, 7, 41, 116, 148

Cheshire won the toss and elected to bat

Cheshire team: Chris Davies (Oxton), James McCoy (Widnes), Nick Cantello (Bramhall), Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park), Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park), James Duffy (Hyde), Matthew Dawson (Bramhall, wicketkeeper), Chris Finegan (Neston), Adam Syddall (Bowdon), Daniel Berry (Hyde), Jason Whittaker (Alderley Edge). 12th man: Ollie Law (Chester Boughton Hall). Scorer: Jim Law.

Cheshire are kindly sponsored by AB Nutrition Ltd and therightmoveabroad.com