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By Neil Goulding

CHESHIRE will be looking for a winning start to the Minor Counties Championship when they open their campaign away to Herefordshire, from June 5-7.

Andy Hall's team journey to Luctonians Cricket Club, Kingston, with the view of grabbing important points in a bid to challenge for honours in the Western Division.

"It's going to be a tough match, but we've got a strong side ourselves and confident of doing well," said Hall, now in his third term as county captain.

Cheshire have lost former Nottinghamshire batsman Graeme Archer this season because of work commitments, and have also released former Hampshire all-rounder Simon Renshaw.

But the county have worked hard to recruit worthy replacements, with former Lancashire batsman Mark Currie having joined, while ex-Derbyshire all-rounder Nathan Dumelow has signed having moved to play in the Cheshire County League this season.

However, the biggest of Cheshire's new signings, respectively, is former England and Lancashire all-rounder Chris Schofield.

The talented leg-spinner and useful left-handed bat makes his debut against Herefordshire, looking to get back on track for a return to the first-class arena.

"I'm looking forward to playing and meeting the rest of the players for the first time," said Schofield.

"I know Mark Currie from Lancashire, which is great, and I've also played against Nathan Dumelow. I'd like to settle into the side quickly and be successful."

Cheshire will be without opening batsman Danny Leech. The Oulton Park player, who was one of the county's most successful batsman last season, is recovering in hospital after having his appendix removed.

Leech's absence has seen Hyde batsman James Duffy selected for the team, with Currie expected to open the batting with Alexis Twigg.

"Danny could be out for quite a while," revealed Gerry Hardstaff, Cheshire's chairman of cricket.

"At the moment we don't know whether he'll be available for our second game (at home to Wales Minor Counties at Nantwich on Sunday 12 June)."

Cheshire 12-man team: Andy Hall (Bramhall); Mark Currie (Alderley Edge); James Duffy (Hyde), Nathan Dumelow, Danny Jones (Oulton Park); Steve Ogilby, Robin Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall); Chris Schofield (Littleborough); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Dave Pennett, Alexis Twigg (Harrogate). 12th man: Tom Young (Hyde). Scorer: Jack Hempstock.