CHESHIRE MISS OUT ON TROPHY QUARTER-FINALS By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Media Officer, mobile 07813 859986) Photos courtesy of Barry Mitchell Pictured: Cheshire skipper Andy Hall in full flow CHESHIRE have failed to qualify for this season's MCCA Knockout Trophy quarter-finals in the cruellest of circumstances. The county were sweating on the final result of group winners' Shropshire against Cumberland to see if they would progress to the business end of this year's 50-over competition, which culminates in a showcase final at Lords. Shropshire were favourites to win and anything less than a victory for Cumberland would have seen them eliminated from the competition. But to their credit, Cumberland inflicted an upset on the previously unbeaten leaders, winning by 10 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-affected clash at Netherfield Cricket Club to secure their place in the last eight. Shropshire posted an imposing 286-6 in their 50 overs - at an impressive run-rate of 5.72 per over - but Cumberland reached their revised target of 120 with six wickets to spare and in just 13.2 overs, having initially been set 130 to win in 15 overs. Cheshire and Cumberland finished with the same record of two wins, one defeat and one tied match, but Cumberland went through with a stronger run-rate. Cheshire finished on -0.1081 after their four qualifying matches, while Cumberland - thanks to their fine victory over Shropshire - progressed with a run rate of + 0.4436 (see final table standings below). "It's sad to have got knocked out, but fair play to Cumberland for beating Shropshire," reflected Cheshire skipper Andy Hall. "We had a close game with Shropshire and if we'd have won that match we'd have qualified, but unfortunately it's not meant to be this season. And now Hall and his Cheshire side will be focusing their attentions on success in the Western Division of the MCCA Championship. Cheshire face Herefordshire, away at Colwall Cricket Club, from 12-14 June in their first three-day outing of the season. And the skipper realises the importance of trying to get off to a winning start. "We're all looking forward to getting the Championship season underway," added Hall. "We've done well in this competition for quite a while now, so we want to give another good account of ourselves. "It's a difficult competition because you can't afford to lose many games, otherwise you're out of the running early on. "But we've got a strong team for our match against Herefordshire, hopefully we can get off to a winning start." MCCA Knockout Trophy, Group 1 -final standings For any photos of the Cheshire team please call Neil Goulding on 07813 859986. These can happily be supplied free of charge. CHESHIRE WAITING ON ONE RESULT CHESHIRE slipped to an agonising 26 runs defeat to Shropshire, last season's one-day champions, in their last MCCA Knockout Trophy group match, and now await the outcome of Cumberland v Shropshire next week to see who progresses to the Quarter Final stage Shropshire batted first and, thanks to an impressive 83 from their professional Chris Murtagh - the former Surrey batsman - the hosts were able to post a respectable 250-8 from their allotted 50 overs. The wickets were shared for Cheshire, but Adam Syddall stood out with a burst of ten overs for 62 runs and four wickets. In reply all-rounder Richard Logan top-scored with 66, while vice captain James Duffy (46) and skipper Hall (40) both weighed in with important runs, but Cheshire still fell short in an exciting finish to proceedings as Shropshire were crowned group champions. MCCA Trophy Points Table Scorecard Shropshire 250-8, 50 overs (C Murtagh 83) Cheshire 224 all out (R Logan 66, J Duffy 46, A Hall 40) Result: Shropshire won by 26 runs Cheshire's team v Shropshire: Andy Hall (captain, Marple) Jonny Kettle (wicketkeeper, Nantwich) Lee Dixon (Oxton) James Duffy (Hyde) Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall) Richard Logan (Chichester) Danny Berry (Hyde) Adam Syddall (Urmston) Jimmy Warrington (Nantwich) Richard Wilkinson (Barnt Green) Danny Woods (York) 12th man: Ross Dixon (Oxton) Scorer: Janet Herbert For any photos of the Cheshire team please call Neil Goulding on 07813 859986. These can happily be supplied free of charge. CHESHIRE GUNNING TO BE GROUP CHAMPIONS By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Media Officer, mobile 07813 859986) Photo: Cheshire opening batsman Warren Goodwin in full flow (Photo courtesy of Barry Mitchell) CHESHIRE have named an unchanged team for Sunday's final MCCA Knockout Trophy group match against Shropshire at Shifnal. Unbeaten in their opening three group matches, Cheshire know victory over Shropshire, last season's Trophy champions, would guarantee them qualification for this year's quarter-finals. And victory would also assure Andy Hall's on-song side first place in group one with a 100 per cent record so far this season. "It's a game we're all looking forward to, there's plenty to play for," said Hall. "Shropshire will be wanting to win the group like us, but more importantly we want to win because then we're definitely assured a place in the quarter-finals. "I've always said that I'd love us to do well in the Trophy competition this year because there is a chance to play at Lords if you get to the final. "For any cricketer that's a huge honour, but for now we're just concentrating we make sure we get into the quarter-finals. "We've made a very good start and had two good wins over Cumberland and Staffordshire. "Unfortunately there was nothing we could do about the rain meaning our game against Northumberland had to be abandoned, but we've got five points from a possible six and sitting in a strong position. "It looks like ourselves and Shropshire will go through, but we can't take anything for chance and it's a good test to see if we can beat them. "They obviously won the Trophy last year and they'll be desperate to try and defend it. "They're a good side, but as always we're just concentrating on making sure we play to our potential. "The lads are in confident mood, it's a good game to look forward too." If Cheshire do beat Shropshire then they would play the runners-up of qualifying group four, which is yet to be decided. A defeat would most likely see Cheshire finish second depending on how Shropshire fair in their last qualifying match. If Cheshire do finish second then they would play the winners of group three, with all this year's quarter-final matches due to be played on Sunday 19th June. Cheshire will play their quarter-final match at Christleton Cricket Club having drawn home advantage if they can progress. MCCA Trophy Points Table Cheshire's team v Shropshire: Andy Hall (captain, Marple) Jonny Kettle (wicketkeeper, Nantwich) Lee Dixon (Oxton) James Duffy (Hyde) Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall) Richard Logan (Chichester) Danny Berry (Hyde) Adam Syddall (Urmston) Jimmy Warrington (Nantwich) Richard Wilkinson (Barnt Green) Danny Woods (York) 12th man: Ross Dixon (Oxton) Scorer: Jim Law For any photos of the Cheshire team please call Neil Goulding on 07813 859986. These can happily be supplied free of charge.