CHESHIRE FINISH SEASON WITH IMPRESSIVE WIN
by Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Media Officer, mobile 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE finished the MCCA Championship season with an impressive victory over Shropshire at Alderley Edge Cricket Club.

Last season's Western Division champions won with over a day to spare as they cruised to a nine-wicket win under glorious sunshine at Moss Lane.

Having forced Shropshire to follow-on having routed then for just 143 in their first innings, Cheshire then dismissed the visitors for 207 in their second innings.

And having score 308-8 themselves in their first innings, that left Cheshire needing just 43 runs to win on the penultimate evening as they made no mistake of wrapping up proceedings without the final day's play needed.

Shropshire may have been crowned this year's MCCA Knockout Trophy champions, but the visitors were missing six players from that winning side as Cheshire dominated from the first day.

All-rounder Richard Logan starred with eight wickets in the match, while off-spinner Nathan Dumelow claimed four wickets.

Resuming on 90-6 - still 68 runs adrift of the follow-on target - Shropshire only managed to add a further 53 runs as they were forced to bat for a second time.

pictured above: James Hawley and Jon Kettle (keeping) appeal for LBW - photo courtesy Barry Mitchell

Logan led the way with a fine 5-51 return from 20 accurate overs, while Dumelow impressed with an important 4-35 return from 14 overs.

There was also a wicket for Cheshire debutant, the Alderley Edge all-rounder given the chance to play on his home patch with Nantwich bowler James Warrington missing.

Only Tim Murtagh (42) and opener John Whitney (33) offered any resistance as Cheshire's bowlers tore through the Shropshire batting line-up.

Left-hander Anthony Parker (40) and Ben Price (49 not out) were both in the runs in the visitors' second innings, but Logan weighed in with a 3-51 return from 19.4 overs and promising young spinner Jonny Fawcett also claimed three wickets. Wilkinson finished with 2-32 from 11 overs to cap a decent debut.

And so, having been bowled out for 207 in 66.4 overs, Shropshire left Cheshire just 43 for victory - and the hosts got them in only 6.4 overs.

Despite the loss of opener Wilkinson with the first ball of their second innings, Cheshire romped to victory as Ben Spendlove crashed an unbeaten from just 17 balls. There were seven boundaries for the former Derbyshire batsman, while opener Jonny Kettle finished 10 not out in an unbeaten second wicket stand of 43 in 39 balls.

"It's great to have finished the season with such a convincing victory," reflected a jubilant Cheshire skipper Andy Hall.

"We played really well from the opening morning and then backed up a decent batting performance with a really excellent performance with the ball.

"Richard Logan bowled superbly and we backed up well by the other boys like Nathan, Jonny and Richard.

"It's just a shame that we've not managed to defend our title, but you can't afford to lose more than one match in this division because the standard is so high.

"But overall we've had a decent season and there's plenty of grounds for optimism for next season.

"We've used a lot of young players this season and I'm sure they will be better next season. That's the test for us now."

Scorecard:

Cheshire 1st innings: 308-8, 90 overs (Hall 66 not out, Dixon 62, Spendlove 40, Duffy 35, Green 3-46)

Shropshire 1st innings: 143 all out, 51.1 overs (Murtagh 42, Whitney 33, Logan 5-51, Dumelow 4-35)

Shropshire 2nd innings (forced to follow-on): 207 all out, 66.4 overs (Price 49 not out, Parker 40, Foster 28, Logan 3-51, Fawcett 3-60, Wilkinson 2-32)

Cheshire 2nd innings: 44-1, 6.4 overs (Spendlove 34 not out)

Result: Cheshire won by nine wickets

Points: Cheshire 23pts, Shropshire 3pts

HALL AND LOGAN STAR FOR CHESHIRE (Day 1 Report)

by Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Media Officer, mobile 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE dominated the opening day of their final match of the season against Shropshire at Alderley Edge Cricket Club.

Looking to finish the MCCA Championship season on a high, the defending Western Division champions posted an imposing 308-8 having won the toss and batted.

And then some fine bowling left Shropshire reeling at 90-6 from 32 overs by the close of play.

Cheshire skipper Andy Hall (left) led from the front with the willow with a battling unbeaten 66, while Lee Dixon (62), Ben Spendlove (40) and James Duffy (35) all contributed useful runs as the hosts took control.

That allowed Hall's side to push on to over 300 from their allotted 90 overs, before seamer Richard Logan and spinner Nathan Dumelow did the damage with the ball.

Logan (below) returned fine figures of 4-35 from 12 overs to leave Shropshire a long way short of their follow-on target of 158.

And Dumelow also impressed with two wickets for no runs from four accurate overs.That left Shropshire 218 runs adrift of Cheshire, but

more significantly needing a further 68 runs to avoid the follow-on - but with only four wickets remaining.

"It was a great day for us, we batted and bowled really well," praised Hall, who battled through the pain barrier having batted with a runner.

"There were quite a few of us contributed useful runs, it was important we got 300 on the board and gave ourselves something to bowl out.

"Richard bowled superbly and then Nathan did as well with two important wickets, it's put us in a really strong position.

"We've just got to push on now and try and bowl them out before their follow-on target. If we do that we've got

a chance of winning this game inside two days.

"It's not going to be easy, but the lads are full of confidence after the way we've started this match."

photos courtesy Barry Mitchell

Scorecard:

Cheshire 1st innings: 308-8, 90 overs (Hall 66 not out, Dixon 62, Spendlove 40, Duffy 35, Green 3-46)

Shropshire 1st innings: 90-6, 32 overs (Murtagh 38 not out, Logan 4-35, Dumelow 2-0)

Shropshire, with four first innings wickets left, trail Cheshire by 218 runs.

Points so far: Cheshire 5pts, Shropshire 3pts

Cheshire team:

Richard Wilkinson (Alderley Edge)

Johnny Kettle (Oulton Park) - wicketkeeper

Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park)

Lee Dixon (Oxton)

James Duffy (Hyde)

Andy Hall (Bramhall) - captain

Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park)

Dan Berry (Hyde)

Richard Logan (Chichester)

Johnny Fawcett (Didsbury)

James Hawley (Hyde)

CHESHIRE LOOK TO FINISH SEASON ON A HIGH (Preview)

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Media Officer, mobile 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE have named a strong 12-man squad as they look to end the MCCA Championship season on a winning note.

Last season's Western Division's champions cannot retain their title with just one four-day match remaining in the campaign,

but that isn't stopping skipper Andy Hall and his side from looking for a welcome win against Shropshire at Alderley Edge CC.

And the match could see Alderley Edge all-rounder Richard Wilkinson (left) given the chance to make his county debut on home turf.

Wilkinson has impressed this season in the Cheshire County League ECB Premier Division with bat and ball and will be looking to

take his chance if he is selected in the starting XI.With Nantwich bowler James Warrington unavailable, Wilkinson could start against

Shropshire, with the only change to the squad the return of first-choice wicketkeeper Matt Dawson in place of Toft debutant Pat Roberts.

Warrington starred with eight wickets but Cheshire still lost to Devon in their last match, a defeat which ended the county's hopes of

reaching the Championship final for successive seasons and a back-to-back Western Division crown.

But Hall and his team are hungry to finish the season on a high and finish as high as possible in the standings.

"We're all disappointed that we can't win the title this season, but we're still going to try and beat Shropshire in our last match," said Hall.

"They're a good side, but we want to win our third match of the season and finished the season strongly.

"There's not very much room for error in this league, so losing to Devon hasn't really left us with a lot to play for.

"But all of us want to win, we want to perform well for the county and give our supporters something to smile about.

"We'll come back stronger next season, but we've got this last game and we want to win."

Shropshire have won just once this season and are nine points below Cheshire in the current standings with one game to play.

"They've not had the best of seasons, but they'll want to win as well to finish the season strongly," added Hall.

"It's going to be a good test for us, it's a chance for us to show some character and bounce back from or defeat to Devon."