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

Pictured: Cheshire all-rounder Rick Moore.
Photo courtesy of Barry Mitchell

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire CCC Press Officer, mobile 07813 859968)

PROMISING youngster Rick Moore starred with a fine all-round performance as Cheshire - Championship finalists last season - got their Minor Counties season off to a flying start with victory at home to Shropshire in the Knockout Trophy.

The Oulton Park all-rounder impressed with bat and ball as Cheshire cruised to a welcome nine-wicket win at Marple Cricket Club in the first of their four 50-over group matches.

Moore weighed in with an excellent 4-24 return from 10 overs to leave Shropshire's top-order in tatters, before returning to hit an unbeaten 62 as Cheshire eased to victory with nearly 27 overs to spare.

Chester Boughton Hall batsman Warren Goodwin contributed an important 46 as he and Moore put on an impressive 108 for the opening wicket.

Earlier in the day Cheshire's new signing Richard Logan - formerly of Surrey and Berkshire - shone on his debut with 3-35 from ten tight overs as Cheshire went top of their qualifying group.

"It was a really, really good win," praised Cheshire Team Co-ordinator Peter Babbage.

"We bowled very well and then chased down the runs very quickly. It was an excellent team performance.

"In all honesty I don't think we could have asked for a better start to the season."

Babbage and skipper Andy Hall had a late selection headache when Hyde all-rounder Dan Berry was forced to pull out on the eve of the match with a badly-bruised hand.

But in stepped Jonny Fawcett - the Didsbury left-arm spinner - and he impressed on his debut.

"He [Jonny] did really well, he clearly impressed the skipper," added Babbage.

"There were some really good performances. Rick Moore bowled and batted very well, he was definitely worth the man-of-the-match award.

"Warren Goodwin batted well and got some good runs and Richard Logan bowled well on his debut, he looks like a great addition to the squad."

Having won the toss and elected to field, Hall might have been regretting his decision as Shropshire eased to 48 for no wicket.

But then Moore and Logan wreaked havoc as the visitors lost eight wickets for just 28 runs - and all ten for their next 77 runs as they were routed for 125 in 42.2 overs.

And in reply Cheshire romped to victory thanks to Moore and Goowin's perfect opening partnership.

"It was a great team performance," reflected Hall. "Rick Moore had a great game for us - and there were a few more telling contributions.

"It's a good feeling to have got off to a winning start. Hopefully now we can produce that type of performance against Northumberland in our next match."

Cheshire face Northumberland in their second group match, away at Jesmond Cricket Club, this Sunday (9 May), 11am start.

A victory would put them in a strong position to qualify for this year's quarter-finals with two further games remaining, at home to Staffordshire and away to Cumberland.

Cheshire team:
Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall)
Rick Moore (Oulton Park)
Andy Hall (Bramhall) - captain
Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park)
Louis Bentley (Oulton Park)
Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park) - vice captain
Matt Dawson (Bramhall) - wickkeeper
Jonny Fawcett (Didsbury)
Richard Logan (Chichester)
Adam Syddall (Bowdon)
James Hawley (Neston)

Scorer: Jim Law

The Cheshire County Cricket Club are kindly sponsored by ABNutrition The Alternative Feed Specialists -

CHESHIRE GUNNING FOR WINNING START - this article leads on ECB website

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

CHESHIRE kick off the new Minor Counties season on Sunday with an eagerly-anticipated home clash with Shropshire in the MCCA Knockout Trophy.

Trophy finalists last in 2007, a new-look Cheshire side - which will include two debutants - are keen to start with a victory at Marple Cricket Club (11am start).

And with three other Trophy matches scheduled for this month, it's no wonder skipper Andy Hall wants his side to make sure of the best possible start.

"We really want to do well in the Knockout Trophy this season," revealed Hall.

"Getting to the final in 2007 and playing at Lords was a great achievement for the County.

"It was a shame we didn't win the final, but that's made us more determined than ever to win the Trophy this season.

"We had a couple of defeats in our qualifying group last season - and you can't really afford to lose any games because it's really hard to qualify.

"But that's the challenge which we're all looking forward to. If we can be successful in the Trophy then I'm sure that will give us the confidence to do well in the Championship."

Last season Hall's side reached the Minor Counties Championship final, but failed to qualify for the quarter-final stages of the Trophy after two defeats in four of their group qualifying matches.

There was plenty to smile about with excellent wins against Cumberland and Bedfordshire, but it was defeats at home to Oxfordshire and away to Shropshire which cost the chance to progress.

"We started well last season but then had those two defeats before we beat Bedfordshire in our last match," added Hall.

"It would be great to have a good run in the Trophy competition this season, we've got a strong squad with a few welcome additions.

"It's going to be a good test for us, but it's really important we start well and hopefully build from there."

Promising youngster Louis Bentley, who played for the Cheshire Development XI last season, has been handed the chance to shine on debut.

Bentley impressed last season for his club Oulton Park, as well as the for the representative side.

Macclesfield bowler James Hawley has been given a chance to impress, with new signing Richard Logan - formerly of Surrey who will also make his debut.

Cheshire will be without Neston all-rounder, Chris Finegan this season, having retired from Minor Counties duty.

Fellow all-rounder Jason Whittaker has retired from the three-day format, but could feature in some of the counties' one-day Trophy fixtures.