Cheshire v Shropshire CCC – MCCA Championship

At Chester on Sun/Mon/Tues 22/23/24 August 2004

Shropshire won toss – Match Drawn - Cheshire 7 pts Shropshire 6 pts

Cheshire 1st Cheshire 2nd
S.A.Twigg c Whitney b O'Connor 3    
D.N.Leech c Tilt b Smith 23    
G.F.Archer no 113    
A.J.Hall (c) c Ralph b Mason 39    
M.R.Dawson (w) c Ralph b Smith 3    
N.D.Cross ro 63    
S.J.Renshaw c Catterall b Mason 36    
S.Ogilby (wk)  no 0    
J.P.Whittaker        
D.B.Pennett        
R.W.Fisher        
 

Extras

25

   
 

Total (6 wkts)

305

   

 

Shropshire Bowling 1st  Bowling 2nd
  O M R W O M R W
O'Connor 19 6 46 1        
Mountford 7 1 21          
Whitney 12 1 40          
Catterall 10 4 31          
Smith 26 11 57 2        
Mason 16 1 89 2        
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shropshire 1st Innings 2nd Innings
E.J.Foster no 25
C.P.Martin lbw Fisher 16
M.A.Tilt (wk) no 6
T.J.Mason
N.M.K.Smith
D.N.Catterall
J.P.Ralph
G.L.Home (c)
J.D.Whitney
A.P.O'Connor
J.Mountford
 

Extras

6

 

Total (1 wkts)

53

 

Cheshire  Bowling 1st   2nd
  O M R W

O

M R W
S.J.Renshaw 7 1 27          
 D.B.Pennett 7 2 14          
R.W.Fisher 6 4 6 1        
                 
                 
                 

 

 

 

CHESHIRE SUFFER C&G HEARTACHE AFTER WASHOUT

By Neil Goulding

 

CHESHIRE's Minor Counties Championship clash with Shropshire was abandoned as heavy rain resulted in a washout at Chester Boughton Hall.

With no play possible on the second day, and with the bad weather continuing, both sides agreed that there was no chance of a result - even with a contrived finish if the downpour halted.

The result means that Cheshire have now failed to qualify for next season's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy, albeit they have only lost one Western Division match all year.

"We are disappointed not to have qualified for the C&G - but there's nothing we could have done about the weather in our last two matches," Gerry Hardstaff, the Cheshire chairman, said.

"We batted well in this match and against Oxfordshire (at Banbury), and put ourselves in a strong position after the first day.

"But we have to look at the games earlier in the year to see why we haven't qualified. We did need to pick up more batting points and having been in a strong position against Devon (at Oxton), we threw away a golden chance to win the match."

Despite missing out on C&G qualification for 2005, Hardstaff is confident Cheshire now have a nucleus of a team which can challenge for honours in the coming seasons.

"Graeme Archer has been a great signing for us and without him we might have struggled in the batting department," added Hardstaff.

Archer, formerly of Nottinghamshire, scored a splendid unbeaten 113 for Cheshire on the opening day of their tussle with Shropshire.

The ex-Staffs batsman also scored another hundred - 121 not out - against Oxfordshire at Banbury. He is his county's best performer with the bast this season having scored an impressive 434 runs in only six innings.

"Graeme joined us at an important stage in the season. Our captain, Andy Hall, was injured, and we were also without Nafees Din, who scored a lot of runs for us last season," said Hardstaff.

"But we're developing as a team. We've got a good team, now, and ideally you want a squad of 14 regular players that you can pick from all season. That hasn't always been the case, but the young lads that have come in have done well.

"It's a big learning curve playing at this level, but we are willing to give those that are good enough a chance to prove themselves.

"We have learnt this year that you have to win at least three matches if you are going to challenge for honours. We haven't done that, but we can build on this year's performances."

Minor Counties Championship - Western Division (Final day of 3, Chester Boughton Hall) -  Cheshire 1st innings: 305-6 declared, 90 overs (Archer 113 not out, Cross 63, Hall 39, Renshaw 36, Leech 23). FOW: 4, 42, 172, 238, 297, 305.

 

Shropshire 1st innings: 53-1, 20 overs

FOW: 32

 

No play Day 3 due to rain.

Result: Match abandoned. Cheshire 7 pts, Shropshire 6 pts

 

No Play on Day 2

WEATHER HALTS CHESHIRE'S PROGRESS

 

By Neil Goulding

 

CHESHIRE's chances of qualifying for next year's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy have all but disappeared after the second day of their Minor Counties Championship clash with Shropshire was rained off at Chester Boughton Hall, yesterday.

Andy Hall's team need maximum points and other results to go their way if they are to qualify.

But heavy rain meant there was no chance of any play and now Cheshire can only win if there is a contrived finish on the final day's play.

"It's very frustrating for everyone," admitted Gerry Hardstaff, the Cheshire chairman.

"The rain took the wind out of our sails against Oxfordshire, in a match we needed to win, and the same has happened here."

Indeed, Cheshire have had no luck in their final two matches in the Western Division - and ultimately the weather has wrecked their hopes of C&G qualification.

"The weather hasn't helped, but we can look back at the season and admit we didn't score enough batting points," added Hardstaff.

"I just hope we get some cricket on the last day. We've got a good, balanced side and we have strengthened our batting. It's just a shame that we've managed to post big scores in our last two matches - and the possibility of a result has been halted by the rain."

A brilliant unbeaten 113 from Graeme Archer, the former Nottinghamshire batsman, helped Cheshire post 305-6 declared on Sunday.

Oxton all-rounder Neil Cross also weighed in with a useful 63 as the pair shared an important third-wicket partnership of 130.

But with Shropshire finely poised at 53-1 overnight, both teams were denied the chance to try and take control of proceedings.

Minor Counties Championship - Western Division (Day 2 of 3, Chester Boughton Hall) -  Cheshire 1st innings: 305-6 declared, 90 overs (Archer 113 not out, Cross 63, Hall 39, Renshaw 36). FOW: 4, 42, 172, 238, 297, 305.

 

Shropshire 1st innings: 53-1, 20 overs

FOW: 32

 

No play Day 2 due to rain.

 

ARCHER'S SUPERB CENTURY IGNITES CHESHIRE'S VICTORY BID

 

By Neil Goulding

 

CHESHIRE batting ace Graeme Archer smashed a brilliant hundred as his county took a commanding stance on the opening day of their Minor Counties Championship Western Division clash with Shropshire at Chester Boughton Hall.

Archer, who made 121 not out against Oxfordshire at Banbury earlier in the month, remained unbeaten on 113 as Cheshire posted 305-6 declared.

The former Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire batsman has now scored an impressive 434 runs at an average of 108.50 - and in only six innings.

"Graeme's a quality player and he's been a very good acquisition," said Gerry Hardstaff, the Cheshire chairman.

"He's been excellent for us this season. If we didn't have him, then we might have struggled to get as many runs as we have this year.

"It was difficult batting conditions because the ball wasn't coming on to the bat, but although we started slowly, we increased the pace and have set a good total."

In reply, Shropshire, who are second in the table, closed the day on 53-1 from 20 overs. Robin Fisher, Cheshire's left-arm spinner, claimed the only Shropshire scalp of the day.

Hardstaff is hopeful the hosts can dismiss Shropshire for under 250. If Cheshire can do that, he fancies their chances of victory.

"The wicket is starting to turn a little already and we've got two spinners, so it should be an intriguing couple of days if the weather holds out," added Hardstaff.

"Shropshire need a win because they can still the Division, so we are always in with a shout.

"I was really pleased with the way we played. Everyone chipped in with the bat and we've set a good target for Shropshire to chase. It's up to us to bowl well and give ourselves a chance of victory."

Neil Cross, the Oxton all-rounder, played a key role for Cheshire, sharing a third-wicket partnership of 130 with Archer, before cameos from skipper Andy Hall (39) and Simon Renshaw (36) helped the home team up the tempo in the last 20 overs of their allotted 90.

Archer's innings included 17 fours, while Cross hit four boundaries and a six in his supporting innings.

But the big-hitting came from Renshaw, the former Hampshire all-rounder, who hit four towering sixes in his dashing knock.

Minor Counties Championship - Western Division (Day 1 of 3, Chester Boughton Hall) -  Cheshire 1st innings: 305-6 declared, 90 overs (Archer 113 not out, Cross 63, Hall 39, Renshaw 36). FOW: 4, 42, 172, 238, 297, 305.

Shropshire 1st innings: 53-1, 20 overs

FOW: 32

 

Previews

By Neil Goulding 21 August

 

CHESHIRE chairman Gerry Hardstaff has admitted that his county are unlikely to qualify for next year's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy.

Cheshire hosted first-class side Hampshire, this season, but having had their last match against Oxfordshire at Banbury abandoned due to rain, Hardstaff believes all hopes of qualifying for the prestigious competition have disappeared.

"I don't think we will qualify this year," said Hardstaff. "We have got 56 points this season, but because we were rained off at Banbury, it's just too much ground to catch up.

“Ideally you’d like to win three games a season, but we’ve not really pushed home our advantage in some matches – and then the weather hasn’t helped us either.

“This year was the first time we’ve played in the C&G for a couple of years. It’s always nice to qualify for such a good competition. The players and the supporters look forward to it, so we will have to try and get there next year.”

The top eight points-scorers across the Eastern and Western Divisions, respectively, will qualify for the C&G Trophy, and they will be joined by this year’s MCCA Knockout Cup finalists. Ten teams in all having the chance to play a first-class county next year.

But although Cheshire have only been beaten once this season, they are nearly 20 points behind the teams in the top half of the table.

Cheshire are currently lying in seventh place in the Western Division, seven points behind Cornwall .

However, Hardstaff’s team are not mathematically out of the equation, but would require maximum points from their next match, against Shropshire , at Chester Boughton Hall, from 22-24 August.

“Shropshire have everything to play for and they’ve been having a good season, but all we can do is try and get maximum points and see what happens,” Hardstaff added.

“I’ll be disappointed if we don’t qualify for the C&G Trophy and so will the players, but that doesn’t mean to say that we will not try and win our last match.

Shropshire are a good side. We are aware of their good players, but we can’t afford to worry about them. We can only try and do our best.

“We lost heavily against Shropshire last season, so the players want to avenge that defeat. It would be nice if we could win our last game.”

Cheshire have decided to play three seam bowlers and two spinners against Shropshire , although pace bowler and useful left-handed batsman Danny Jones may be recalled to the side if Alexis Twigg fails to pass a late fitness test.

Opening batsman Twigg – Cheshire ’s second highest run-scorer this season with 376 runs – chipped a knuckle against Oxfordshire, so is fighting a battle to be fit.

Stephen Ogilby, the Ireland international gloveman, returns to the side and will replace Ian Spencer, the Widnes youngster, behind the stumps.

Matt Dawson, who made his debut against Oxfordshire, will play solely as a batsman, although he kept wicket for Cheshire down at Banbury when Spencer was injured.

“We’ve got the strongest side available to us at the moment, which is important going into the last game,” Hardstaff said.

“We will have to wait and see if Twiggy (Alexis Twigg) is fit, so Danny Jones might come into the side.

“It’s good to have Stephen (Ogilby) back as well. Ian Spencer has done well and so did Matt Dawson in the Oxfordshire match, but we’ve decided to pick Stephen. He’s been getting runs for his club and he’s in good form.”

Shropshire have named a strong team ahead of the three-day crunch clash, with in-form batsmen Guy Home, the Shropshire skipper, and James Ralph, Duncan Catterall and Neil Smith, all included.

Smith, the former Warkwickshire all-rounder, has also taken a healthy number of wickets this year, while Tim Mason – who claimed 32 scalps in 2003 – is likely to present another stern test for Cheshire ’s batsmen.

“It could be quite an interesting game against Shropshire ,” Hardstaff added.

“Both teams want a win, so it could be a very open match. We played well in our last match and if we had managed to get full points, then this match might have had more importance.

“But whatever happens, we want to beat Shropshire – and they will want to beat us. I hope it makes for some good, positive cricket.”

Cheshire team to face Shropshire (at Chester Boughton Hall, 22-24 August): A Twigg (Harrogate), D Leech (Oulton Park), G Archer (Caythorpe), A Hall (Bramhall, captain), M Dawson (Milnrow), N Cross (Oxton), S Renshaw (Kibworth), J Whittaker (Oulton Park), S Ogilby (Chester Boughton Hall), D Pennett (Harrogate), R Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall).

 

Shropshire team: E Foster, C Martin, T Mason, N Smith, D Catterall, J Ralph, G Home (captain), J Whitney, M Tilt, A Connor, N Clewley, M Robinson.

 

By Neil Goulding 17 August

 

CHESHIRE will play Shropshire in their final match in the Minor Counties Championship Western Division, at Chester Boughton Hall, between 22-24 August.

Having only lost one game this season, Andy Hall's team are lying in seventh place.

But nothing less than a victory will be good enough for the county if they want to make sure of qualification for next season's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy.

And Shropshire are sure to give Hall's charges plenty of problems.

Cheshire's opponents are second in the table and will also be looking for a victory to give themselves a fighting chance of reaching this year's three-day Championship final.

"It's a big game for both counties," admitted Hall, who was frustrated that the weather prevented Cheshire from forcing a result in their last match, against Oxfordshire, at Banbury.

"We could have beaten Oxfordshire, but the rain stopped us from doing that."

Only eight overs of play came from the last two days in Banbury, denying Hall and his side the chance to pick up full points, which they desperately needed to help secure C&G qualification.

But a victory in Shropshire would give Cheshire a fighting chance of finishing in the top six in the table - a target they must achieve if they want to play in the C&G next term. 

"We know we have really got to beat Shropshire because we need the points to get in the top-half of the table," added Hall.

Cornwall are just seven points ahead of Cheshire in the table. They will also be looking for a victory to secure their place in next year's C&G draw.

"The pressure is on us, but we can't worry about other results, we have to concentrate on getting a result and hope we have a bit of luck," Hall said.

"We lost to Shropshire last year and a bad session of play cost us. I'm sure we won't make the same mistakes again."

Cheshire's only worry ahead of the Shropshire clash, is that to opening batsman Alexis Twigg, who is nursing a chipped knuckle.

Cheshire chairman Gerry Hardstaff rates the opener's chances of recovery at odds of 70/30 in favour of him playing.

"We will have to wait and see with Alexis is fit to play," Hardstaff, admitted.

"There will be some team changes for Shropshire. We've got some tough decisions to make, but we are confident we can win."

 

Cheshire  squad: Andy Hall (captain, Bramhall), Alexis Twigg (Harrogate), Dave Pennett (Harrogate), Danny Leech (Oulton Park), Jason Whittaker (Oulton Park), Danny Jones (Oulton Park), Ian Spencer (Widnes), Stephen Ogilby (Chester Boughton Hall), Robin FIsher (Chester Boughton Hall), Simon Renshaw (Kibworth), Graeme Archer (Caythorpe), Matt Dawson (Milnrow), Neil Cross (Oxton), Barney Cutbill (Macclesfield), Danny Jones (Oulton Park)

 

By Neil Goulding 15 August

CHESHIRE know they must beat Shropshire in their last match of the season to stand any chance of qualifying for next season's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy.

A rain-affected draw against Oxfordshire last week has left Cheshire needing to produce the goods if they want a money-spinning tie with a First-Class county next season.

And Gerry Hardstaff, the Cheshire chairman, is under no illusions the difficult task awaiting his team - although he believes a victory is far from out of the question against their high-flying opponents.

Shropshire have had an excellent season and have been sitting pretty in the top 3 in the Western Division for the duration of this term.

But Hardstaff is buoyed that Cheshire will probably have their strongest team available for selection in time for the crunch clash, which is to be played at Chester Boughton Hall between 22-24 August.

"Shropshire have more batting bonus points than any other county and have had a very good season," said Hardstaff, "but we can beat them. We have built a useful team this season.

"We were in a strong position against Oxfordshire and our first innings score was the biggest total of runs we have managed to put on the board this season.

"Since Graeme Archer has joined us, we seem to have batted a lot better. All the top order batsman are chipping in with runs."

And Hardstaff believes home advantage could also play a key role in Cheshire's chances of success.

"We lost to Shropshire in our last game, but that was away and we didn't play anywhere near as well as we should have," added Hardstaff.

"It was a match which didn't have any bearing on the Western Division title, that had been decided in our previous match against Wales Minor Counties.

"Shropshire are not 'completely invincible' like some people have said. We will need to play well and make sure we play well in every session. I think home advantage could play a part if we are going to win.

"We've let ourselves down this year with bad sessions. We can't afford to do that in this case. There's a lot at stake."

Indeed, and Hardstaff, whose side have only lost once this season, is hopeful that opening batsman Alexis Twigg will be fit to feature in the crucial contest.

 

Twigg chipped a knuckle on his left hand whilst making 53 for Cheshire in the Oxfordshire match.

But Hardstaff rates the opener's chances of recovery at odds of 70/30 in favour of him playing.

"We will have to wait and see with Alexis is fit to play," Hardstaff, admitted.

"There will be some team changes for Shropshire. We've got some tough decisions to make, but we are confident we can win."

 

Cheshire  squad: Andy Hall (captain, Bramhall), Alexis Twigg (Harrogate), Dave Pennett (Harrogate), Danny Leech (Oulton Park), Jason Whittaker (Oulton Park), Danny Jones (Oulton Park), Ian Spencer (Widnes), Stephen Ogilby (Chester Boughton Hall), Robin FIsher (Chester Boughton Hall), Simon Renshaw (Kibworth), Graeme Archer (Caythorpe), Matt Dawson (Milnrow), Neil Cross (Oxton), Barney Cutbill (Macclesfield), Danny Jones (Oulton Park)