SYDDALL'S INSPIRED BEST GUIDES CHESHIRE TO TITLE SUCCESS

Scorecard from Whitchurch

Pictured (left): Cheshire pace ace Adam Syddall celebrates one of his eight second innings wickets
Photo courtesy of Barry Mitchell

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE skipper Andy Hall heaped praise on pace ace Adam Syddall as the Bowdon bowler inspired his county to win this year's Minor Counties Cricket Association (MCCA) Championship Western Division title.

Syddall returned Championship best figures of 8-83 from 23.4 overs of superb bowling as Cheshire beat Shropshire by five wickets at Whitchurch Cricket Club.

And by doing so made sure of a second Championship final appearance in the last three seasons.

"Syds [Syddall] bowled really well, it was a great effort from him," praised Hall. "There's no doubt that spell swung the game for us.

"It was a great effort because we all felt that the pitch was good - and the scores both teams made didn't do justice to how good the wicket was.

"But Adam has been brilliant for us all season. He bowled well at the end of the second day and then took wickets when we needed them on the last day."

Syddall's inspired spell left Cheshire needing 199 for victory on the third and final day - and Hall's men reached their target in 45.3 overs.

Added to his 2-52 return from Shropshire's first innings, Syddall finished with commendable match figures of 10-135 from 35.4 overs.

Ben Spendlove (left) top-scored with 59, taking his match run tally to 162 having scored a fine 113 in Cheshire first innings.

David Hurst, who was given the chance to shine with Lancashire 2nd XI player Chris Tipper unavailable, impressed with a spirited 39, while an unbeaten 31 from Nathan Dumelow and 18 not out from Hall - who hit the winning runs - was enough for a memorable victory.

"We knew we couldn't afford to let Shropshire get too big a lead because it would be tough for us to chase down the runs, we showed a lot of character to get this win," added Hall.

Cornwall were favourites for the title having gone into their final fixture against strugglers Wales Minor Counties with a five point cushion at the summit.

But Cornwall, as Cheshire have for a large proportion of the summer, were thwarted by rain as their match was abandoned.

And with no result possible Cornwall had to settle for just six points, which meant if Cheshire won their last match they would win the title.

"We knew Cornwall had been rained off, so we had to win our last match.

"I said before the last two games that if we won both of our matches then we would the division - and thankfully I was proved right.

Oxfordshire, who had also been in the title race, had to settle for third place as the drew their final game of the season away to Berkshire.

Cheshire now face Buckinghamshire, the Eastern Division champions, in this year's Championship final 6-9th September.

Cheshire team: David Hurst (Neston), Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall), Andy Hall (Bramhall, captain), Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park), James Duffy (Hyde), Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park), Jason Whittaker (Alderley Edge), Matthew Dawson (Bramhall, wicketkeeper), Daniel Berry (Hyde), Adam Syddall (Bowdon), Rick Moore (Oulton Park). 12th man: Craig Williamson (Oulton Park).

Whitchurch scorecard:

Shropshire 1st innings: 299 all out, 83.1 overs (Oliver 110, Chishti 60, Ralph 36, Berry 3-99, Syddall 2-52, Dumelow 2-92, Whittaker 2-52)
FOW: 42, 50, 172, 196, 198, 261, 264, 291, 298, 299

Cheshire 1st innings: 279 all out, 76.3 overs (Spendlove 113, Berry 50 not out, Moore 49, Shimmons 4-133, Taylor 3-64)
FOW: 64, 70, 92, 92, 93, 125, 143, 170, 246, 279

Shropshire 2nd innings: 178 all out, 50.4 overs (Gray 43, Syddall 8-83, Moore 1-4, Whittaker 1-60)
FOW: 17, 17, 60, 67, 105, 117, 121, 148, 178, 178

Cheshire 2nd innings: 201-5, 45.3 overs (Spendlove 59, Hurst 39, Dumelow 31 not out, Hall 18 not out)
FOW: 18, 50, 138, 144, 160

Result: Cheshire (23pts) beat Shropshire (7pts) by five wickets

CHESHIRE CROWNED WESTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONS
By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, 07813 859986)

CHESHIRE toasted sweet success today when they were crowned the new Minor Counties Cricket Association (MCCA) Western Division champions.

The 2007 winners clinched an impressive five wicket win away to Shropshire to land their second title in three years.

Needing 199 to win on the final day at Whitchurch Cricket Club, Andy Hall's team rose to the challenge and finished top of the table with 101 points.

And having missed out on winning the Western Division title by just one point last season, victory was understandably sweet to savour.

"It's a great feeling," reflected Hall. "It's been a real team effort all season, it's great to have won the title again."

Cheshire are now likely to face Buckinghamshire in this season's four-day showcase final, which runs 6-9th September.

Bucks were favourites to clinch the Eastern Division title today and set-up a mouth-watering clash between the two counties.

"All the lads are looking forward to the final, it will be great occasion for the county," added Hall. "Let's hope we can win it again!"

Ahead by 20 runs from the first innings, Shropshire resumed on 90-4 on the last day of three.

But some inspired bowling from paceman Adam Syddall, who returned Championship best figures of 8-83 from 23.4 overs, saw the host humbled for 178 in their second innings.

That left Cheshire needing 199 for victory - and Hall's men gallantly chased the runs down with five wickets to spare and claimed the 23 points they needed to secure top spot.

"We had a few hiccups in the match, but we showed our character again, we've done that all season," said Hall, whose side needed just 45.3 overs to reach their target.

"It's such a special feeling to be in another Championship final, all the hard work this season has really been worth it."

Cheshire team: David Hurst (Neston), Warren Goodwin (Chester Boughton Hall), Andy Hall (Bramhall, captain), Ben Spendlove (Oulton Park), James Duffy (Hyde), Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park), Jason Whittaker (Alderley Edge), Matthew Dawson (Bramhall, wicketkeeper), Daniel Berry (Hyde), Adam Syddall (Bowdon), Rick Moore (Oulton Park). 12th man: Craig Williamson (Oulton Park).

Whitechurch scorecard:

Shropshire 1st innings: 299 all out, 83.1 overs (Oilver 110, Chishti 60, Ralph 36, Berry 3-99, Syddall 2-52, Dumelow 2-92, Whittaker 2-52)
FOW: 42, 50, 172, 196, 198, 261, 264, 291, 298, 299

Cheshire 1st innings: 279 all out, 76.3 overs (Spendlove 113, Berry 50 not out, Moore 49, Shimmons 4-133, Taylor 3-64)
FOW: 64, 70, 92, 92, 93, 125, 143, 170, 246, 279

Shropshire 2nd innings: 178 all out, 50.4 overs (Gray 43, Syddall 8-83, Moore 1-4, Whittaker 1-60)
FOW: 17, 17, 60, 67, 105, 117, 121, 148, 178, 178

Cheshire 2nd innings: 201-5, 45.3 overs (Spendlove 59, Hurst 39, Dumelow 31 not out, Hall 18 not out)
FOW: 18, 50, 138, 144, 160

Result: Cheshire beat Shropshire by five wickets