HEARTACHE FOR CHESHIRE IN CUP THRILLER
By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, 07931 376811)
CHESHIRE suffered heartache with a cruel one-wicket defeat at
the hands of Wales in the MCCA Knockout Cup on Sunday.
Andy Hall's team started well enough and raced to 50 for no wicket,
having won the toss and elected to bat.
But eight wickets fell for just 79 runs and Cheshire found themselves
in trouble, until an important ninth wicket partnership yielded
43 runs to haul the home side back from the brink of being dismissed
for under 150.
Jason Whittaker top-scored with 33, while opener Mark Currie,
the ex-Lancashire batsman, was the only other major contributor
Extras also played their part, 32 of which made up Cheshire's
Hall was relieved that his side at least managed to score 180
before they were all out - a score which was about par for the
course, especially after the loss of wickets at regular intervals.
That target seemed to be beyond Wales, though, as they stuttered
to 106-8 thanks to some fine bowling from Whittaker, the pick
of the bowlers with 3-16 from ten overs, while debutante Tom Young
and former Derbyshire all-rounder Nathan Dumelow both returned
impressive figures of 2-32.
However, a ninth wicket stand for the visitors proved crucial,
with current Glamorgan squad player Ben Wright the bedrock of
Dumelow reduced Wales to 162-9, leaving the Welsh side requiring
19 runs from just over five overs, making Cheshire favourites
But Wright guided Wales home with his unbeaten 86 and Steve Watkin,
the former England bowler, hit two fours at the end of the innings
in a support role which denied Cheshire victory.
"I'm very disappointed we've not won - and so are all the
players," said Hall.
"We probably didn't get enough runs, but on saying that 180
was about par for the course.
"At 106-8 I thought we had the match in the bag, but all
credit to Wales, Ben Wright batted well and won them the game.
"It was touch and go all the way through the match, and when
we got the ninth wicket I thought we were still favourites.
"It would have been nice to have progressed further this
year because everyone knows if you win a few games you can be
playing at Lords.
"But we've had a good win against Herefordshire in our first
Championship match - and we'll look to extend that run at home
to Cornwall next week (June 20-22, at Alderley Edge Cricket Club,
Gerry Hardstaff, Cheshire's chairman of cricket, was also disappointed
with his team's performance, but took positives from the match,
particularly a battling bowling and fielding display and the performance
of Young on debut.
"We were well below our best, but we still could have won
- and I thought we should have after the way we bowled to get
ourselves back into the match," said Hardstaff.
"We got ourselves into a winning position, but our batting
let us down and we should have scored a few more runs.
"We did bowl very well, though, and I thought Tom Young had
an excellent debut. He's a promising young player."
MCCA Knockout Cup (Nantwich Cricket Club, 50 overs)
Cheshire 180 all out, 48.5 overs, 32 extras (Whittaker 33, Currie
27, Roberts 4-19, Waters 2-22.
FOW: 50, 50, 75, 75, 92, 98, 103, 129, 172, 180.
Wales 184-9, 47.5 overs, 13 extras (Wright 86 not out, Whittaker
3-16, Young 2-32, Dumelow 2-32).
FOW: 14, 40, 43, 44, 59, 92, 104, 106, 162.
Result: Wales won by one wicket