CHESHIRE AT FULL STRENGTH By Neil Goulding

CHESHIRE boast a full-strength side for the first time this season as they prepare to take on Herefordshire at Alderney Edge Cricket Club, Sunday through to Tuesday (23-25 July). In every match this season the county have been forced to plug the gaps due to injuries and players withdrawals at the last minute. But thankfully, and with victory needed to stand any chance of defending their Minor Counties Cricket Association crown, it is heartening for skipper Andy Hall to have his full compliment of players available.

"It makes a nice change doesn't it?" said Hall. "Unfortunately, playing three-day cricket is a big commitment and sometimes it's hard to get your best 11 players.

"But Jason Whittaker is back for this match. He's been one of our best, if not the best all-rounder we've had in the last few seasons, and we've got both our ex-Derbyshire boys in the tea [Nathan Dumelow and Ben Spendlove].

"Their experience counts for a lot and they are both having good seasons domestically."

Indeed, and with just three games remaining this season in the Western Division, Hall knows he needs his charges to be firing on full cylinders if they want a victory.

"We're going to have to play well, but we beat Herefordshire last season and know who are their best players," added Hall.

"I'm hoping the weather will stay as glorious as it has been, because the rain certainly hasn't helped us this season.

"We've got to win this match. If we don't, then we're really not going to be able to defend our title.

"We've only lost one match, but the weather has meant we've drawn two games, so we've got a lot of catching up to do.

"It's a long shot, but if we win our games and hope other results go our way, then we've got a chance. That's what we want at this stage of the season."

- Refreshments and food is available all day, including a BBQ for all three days of the match.

J W Lees-sponsored Cheshire team: Andy Hall (capt), Matt Dawson (wkpr), Nick Cantello (Bramhall); Danny Leech, Ben Spendlove, Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park); James Duffy, Danny Woods (Hyde); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Guy Emmett (Bowdon); John Farrow (Heaton Mersey). 12th man: Chris Davies (Oxton). Scorer: Jim Law (Chester Boughton Hall).

Remaining 2006/7 fixture schedule - Minor Counties 3-day Championship, Western Division: v Wales (6-8 August @ tbc) and v Shropshire (20-22 August @ Whitchurch).

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WHITTAKER BACK FOR CHESHIRE By Neil Goulding

CHESHIRE have named a strong team ahead of their Minor Counties Championship 3-day Western Division clash with Herefordshire at Alderley Edge, July 23-25. Defeat against Dorset in their last match has dented the defending champions chances of retaining their title they won handsomely last season.But with three games still remaining in the domestic programme, skipper Andy Hall is targeting three victories and hoping their rivals slip up."We were disappointed to lose to Dorset, but it's left us with a straightforward situation. We must win all of our remaining games," said Hall."The weather has stopped us winning two games, but that's the way it goes sometimes. The luck is not always with you, but we're not going to give up pur title without a fight."

The J W Lees-sponsored Cheshire side make just one change from the team which lost by 5 wickets to Dorset at Nantwich at the turn of the month.

Neston all-rounder Chris Finegan is unavailable and replaced by experienced campaigner Jason Whittaker.

Whittaker, a school teacher, has yet to play a game for the county this season. In the 2004-2005 season he was Cheshire's leading all-rounder, but work commitments have kept him in the classroom this season.

"It's good to have Jason back in the team, he's been such a good player for the county over the years," added Hall.

"Chris [Finegan] had a great game at Dorset, but hopefully Jason's in good touch and can come in and do well.

"We'll need to be firing on all cylinders because Herefordshire are a good side. We beat them in our first game of the season last year, so hopefully we can make it two years on the run."

J W Lees-sponsored Cheshire team: Andy Hall (capt), Matt Dawson (wkpr), Nick Cantello (Bramhall); Danny Leech, Ben Spendlove, Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park); James Duffy, Danny Woods (Hyde); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw); Guy Emmett (Bowdon); John Farrow (Heaton Mersey). 12th man: Chris Davies (Oxton). Scorer: Jim Law (Chester Boughton Hall).

Remaining 2006/7 fixture schedule - Minor Counties 3-day Championship, Western Division: v Wales (6-8 August @ tbc) and v Shropshire (20-22 August @ Whitchurch).