CHESHIRE CRUSH WILTSHIRE

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, mobile 07931 376811)

CHESHIRE have put themselves in a strong position to challenge for the Minor Counties Championship Western Division title after an impressive nine-wicket victory over Wiltshire at Trowbridge CC.

Andy Hall's team found their backs against the wall on the opening morning as the hosts raced to 129-1 having won the toss and elected to bat.

But after that Cheshire never looked back, winning every session and duly picked up 24 valuable points for their title charge.

Resuming on 120-6 overnight, Wiltshire only managed to add a further 36 runs - a lead of just 37. Dave Pennett (5-54) and Jason Whittaker (4-39) did the damage with the ball.

Never a problem for Cheshire who quickly knocked off the runs for the loss of one wicket and registered their second victory of the season, a win which sees them pushing rivals Devon and Berkshire all the way in the hunt for honours.

"It was a great win for us," said Cheshire skipper Andy Hall.

"We've performed well on all three days and deserved to win. We have given ourselves a great chance of winning the Western Division."

Indeed, Cheshire have two remaining matches (both at home) in which to secure the points they need to win the title for the first time since 2001 - and also the chance to play the Eastern Division winners in the Championship final which will be played between September 11-13.

Cheshire play Oxfordshire at Nantwich (August 7-9) and then Wales Minor Counties (August 21-23) at Chester Boughton Hall looking to get those points.

"We've still got two really tough games coming up, but we're in a very good position," added Hall.

"Our bowlers and batsman have really shown a lot of character here against Wiltshire, especially because we knew how important winning was.

"Winning does give you confidence, which is great going into two important games against Oxfordshire and Wales."

Cheshire chairman of cricket Gerry Hardstaff was understandably delighted with his team and is relishing Cheshire's next two matches.

"I'm proud of all the players. It was a very disciplined performance from us," said Hardstaff.

"We struggled on the opening morning, but then our bowlers bowled excellently and then the batsman backed us up and put us in a strong position.

"Wiltshire are a strong side, so it is good to win. This victory has put us in a very strong position for the end of the season.

"If we can win one of our last two games, or preferably both, then we can win the Western Division. That would be a fantastic achievement."

Star performers for Cheshire over the course of their three-day match were former England and Lancashire leg-spinning all-rounder Chris Schofield, who scored 70 and took 4-49.

Fellow all-rounder Nathan Dumelow also had a good game with 79 runs and figures of 4-51 in Wiltshire's first innings, while Hall (74) and Leech (54) were both in the runs as Cheshire posted a first innings total of 334, a lead of 119 over their opponents and runs which proved crucial to their victory.

Minor Counties Championship – Western Division (Day 3 of 3, Trowbridge)

Wiltshire 1st innings: 215 all out, 68 overs (N Dumelow 4-51, C Schofield 4-49)

Cheshire 2nd innings (129-1 overnight): 334 all out, 89.4 overs (A Hall 74, N Dumelow 79, C Schofield 70, D Leech 54, D Pennett 24no, J Hibberd 3-41, J Goulding 3-57)

Wiltshire 2nd innings (120-6 overnight): 156 all out (D Pennett 5-54, J Whittaker 4-39, D Jones 1-25)

Cheshire 2nd innings: 39-1 (M Currie 20)

Result: Cheshire beat Wiltshire by nine wickets (Cheshire 24 pts, Wiltshire 5 pts)

 

CHESHIRE CLOSE IN ON VICTORY

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, mobile 07931 376811)

CHESHIRE took command against Wiltshire on the second day of their Minor Counties Championship Western Division clash at Trowbridge CC.

Resuming on 129-1 overnight, Andy Hall's team moved into top gear and posted a first innings score of 334, a valuable lead of 119 over their opponents.

Hall led from the front with a superb 74, while Nathan Dumelow (79), Chris Schofield (70) and opener Danny Leech (54) were also in the runs as the visitors were all out in the final over of their allocated 90.

Then it was the turn of Cheshire's bowlers to put Wiltshire under pressure with Jason Whittaker and pace ace Dave Pennett doing the damage with two wickets each in two balls to leaving the home side reeling.

Seamer Whittaker finished the day with three scalps, while former Oulton Park teammate Danny Jones also grabbed an important wicket.

Wiltshire are therefore one run ahead of Cheshire, but with only four wickets left. It's no surprise all would be very surprised if Cheshire didn't win from such a strong position.

"We should win so long as the weather holds and we stay disciplined. I'd be very disappointed if we didn't," said Hall.

"We've batted really well and put ourselves in a strong position. We found it tough on the opening morning, but since then we've won every session."

Victory for Hall's side would extend their unbeaten run thus far in domestic competition, but more importantly enhance their chances of winning the Western Division with two games to go.

"We're in a very strong position now, but it all depends on how Devon and Berkshire (above Cheshire in the league) are doing in their matches," added Hall.

"But regardless of how they do, all we can do is concentrate on winning and that keeps us in the hunt for the title.

"I'm delighted with the players and the way we've performed as a team. We've batted and bowled well to put Wiltshire under pressure."

A view echoed by Cheshire chairman of cricket Gerry Hardstaff, who said: "Hopefully we can get the last four wickets we need to bowl out Wiltshire as cheaply as possible.

"We've performed excellently in this match and we are on the brink of our second win of the season."

Minor Counties Championship – Western Division (Day 1 of 3, Trowbridge)

 

Wiltshire 1st innings: 215 all out, 68 overs (N Dumelow 4-51, C Schofield 4-49)

 

Cheshire 2nd innings (129-1 overnight): 334 all out, 89.4 overs (A Hall 74, N Dumelow 79, C Schofield 70, D Leech 54, D Pennett 24no, J Hibberd 3-41, J Goulding 3-57)

 

Wiltshire 2nd innings: 120-6, 55 overs

 

Wiltshire won the toss and elected to bat

 

 

ends...

SPINNERS GIVE CHESHIRE EDGE Day 1

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, mobile 07931 376811)

CHESHIRE fought back in fine style after a shaky start against Wiltshire on the opening day of their Minor Counties Championship clash at Trowbridge Cricket Club.

Wiltshire won the toss and got off to a flying start, well-placed at 125-1 at lunch. But four wickets each for off-spinner Nathan Dumelow (4-51) and former England and Lancashire leg-spinner Chris Schofield (4-49) helped Cheshire haul themselves back into the contest.

Wiltshire lost their last nine wickets for 90 runs and were dismissed for 215 from 68 overs. Dumelow, who has been starring for Oulton Park in the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League, bowled 24.5 overs, tormenting the Wiltshire attack, while Littleborough’s Schofield had 19 successful overs.In tandem both spinners stopped Wiltshire from reaching what, at one stage, looked like being a total anywhere in excess of 250.However, Cheshire had their tails up and dug in with the bat to take command at the end of the day one.

Skipper Andy Hall led from the front with an unbeaten 64, while opener Danny Leech, back in the side after illness, weighed in with an important 48 not out. Fellow opener and former Lancashire batsman Mark Currie perished for only nine as Cheshire started their reply, but Hall and Leech’s partnership made sure the visitors took a stranglehold.

“We started very slowly and Wiltshire were in a strong position at lunch, but all credit to our bowlers, we were patient and bowled very well after lunch,” said Hall.

“We got a wicket in the first over after lunch and then wickets kept falling at regular intervals.

“The whole team performed well when we were under pressure, especially Nathan and Chris, who I thought bowled really well.”

Cheshire have 48 overs of their allotted 90 from the first innings in which to bat today, ample time in which to score the 86 runs they trail their hosts by and time enough to compile a sizeable first innings lead.

“Wiltshire started well, but we’ve battled back and are in a strong position,” said Gerry Hardstaff, Cheshire’s chairman of cricket.

“Hopefully Andy and Danny can carry on where they left off today and help us get a good lead.

“We really need to beat Wiltshire if we want to be challenging for the Western Division title this season.”

Minor Counties Championship – Western Division (Day 1 of 3, Trowbridge)

Wiltshire 1st innings: 215 all out, 68 overs (N Dumelow 4-51, C Schofield 4-49)

Cheshire 2nd innings: 129-1, 42 overs (A Hall 64no, D Leech 48no)

Wiltshire won the toss and elected to bat

 

FIVE CHANGES AS CHESHIRE LOOK FOR CHAMPIONSHIP CHARGE

By Neil Goulding (Cheshire Press Officer, mobile 07931 376811)

CHESHIRE have made a string of changes to the side which will face Wiltshire in their next Minor Counties Championship match, which runs at Trowbridge Cricket Club from July 17-19.

Andy Hall's team were plagued by injuries and late withdrawals for their Western Division clash with Devon at Bovey Tracey ten days ago.

But Hall has been boosted by the return of a number of key players as he and side look to extend their impressive unbeaten start to the season.

Former England and Lancashire leg-spinning all-rounder Chris Schofield is back having recovered from a bout of flu, although he was due to miss the Devon match having been selected to play for Durham 2nd XI against Lancashire 2nd XI.

Also back is in-form all-rounder Jason Whittaker, left-arm spinner Robin Fisher and another former Red Rose man, Mark Currie.

Wicketkeeper Steve Ogilby, of Chester Boughton Hall, replaces stand-in keeper Matt Dawson behind the stumps, the fifth and final change to the J W Lees sponsored Cheshire team.

Teenage batting ace Warren Goodwin keeps his place after scores of 39 and 45 on debut respectively, while Dawson, Matthew Cassar, Alexis Twigg, Barney Cutbill and Guy Emmett drop out.

There is no place for youngster James Duffy, absent for the Devon match because of holiday commitments, while Twig is unavailable for selection because of work engagements.

'We've made quite a few changes, but we've got the strongest bowling attack we have," revealed Gerry Hardstaff, the Cheshire chairman of cricket.

"You need to bowl sides out if you are going to win matches. We've had a good start to the season.

"Two more wins from our last three games could make the title race very interesting."

Indeed, Cheshire are just 12 points behind leaders Berkshire in the current standings after a win and two draws from their opening encounters.

Wiltshire have yet to win, having lost two and drawn one of their three matches.

"Wiltshire are a strong side, though," added Hardstaff. "Last year they batted too long and there was no chance of a result for either side.

"Hopefully this year it will be a different game. We will be going to Trowbridge looking to win."

A view shared by Cheshire skipper Andy Hall, who is looking to guide his team to their second win of the season - a result which would help no ends in staying in the title race.

"We've had a good start to the season, but we've still got three hard games. If we can two of them we could be right up there (at the top of the table)," said Hall.

"Wiltshire have got some good players, but we're playing with confidence and got players back which we missed for the last match."

Cheshire team: Andy Hall (Bramhall, captain); Mark Currie (Alderley Edge); Danny Leech, Danny Jones, Nathan Dumelow (Oulton Park); Chris Schofield (Littleborough); Warren Goodwin, Steve Ogilby, Robin Fisher (Chester Boughton Hall); Dave Pennett (Harrogate); Jason Whittaker (Walshaw). 12th man: To be announced. Scorer: Janet Herbert.