2023 Season review 1: T20

2023 Season review 1: T20

29 Sep 2023

In a weather ravaged season, Cheshire could count themselves unfortunate not to press for honours across all the three competitions. Their misfortune was perhaps best highlighted in the T20 competition.

Once again the shorter format of the game was scheduled for an early season start with the first round of games due to start on the Sunday, a week before most domestic league games began across the country.

As per 2022, the format involved four groups of five sides with each team playing four 'double header' games - two home, two away.

Cheshire were grouped with Northumberland, Cumbria, Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Problems at Sale CC saw Cheshire's first game switched to Chester Boughton Hall at short notice but the games with Northumberland were wiped out without a ball bowled. 

A week later Nick Anderson's side suffered a similar fate but at least only travelled as far as Shifnall where they were due to play Shropshire.

Cheshire v Staffordshire,  Nantwich CC, Monday 1 May 2023

Third time lucky? Well, partly. Eyebrows were raised at Nantwich where it was deemed only one of two matches were possible.  Cheshire lost out to Staffordshire by 10 runs.

It was a debut for Matt Carter from Nottinghamshire who joined the Club in the winter having been part of the 2022 Trent Rockets side that won the Hundred. Pat Ashling from Sale took the wicket keeper gloves for the first time.

Winning the toss and opting to field, Cheshire saw their visitors manage what felt a par 176-5, Michael Hill starring with an unbeaten 65 on a decent pitch despite the weather. Partnerships built nicely and at one stage a score of around 200 looked likely.

Cheshire used seven bowlers in all, Rob Lord impressing with 2-28.

The Cheshire reply saw Sam Perry carry on where he'd left off the year before, striking a fine 72 but beyond that only Ali Chughtai (14) and Nick Anderson (34) got into double figures. Cheshire left themselves with too much to do and succumbed by ten runs at 166-9.

Cumbria v Cheshire, Netherfield CC, 7 May 2023

The vagries of the competition meant that having only played one of six possible games, Cheshire were already eliminated from the KO stages. Staffordshire had managed some action in an earlier round and they progressed.

Thus a trip to Netherfield offered Cheshire nothing more than a late opportunity to get together as a unit and get some white ball cricket under their belts. And they came up trumps, winning both games to deny their hosts the opportunity to move forward.

In the first game, Matt Carter took his  chance to impress with the bat as he made 63 in a total of 135-8, Sam Perry hit 19. An inspired opening spell from Freddie Fallows saw him take 4-10.

The Sam Dutton and Gary Pratt show looked to be onto a winner for Cumbria but an unfortunate injury saw Pratt retire hurt on 30. Dutton went on to make 59 as Cumbria closed on 131-5, Luke Young and Harry Dearden taking two wickets apiece in a four run win.

Second time around, Cumbria's Dutton (38) and Marcus Sables (41*) were in the runs with the turning point being when Matt Sempill had to retire hurt on 33. They finished on 144-4.

Another tight finish! Sam Perry (52) and Alex Money (13) scrambled home to win by six wickets. This followed a 62 run fourth wicket partnership between Perry and Anderson - the skipper making a fine 50.

An enjoyable couple of wins against a strong side. Cheshire finished second with 9 points, losing out to Staffordshire by one point and were left to think 'what could've been' in better weather.

At least they approached the 50 over KO Trophy in good spirits...