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Cambridgeshire and Cheshire to contest final

Cambridgeshire and Cheshire will meet in the Minor Counties Championship final after securing top spot in their respective groups in the last round of fixtures.

The two sides will contest the three-day final starting on September 8.

Cambridgeshire topped the Eastern Division after they recorded a fifth win of the campaign, a comfortable 184-run victory away at bottom-side Northumberland.

Darren Bicknell, Alan Burton and Lewis Bruce all made half-centuries as the leaders posted 327 in their first innings, before Paul McMahon took 4-22 as Northumberland were skittled out for 185.

Callum French then hit an unbeaten 60 as the visitors set a total of 379 for victory and, despite Thomas Cant’s 50, Northumberland fell well short.

Cheshire’s route to the final was more nervy, as they went into the last day knowing closest Western Division rivals Wales Minor Counties had already secured victory.

The second-placed side had beaten Dorset by 10 runs inside two days, with Jonathan Denning taking eight wickets in the match, including a first-innings five-for, while Darren Thomas hit an unbeaten 98.

Cheshire therefore knew a draw would be good enough in their clash with third-place Shropshire.

Cheshire posted 455 for eight batting first, with James Duffy making a double-hundred. Steve Leach scored an unbeaten 157 as Shropshire responded with 391 all out. Richard Moore joined the list of centurions by making 116 as Cheshire declared on 325 for nine, leaving no chance of a defeat that would deny them a final spot and they indeed drew.

Elsewhere in the Western Division, Matthew Thompson made hundreds in both innings as Devon beat Oxfordshire by 128 runs, Michael Coles’ 186 was not enough to stop Wiltshire falling to a 44-run defeat against Herefordshire while Dan Davis and James Morris compiled centuries for Cornwall and Berkshire respectively as their game ended in a draw.

Suffolk secured second place in the Eastern Division with a 110-run victory over Cumberland. Thomas Huggins shone with bat and ball, making an unbeaten 111 in the first innings before taking six wickets in the second to wrap up victory.

Hertfordshire finished third after beating Buckinghamshire by five wickets, Lincolnshire’s five-wicket victory over Bedfordshire gave them a first win of the campaign, while Norfolk beat Staffordshire by six wickets.

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