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Cambridgeshire and Cheshire grab divisional leads

Cambridgeshire and Cheshire are the new leaders of their respective divisions following victories in the latest round of MCCA Championship games.

Despite being dismissed for 145 second time around as Cumberland slow left-armer Toby Bulcock returned figures of 5-70, Cambridgeshire held their nerve to secure a 46-run triumph and go top of the Eastern Division.

The visitors were indebted to a magnificent all-round performance from Andy Laws. Having laid the foundation with 105 of a first-innings 264 for eight, he took 4-18 as Cumberland collapsed from 148 for two to 178 all out – Laws’ fellow off-spinner Paul McMahon helping himself to a five-wicket haul.

Suffolk headed into the latest round of matches as the east’s leading team but they fell to a four-wicket loss at Buckinghamshire, a particularly harsh result on Thomas Huggins after the opener scored an unbeaten 142 in the visitors’ 290 for eight first time around.

Cambridgeshire now hold a seven-point lead over Hertfordshire in second, with the latter held to a draw by Bedfordshire despite Lloyd Paternott’s 111 helping them to a 205-run lead on first innings.

Cheshire head an incredibly congested leading pack in the Western Division thanks to a resounding 196-run victory at Berkshire that leaves two points separating the top three.

Warren Goodwin set the tone at the top of the order with 191 as Cheshire made 390 for eight batting first.

He had no cause to regret a second-innings duck as left-arm spinner Daniel Woods demolished the Berkshire order with five lbws in figures of 8-38, ensuring the hosts were 116 all out chasing 313.

Shropshire lie second, having recovered from being dismissed for 218 in 51.1 overs to beat Cornwall by 145 as Omar Ali enjoyed a superb match.

The left-hander followed up a first-innings 50 with an unbeaten 123 before his right-arm medium-pace took 5-54 as Cornwall fell well short.

Wales Minor Counties lie a point and a place further back after besting Oxfordshire by 35 runs in an intriguing low-scoring encounter.

Elsewhere in the Western Division, Devon and Herefordshire chased successfully against Wiltshire and Dorset respectively, while the Eastern Division saw Norfolk beat Northumberland and Staffordshire cruise to a 10-wicket victory having dismissed Lincolnshire for 60.

Half of the visitors’ runs in that innings came courtesy of wicketkeeper Ben Houston’s 30 not out, while left-arm seamer Greg Willott claimed an astonishing 5-9 from 12.1 overs.

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