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Cambridgeshire and Cheshire stay ahead

Cambridgeshire and Cheshire remain on course to meet in the Minor Counties Championship final after wins in the penultimate round of group games kept them top of their respective pools.

In the Eastern Division Cambridgeshire thrashed neighbours Bedfordshire by an innings and 35 runs at March thanks chiefly to James Williams’ century and 10 wickets for Joe Dawborn.

Williams’ 103 set up a score of 330 all out before Dawborn produced brilliant figures of 10-3-28-8 to skittle Bedfordshire for 96, a position from which there was no way back.

Cheshire benefited from Devon’s desire for victory after rain washed out day two of their game at Bowdon.

Devon declared their first innings on 49 for none and Cheshire forfeited their second to set a target of 278, which Devon fell 60 short of as Daniel Woods took 5-66.

Also in the Western Division, second-placed Wales Minor Counties’ hopes were hit by a rain-ruined draw with Wiltshire, who closed on 23 for six in reply to 128 all out at Trowbridge.

Shropshire sit third after losing to Berkshire by 23 runs at Whitchurch in another game that saw a forfeit and declaration. Richard Logan’s seven-for trumped Richard Oliver’s century as Shropshire failed to chase 281.

In the lower reaches of the table Oxfordshire and Herefordshire drew at Bodicote and Cornwall beat Dorset by 42 runs at Truro in a contest reduced to an innings per side.

Suffolk kept Cambridgeshire under pressure with victory over Northumberland by 123 runs at Copdock thanks in part to a first-innings 154 from Tom Huggins.

Hertfordshire, third in the Eastern Division, drew with Staffordshire, who closed 11 short of a target of 303 and eights wickets down at Harpenden.

Norfolk thumped Lincolnshire by 259 runs at Horsford and Buckinghamshire drew with Cumberland, for whom Neil Longhurst hit 169, at Marlow.

The remaining round of group games are on August 18-20 with the final on September 8-11.

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