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Cheshire hang on for nervy draw

Cheshire’s defence of the Unicorns Championship got off to a wobbly start as they clung on to a draw against Herefordshire.

The 2013 champions were nine wickets down following on and still 42 runs adrift of their hosts when the captains shook hands at the end of the third day, with the hosts unlucky not to register a deserved win.

Herefordshire batted first and posted a respectable 324, with Nitesh Patel, Ben Stebbings and Callum Stewart all notching half-centuries. Patel was top scorer with 56 off 134 balls.

Then they got to work on ripping through the champions’ batting order and skittled them for 132, Michael O’Shea was destroyer in chief with an impressive 5-47 in his 26.2 overs.

Cheshire were asked to bat again, but fared little better as Herefordshire ran through them again, reducing them to 140 for nine, with only Lee Dixon passing 50.

But they were unable to get the final wicket and Cheshire escaped with a draw.

Devon made light work of Dorset as they cruised to a win by an innings and 43 runs.

After the south-coast county had been dismissed for 118, Josh Bees taking 4-12, Devon piled on 310 thanks mainly to Matthew Golding’s unbeaten 107.

They then rattled through their hosts again, dismissing them for 149, with the wickets shared between Trevor Anning, Jamie Overton, Liam Lewis and Bess.

Jayden Levitt’s first-innings 152 for Wiltshire set up a 10-wicket win over Oxfordshire.

Levitt smashed 15 fours and two sixes in his 199-ball knock as his county posted 388 in reply to the hosts first dig of 228, which was held together by Jonathan Cater’s 92.

Three wickets apiece for Ashur Morrison and Jake Roberts then helped dismiss Oxfordshire for 177 in their second innings, which left the visitors a small target of 29, which the openers knocked off without losing a wicket.

Cornwall beat Berkshire by 33 runs, despite being made to follow on.

After Berkshire plundered 388 in their first innings, with Waqas Hussain and Richard Morris both scoring centuries, Cornwall were dismissed for 211 and were asked to bat again.

They made a better job of it second time around as Alex Smeeth’s 140 guided them to a total of 371 and chasing 195 Berkshire were routed for 161, with Kelvin Snell and Shakeel Ahmed taking four wickets each.

Cumberland beat Buckinghamshire by four runs in a rain-affected game where Buckinghamshire were bowled out for 116 in their second innings, chasing a total of 121.

Wales Minor Counties overcame Shropshire by eight wickets after bowling them out for just 62 in their second innings while Ben Howgego scored a century in both innings to help Cambridgshire beat Hertfordshire by six wickets in a high-scoring contest.

Elsewhere, Lincolnshire’s clash with Staffordshire, Northumberland’s game with Norfolk and Suffolk’s visit to Bedfordshire all ended in draws.

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