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Cheshire enjoy winning start

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James Duffy

James Duffy starred for Cheshire in their second innings at Colwall Cricket Club, thumping a superb 86 from just 70 deliveries © Derrick Hastings

Cheshire made the perfect start to the defence of their Minor Counties Championship Western Division title with a 94-run victory over Herefordshire at Colwall Cricket Club.

Despite heavy rain reducing the match to two days, Cheshire captain Andy Hall and opposite number Chris Boroughs were both keen for a result and agreed their teams would bat a maximum of 55 overs each in their first innings.

The decision ultimately worked in the visitors’ favour and, after setting a target of 345 in 64 overs, they dismissed Herefordshire for 250 on the final day, despite a fine century from wicketkeeper-batsman Steve Adhsead.

"It's a very good start for us, we've done well to get a victory in two days," reflected Hall.

"We agreed that we would bat 55 overs in the first innings to see if could get a result. I'm glad the decision worked in our favour."

Herefordshire were on course for victory with former Gloucester keeper Adshead in full flow alongside attacking left-hander Brad Wadlan.

But Cheshire opening bowler Richard Logan prized out Wadlan for 51 and Adshead was dismissed for 109 after tea by James Warrington.

Cheshire wasted little time in picking up Herefordshire's three remaining wickets for just 28 runs to guarantee them 22 points for their efforts and second place behind Berkshire in the Western Division table.

"We've had a good start to the season, so hopefully we can kick on and get another win to keep us right up there," added Hall.

"It was a good match. They probably felt they were going to win it when Adshead and Wadlan were at the crease, they were going well at about seven runs an over.

"But once we got them both out the game we pulled the match back into our favour.

"It was a pleasing win because there were a lot of very good contributions, we played well as a team.”

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Cheshire started brightly and declared their first innings on 300 for six.

Number three Richard Wilkinson top-scored with 98 not out, while openers Warren Goodwin and Jonny Kettle contributed 62 and 47 respectively.

Herefordshire initially struggled in reply, but an unbeaten 51 from number nine Daniel Vernon lifted them to 233 for eight and Cheshire ended the penultimate day with work to do on 66 for four in their second innings.

However, James Duffy’s 70-ball 86, allied with a maiden half-century from nightwatchman Adam Syddall and a rapid unbeaten 46 from Logan, put the visitors back in control.

Left-arm spinner Vernon returned 4-51 for Herefordshire and Luke Sellers impressed with 3-45 from 16 overs, but their team were left with a daunting run-chase.

Herefordshire duly slipped to 34 for three, but Adshead and Wadlan put on 117 for the fourth wicket before Wadlan was caught by Hall off Logan.

Two more wickets fell to leave Herefordshire struggling on 193 for six, but it was the crucial wicket of Adshead - out for 109 from 114 balls - which saw Cheshire push on for a deserved victory.

Logan and Warrington both claimed three wickets each, while Syddall and Wilkinson picked up two scalps.

Next up for Cheshire is a three-day home clash with Cornwall at Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club, starting on June 26.