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Cheshire face must-win clash

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James Duffy

James Duffy will lead Cheshire against Wales in the absence of Andy Hall. "I'm looking forward to the challenge," he explained © Derrick Hastings

Cheshire take on Wales at Nantwich in their next MCCA Championship fixture knowing they must record a convincing victory if they are to remain in the Western Division title race.

Having opened the season with an impressive win away to Herefordshire, Cheshire’s title chances have been dented by two disappointing defeats, at the hands of Cornwall and Devon.

As a result, they now lie 24 points adrift of second-placed Devon, with leaders Berkshire - the only team to have won all three of their games - a further 16 points clear.

James Duffy will captain Cheshire this week in the absence of long-serving skipper Andy Hall, who is set to step down at the end of the season after 10 years in charge.

Duffy said: “Andy’s unavailability is obviously a disappointment for us because he’s been an inspirational leader and a prolific run-scorer. But I’m looking forward to the challenge, and we’ve brought in a very promising player in Ollie Law as Andy’s replacement.

Chester Boughton Hall’s Law, who has been in outstanding form for his club this season, will be making his debut for the county.

Wales have failed to win any of their three games to date and prop up the Western Division, but Duffy is refusing to be complacent.

“Wales may be bottom of the division but we know they are a difficult team to beat,” he added. “They have some very good players and, on their day, can beat anyone.”

On the position Cheshire find themselves, he commented: “The two defeats have cost us dearly, but whilst it’s still mathematically possible to win the championship, we will be going all out to do so.”

Apart from the inclusion of Law for Hall, the rest of the team is unchanged from the defeat at Devon.

Cheshire squad: Warren Goodwin, Jonny Kettle (wicketkeeper), James Duffy (captain), Richard Wilkinson, Lee Dixon, Danny Berry, Ollie Law, Richard Logan, Adam Syddall, Danny Woods, Jimmy Warrington, Ross Dixon (12th man).