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Hall signs off in style for Cheshire

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Andy Hall

Andy Hall admitted it was "quite emotional" to mark the end of his reign as Cheshire captain in some style © David Bailey

Andy Hall hailed his Cheshire side after they claimed a memorable victory in his last match as captain.

Hall had plenty to smile about as Cheshire coasted to an impressive eight-wicket win over Oxfordshire at Alderley Edge CC.

After 10 years in charge, Hall is confident he has helped lay the foundations for the current crop of players to develop further under the leadership of James Duffy.

“It was a really special feeling to win my last match as captain; it’s a great way to end the season for me,” said Hall.

“It is quite emotional to be honest because I've been skipper for a long time and I'm going to miss captaining the lads. But I know they're in safe hands with Duffers; he'll do a great job.

“I know that I can't carry on playing forever, but it’s an absolute privilege to play for Cheshire and to then captain the county, especially for such a long time.

“There’s going to be lots of things I'm going to miss, but I’m moving on now and I’ll always be there for Duffers if he needs any advice. He’s a great lad and I’m sure the rest of the team will want to do well for him.”

Having lost the toss, Hall was happy to see his side asked to bat first on a decent-looking wicket.

Oxfordshire’s decision to field quickly came back to haunt them despite the early scalp of wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Kettle.

Opener Warren Goodwin and Richard Wilkinson - playing at his former club - made 66 and 96 respectively, sharing an important second-wicket partnership of 121 to get Cheshire back on track.

Lee Dixon hit 61 and Duffy a brutal 103 from just 89 balls, with 10 fours and three sixes, to put the hosts firmly in the driving seat.

Hall himself eased to an elegant 61 from 61 balls and Richard Logan 34 from just 23 to help take Cheshire to an imposing 460 for nine from 90 overs.

Former Middlesex and Sussex pace bowler Chad Keegan was the pick of the Oxfordshire attack with 4-103, but in reply the visitors were bowled out for 203 as left-arm spinner Danny Woods claimed 5-52 from 26 overs. Logan picked up 3-68.

Richard West top-scored with 54, but he was the only player to make a half-century as Oxfordshire were asked to follow on 257 behind.

They fared much better in their second innings as four of the top five made sizeable contributions: Charlie Knightley weighed in with 70, Jamie Perkin 65 - despite a badly swollen elbow - Alex Jewell 56 and Jonny Cater 48.

Knightley and Cater shared a battling third-wicket partnership of 106, but the visitors slipped from 204 for three to 307 all out.

Wilkinson finished with 5-65 and Woods and James Warrington shared four wickets for Cheshire, who overhauled a target of 51 for the loss of Goodwin and Kettle. Wilkinson capped a fine performance by finishing unbeaten on 31.

Wilkinson was the destroyer with a superb 5-65 return in 17 overs, while Woods and James Warrington both picked up two wickets.

A fourth victory of the season saw Cheshire finish third in the Western Division, which was won by Devon.

“It's a shame we couldn’t win anything this season, but there’s a lot of quality in the team and more good young players coming through, it's exciting times for Cheshire,” said Hall.

Cheshire: 460-9 dec (Duffy 103, Wilkinson 96, Goodwin 66, Hall 61, Dixon 61, Keegan 4-103)
Oxfordshire: 203 (West 54, Woods 5-52, Logan 3-68)
Oxfordshire: (following on) 307 (Knightley 70, Perkin 65, Jewell 56, Cater 48, Wilkinson 5-65)
Cheshire: 51-2 (Wilkinson 31*)

Cheshire (24pts) beat Oxfordshire (5pts) by eight wickets