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Devon scrape past Cheshire

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Adam Syddall

Three cheap second-innings wickets for Adam Syddall could not prevent Cheshire slipping to defeat against Devon at Torway

Cheshire’s Minor Counties Championship challenge is hanging by a thread after they suffered a second successive defeat.

They went down to Devon by three wickets at Torquay today, a further setback given their defeat to Cornwall last month.

Set 91 to win on the final day of a low-scoring match, Devon survived a bout of nerves amid growing Cheshire pressure to sneak home thanks to opener Rob Holman’s 38.

Holman had made 64 in Devon’s first-innings 237, which earned them an advantage of 46. Cheshire’s collapse to 136 all out in the second innings - initiated by Christopher Bradley’s 6-31 - ultimately sealed their fate.

With just three matches remaining, Cheshire know their hopes of winning the Western Division have all but disappeared.

Group leaders Berkshire claimed a third straight win and now hold a healthy advantage at the summit at the halfway stage in the campaign.

“It’s not impossible, but it’s going to take a lot for us to catch Berkshire now - we’re pretty much out of the race,” admitted Cheshire skipper Andy Hall.

“Our batting let us down again. We just didn’t score enough runs unfortunately and that’s cost us for a second match in a row.

“We did really well to keep Devon to a slender first-innings lead, but then we fell away again with the bat and didn’t leave them enough runs to chase. It’s frustrating because we all know we can play better than that.”

Holman had made 64 in Devon’s first-innings 237, which earned them an advantage of 46. Cheshire’s collapse to 136 all out in the second innings - initiated by Christopher Bradley’s 6-31 - ultimately sealed their fate.

All-rounder Richard Logan top-scored with 37 in a total of 191 after Cheshire won the toss and chose to bat, while Trevor Anning took 4-28 from 19 overs and David Lye 3-15.

Holman, with 64, and Matt Thompson, who made 44, shared an opening stand of 96 for Devon, but they were thankful for Lye’s 37 and 26 from skipper Neil Hancock as they overcame a wobble to post 237. Danny Woods claimed 3-52.

Cheshire lost both openers on the second evening and slumped from 75 for two to 136 all out the following day as spinner Bradley prospered.

Three early wickets for Adam Syddall gave Cheshire hope of victory, but Holman stood firm as Devon scraped over the line after 42.5 overs.

Cheshire: 191 (Logan 37, Duffy 33, Anning 4-28, Lye 3-15)
Devon: 237 (Holman 64, Thompson 44, Lye 37, Woods 3-52)
Cheshire: 136 (Wilkinson 32, Bradley 6-31)
Devon: 93 for seven (Holman 38, Syddall 3-33)

Devon (22pts) beat Cheshire (5pts) by three wickets