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Bucks take Minor Counties crown

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Cheshire's hopes of chasing 401 to win were dashed after they slipped to 172 for seven on the final day at Slough CC

Buckinghamshire were crowned Minor Counties champions after beating Cheshire by 117 runs in the final at Slough CC.

Set an unlikely 401 to win, Cheshire were bowled out for 283 on the final day as they slipped to their first championship defeat in three years.

All-rounder Sam Cherry claimed 5-85 and Paul Sawyer 3-83 to undermine Cheshire’s pursuit, although Ben Spendlove hit a defiant 92 and Dan Berry an unbeaten 50 to keep Cheshire’s faint hopes alive after they slipped to 172 for seven.

Ultimately, their 97-run stand for the eighth wicket merely delayed the inevitable, and left Buckinghamshire celebrating a first championship triumph since 1987.

“It would have been nice to have finished our centenary year by winning the title,” said Cheshire team manager Sandy Scrimgeour. “But we have to pride ourselves with the fact that we were the Western Division champions.

“We were always under pressure in this match. We were out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded. There was a brilliant recovery on the final day from the two lads at the bottom of the order, but 400 was too far.”

He added: “There were plenty of positives right the way through the season. To win our conference after losing six days of cricket was a marvellous effort.”

Scrimgeour will have to cope with the retirements of Jason Whittaker and Chris Finegan, while he hopes Andy Hall will continue as skipper.

“Rick Moore has really come on in place of Danny Leach at the top of the order, while Dan Berry has been excellent again with bat and ball,” he said. “There is plenty for us to work with now.”