Scott inflicts record loss on Cheshire
Durham batsman Gary Scott struck a breathtaking 186 from just 109 balls as Northumberland posted a Minor Counties record 394 for six from 50 overs, in an emphatic 219-run victory against Cheshire at Jesmond Cricket Club.
Confident of building on their fine nine-wicket win at home to Shropshire in their opening qualifying group match last Sunday, Cheshire went into the MCCA Knockout Trophy match in high spirits.
But Andy Hall's side struggled to contain their hosts who inflicted a record defeat on them.
In reply Cheshire saw their innings prematurely close at 175 for nine from 33 overs, with seamer Adam Syddall unable to bat due to a badly-bruised hand.
It was Cheshire's heaviest defeat on record and leaves this year's qualifying group wide open with Staffordshire, comfortable winners at home to Cumberland, top of the table with successive victories.
Northumberland are second in the standings, but they have played a match more than Cheshire who, after their first defeat, are fourth in the table with two games to play.
It was a completely different story for Cheshire who beat Northumberland by an innings and four runs with almost two days to spare back in 2007 when they won the Championship title.
This time Northumberland were the dominate team as they won the toss and batted on a flat track.
Early wickets saw the hosts wobbling at 44 for two, but Scott's incredible innings - which included 14 fours and 12 sixes - saw Northumberland boost their own quarter-final hopes.
Scott shared a 99-run fourth-wicket partnership with Philip Nicholson, who made 35, and then a fifth wicket stand of 137 with Richard Waite, who struck 76 not out, as Northumberland scored at an impressive rate of 7.88 runs per over.
Syddall, Nathan Dumelow and Jason Whittaker all claimed a wicket each for Cheshire, but they were all expensive as Scott took no mercy on the visiting attack.
New signing Richard Logan was the pick of Cheshire's bowlers with a fine 3-43 return from 10 overs, although the former Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Surrey all-rounder was a rare light on an otherwise dark day.
Logan also top-scored with 45 from 37 balls, his innings included five fours and three sixes. But Cheshire also faced a mountain to climb and lost wickets at regular intervals, their first six for just 95 runs.
Whittaker, who hit 23 not out, shared in a welcome 62-run seventh-wicket stand with Logan, but victory was never really in Cheshire's sights.
Cheshire skipper Hall said: "It's disappointing to have lost in that fashion, but fair play to their lad [Gary Scott], he batted really well,"
"He didn't really give any chances, I don't think you'll see an innings like that for a long time. Sometimes you've just got to take your hat off to someone who plays that well.
"Northumberland played well, the pressure was always on us chasing such a huge score."
Earlier Hyde all-rounder Dan Berry withdrew from the 12-man squad with a hamstring injury, which meant Didsbury left-arm spinner Jonny Fawcett kept his starting place for the second match in a row.
Next up for Cheshire is a home clash with Staffordshire at Grappenhall Cricket Club on Sunday with an 11am start.
Hall added: "We can still qualify for the quarter-finals, but we're going to need to beat Staffs on Sunday. It's a big match for us."