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Rain frustrates Cheshire

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Lee Dixon

Lee Dixon's innings of 37 was ultimately in vain as Cheshire's clash with Northumberland was abandoned after 28.1 overs due to rain

Cheshire know victory against Shropshire on Sunday May 29 in their last group match would guarantee them a place in this season's MCCA Knockout Trophy quarter-finals.

Andy Hall's side were left frustrated by rain as their penultimate qualifying clash at home to Northumberland had to be abandoned on Sunday.

But one point was enough to keep Hall's unbeaten charges top of Group One with just one match remaining.

Having lost the toss Cheshire were 106 for three from 28.1 overs before the wet weather brought a premature close to proceedings at Marple Cricket Club.

At 29 for two the hosts had work to do, but an unbeaten 37 from opening batsman Jonny Kettle and 37 from Lee Dixon steadied the ship before the heavens opened again and no further play was possible.

A win would have seen Cheshire secure a coveted quarter-final berth, but a welcome point now sees them a point clear of Shropshire, last season's champions, with one match left to play.

"It's frustrating we didn't get a chance to finish the match, but there's nothing you can do about the weather unfortunately," reflected Hall.

"But we're in a very strong position now, we're very hopeful of qualifying. We've not lost and we're really looking forward to this last match.

"We're not mathematically there though, but we know that if we beat Shropshire in our last match then we'll go through."

Cheshire and Shropshire will meet at Shifnal Cricket Club in a contest which should decide who wins Group One.

And Hall knows a victory, which would take his team to an impressive seven points from a possible eight, would make sure Cheshire played the runners-up of Group Four in the next stage.

"It would be great if we can carry on unbeaten through the group stage," added Hall.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and it would be nice to take that confidence through into the quarter-finals.

"We all know there's a chance to play at Lords this season if we can get to the final, it's a real incentive for everyone to be successful."

Cheshire made one late change to their original line-up with wicketkeeper Adam Worrall having dropped out and Hyde all-rounder Danny Berry installed in the starting line-up.

Nantwich's Kettle was due to keep wicket in Worral's absence.

A team for Cheshire's final qualifying match is due to be announced early next week.