By Roy Honeybone

Wiltshire’s first match in the Unicorns County Championship against Cheshire at Chester Broughton Hall CC petered out into a draw on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday after 31 overs were lost to rain on the first day and the whole of the third day was washed out.

Cheshire won the toss and elected to bat. Cheshire lost their skipper Danny Leech clean bowled by Luke Evans with only 5 runs on the board. Evans struck again when he had Crawley superbly caught in the slips by Neil Clark. However, Rick Moore stood firm and built a fine innings of 87 before Evans claimed his third victim when Moore was caught by wicketkeeper Tom Morton.

Jake Lintott entered the fray and took the wickets of Furgan Shafiq caught by Tom Morton after a quickfire 59 from just 54 balls. Calum Rowe 71 with another catch from Neil Clark and Simon Normanton caught and bowled for 39.

In the meantime, some sharp fielding from Wiltshire saw Neil Clark run out Robert Sehmi for 39 and Joe King run out David Wainwright for two. Luke Evans returned to send Andrew Jackson’s stump cartwheeling for seven and Jake Lintott teased Ben Aitchison as he was stumped by Tom Morton for seven. Lintott finished with four for 44 and Evans four for 62 as Cheshire closed on 352 all out.

In reply Wiltshire had several players who made good starts with Ed Young 20, Jake Goodwin 32, Uzi Qureshi 26 and Neil Clarke 25 all looking well set.  With the score on a disappointing 109 for four, Jake Lintott, 59, was joined by Tahir Afridi 49.  They pushed the score on to a more respectable 191 before Afridi fell just one short of his half century. Brad Dawson, Tom Morton and Joe King all fell cheaply as Luke Evans (19 not out) attempted to hold the tail together for as long as possible. Will Harries, 12, was the last man to go, but not before he had struck a couple of fine boundaries including a maximum, as Wiltshire closed on 257 all out, a deficit of 95 runs.

Cheshire began their second innings cautiously.  Luke Evans carried on where he left off and soon had Rick Moore (the hero of Cheshire’s first innings) clean bowled for one. He then had Crawley caught behind by Tom Morton in a devastating opening spell of eight overs, five maidens and two wickets for a meagre seven runs. He also had an unsuccessful LBW appeal against the skipper Danny Leech which must have been close. However, Joe King eventually got Leech caught by Tom Morton for just 11 from 63 balls. At close of play on day two Cheshire were 58 for three from 29 overs, a lead of 153 runs.

Might there have been a run chase for Wiltshire on day three? Sadly we shall never know because that was when the weather took over and no more play was possible. Match drawn – Cheshire 12 points, Wiltshire 10 points.

Cheshire 1st innings 352
Rick Moore 87, Callum Rowe 71
Luke Evans 4 -62, Jake Lintott 4-44.
Wiltshire 1st innings 257
Jake Lintott 59, Tahir Afridi 49
David Wainwright 4-59
Cheshire 2nd innings 58 -3
Luke Evans 2-7.

Full stats: http://mcca.play-cricket.com/website/results/3887708

On Sunday, June 30 Wiltshire take on Oxfordshire at Aston Rowant in the quarter final of the Unicorns Knock Out Trophy (50 overs) with play starting at 11.00am.

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