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Report form Allan Smith - 190519

Staffordshire opened their Unicorns Twenty 20 Group stage campaign by sharing the spoils with neighbours Cheshire at Nantwich with the home side winning the first encounter and Staffs hitting back to take the points from the second match.

Batting first in the opening game, Staffs got off to a sluggish start and were struggling on 38-2 until Peter Wilshaw took command and cracked 61 from just 40 deliveries to give the innings a much need boost. Wilshaw struck 8 boundaries and 3 sixes in his exhilarating knock. Captain Sam Kelsall made a composed 40 but as wickets fell it took some late order hitting from Rob Hemmings (28) and an unbeaten 17 from Dan Richardson to enable Staffs reach 171-8 off their 20 overs. Lloyd Aspin with 3-25 shone with the ball for Cheshire. 


Cheshire openers Will Evans and Rick Moore set about their task from the outset bringing up a partnership of 50 from 29 balls. Moore departed for 35 but Evans remained unbeaten on 70 (7x4,2x6) as Cheshire reached their target with 7 wickets and 16 balls to spare. ED Fluck contributed a brisk 36 to help Cheshire complete their comfortable victory.


Once again Staffs elected to bat in the second match and this time round the innings got off the a blistering start as Peter Wilshaw smashed 26 from Simon Normanton’s opening over. Wilshaw reached 52 from 20 balls including clearing the ropes five times along with three boundaries before being dismissed. Fellow opener Matthew Morris matched Wilshaw’s score and with Michael Hill contributing a quick fire 37 Staffs looked on for a score in excess of 200. However their lower order fell away as left arm spinner David Wainwright claimed 3-30 to restrict Staffs to 186-7. 


Chasing Cheshire were soon in trouble slumping to 78-5 aided by two fine pieces of boundary fielding from Brinder Phagura whose throws led to the dismissals of Ed Fluck and Furqan Shafiq. Robert Sehmi put Cheshire back in the hunt striking 61 before falling to a catch in the deep by Phagura. Jamie Crawley (37) and Lloyd Aspin (20) kept Cheshire up with the run rate but Phagura returned to the attack and pick up two crucial wickets before skipper Sam Kelsall claimed the winning catch off the bowling of Hemmings to see Cheshire dismissed for 174 with two balls remaining to clinch a 12 run success for Staffs. Phagura finished with figures of 3-24 to add to his two catches and two run outs to complete a fine day in the field. 


Cumberland, who had already beaten Cheshire twice in the competition, picked up two more wins by easily defeating Northumberland to head the group with 8 points from 4 games.


Next up for Staffs in the Twenty 20 competition Staffs play Northumberland at Rolleston Cricket Club with the first game starting at 11am and the second match 2-30pm.


Admission is free.

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