‘It’s pretty much all or nothing for us. We know we can’t afford to lose’



Will Evans will take charge of his second Cheshire game this weekend – and the magnitude of the occasion is not lost on him.

The Neston wicketkeeper-batsman oversaw a defeat by Cumbria in their opening National Counties Cricket Association Knockout Trophy group game a fortnight ago.

And Evans is well aware that a repeat outcome on their long venture up to play Northumberland at Jesmond could all-but end their hopes of qualifying for the latter stages.

“It’s quite a short tournament, only playing four matches, so if you lose the first two it’s all over for you,” said Evans.

“It’s pretty much all or nothing for us this weekend. We realise if we lose we can’t realistically qualify.

“The lads know it and the pressure that comes with it. It’s a big game and we have to win it.”

It could turn out to be a tasty encounter in the north-east with Northumberland also looking to recover from an opening loss.

They put up a stern fight against Shropshire, but ended up being beaten as former Glamorgan all-rounder Graham Wagg compiled a composed unbeaten half-century.

Evans, though, is more concerned about seeing the real Cheshire turn up at Jesmond for the Group One game on Sunday.

His captaincy bow didn’t go as planned as Cumbria seamer Michael Slack claimed seven wickets and Sam Dutton then hit a century to ease the visitors to the points at Didsbury.

“We had high hopes going into the first game, but once you slip to 23-4, it’s always going to be an uphill battle,” admitted the Cheshire captain.

“There were a couple of outstanding performances from their players, but to be fair to us, we did recover pretty well to get to 172.

“Nick Anderson (who made a half-century) was excellent, but any chance we had relied on us taking early wickets in their innings.

“Dutton scored 100 in 80 balls and that took it away from us. But we gave it a good go and had them five wickets down at the end.

“Michael Slack bowled well, but a few of the lads, myself included, needed to have a look at how they got out and the shots that were played. We thought 180 or 190 would give us an opportunity because there was a bit in the wicket, but it wasn’t to be.”

Cheshire have been dealt some selection blows for this weekend’s fixture.

All-rounder Anderson is ruled out by a calf injury, while Sam Perry is self-isolating and Jamie Crawley is unavailable.

Cheshire had hoped to bring Chester Boughton Hall duo Harry Killoran and Rick Moore, plus Nantwich’s Luke Robinson, into the side, but club cup commitments have scuppered those plans.

Instead, Evans will dish out three debuts at Jesmond.

Didsbury pair Charlie Lowen and Steve Green, plus Neston’s Dane Williams, are all drafted in. Toft all-rounder Andy Jackson is also named in the team.

Cheshire: Will Evans (cpt, Neston), Charlie Lowen (Didsbury), Sam Perry (Alderley Edge), Rob Sehmi (Oulton Park), Dane Williams (Neston), Steve Green (Didsbury), Andy Jackson (Toft), Mike Finan (Flowery Fields), David Wainwright (Castleford), Simon Normanton (Stockport Georgians), Ben Gibbon (Oulton Park).





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