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It's now three out of three in Western Division

It's now three out of three in Western Division

By Dave Wright
23rd July
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Stand-in skipper Tom Nugent takes 5 wickets against stubborn Cheshire

Berkshire 275 and 229 beat Cheshire 89 and 267 by 148 runs.

Defending champions Berkshire have reached the half-way stage of their Western Division fixtures with a 100-per-cent record.
Following on from their full house last year, they made it three wins out of three this season by defeating a stubborn Cheshire side by 148 runs at Finchampstead CC.
The national title holders were dismissed for scores of 275 and 229 - due in no small measure to some excellent spin bowling from Cheshire at a ground renowned for its big scores - but produced two outstanding bowling performances themselves, shooting out the visitors for just 89 in the first innings and then for 267.
Having set Cheshire an impossible 416 to win, Berkshire found the opposition a much tougher nut to crack on the final day with the northerners showing no intention of going down without a fight.
Their resistance was led by Robert Sehmi who made 76 off 158 balls after spending more than two and a half hours at the crease.
His brave innings ended in the final over before lunch when he was trapped lbw by Tom Nugent, who then clean bowled Simon Normanton with the very next ball to leave Cheshire 186-7.
Nugent followed up with two more dismissals in the afternoon session and nine wickets were down for 200. And with the temperature rising, Berkshire were hoping to finish the game off quickly.
However, David Wainwright, in particular, and last man Michael Finan kept their cool and they made Berkshire sweat for an hour.
Wainwright finished unbeaten on 59 off 111 balls while debutant Finan fell lbw to Chris Peploe for 22 off 61 balls, the pair adding 67 for the last wicket.
Nugent finished with excellent figures of 5-41 off 16 overs, while Peploe claimed 3-61 from 36.4.
Henley paceman Nugent was captaining the side in place of James Morris, who had cracked a bone in his right hand during net practice on Sunday. It led to James switching roles with the original 12th man, Henley bowler Harry Jordan.
Berkshire were also without Dan Lincoln on the final day after he had been a late addition to the Middlesex squad for their Vitality Blast game with Surrey at the Kia Oval on Tuesday evening. The bold-hitting batsman didn't make the final XI, but was still delighted at having the chance of meeting and sharing the same dressing room as South African superstar AB de Villiers.
It was Dan's first time with the senior side, although the Finchampstead skipper is a regular in their 2nd XI and had crashed 118 off 50 balls in a Twenty20 game last week.
Berkshire head coach Tom Lambert, who plays for Datchet, was the substitute fielder at Finchampstead on Tuesday, his first county appearance since the MCCA Trophy final at Lord's in 2011 when Berkshire defeated Hertfordshire.
His side are just one game away from reaching this season's one-day final at Wormsley, meeting Wiltshire in the semis at Finchampstead on Sunday, August 11th (11am start). Before that, there is another championship fixture - away to Shropshire at Shifnal on August 4th-6th.
Berkshire, the only side to have won their three opening fixtures, head the Western Division table with 68 points, followed by Dorset and Wiltshire both with 56 and Oxfordshire 52, so it's quite tight in the title race with three games left. Then come Shropshire on 36 points, Devon with 35, Cornwall 34, Herefordshire 29, Cheshire 20 and Wales Minor Counties 13. As well as Shropshire, Berkshire have to play Cornwall at St Austell on August 18th-20th and Dorset at Wargrave on September 1st-3rd.

Picture: Stand-in skipper Nugent leads Berkshire off the field after the win over Cheshire

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