CHESHIRE demonstrated the improvement captain Rick Moore was looking for when they began the defence of their Unicorns Knockout Trophy with a victory on Sunday.

A 33-run win against Northumberland at Toft put behind them two disappointing performances in defeat against Cumberland during their T20 group-stage opener seven days earlier.

“It was important to get back to winning ways,” said Moore, a former Oulton Park player.

“We also want to put up a good show in this competition after going all the way last year.”

Moore (94), who turned 30 the previous day, led from the front with a patient half-century as the home team posted 257-7 after winning the toss.

Will Evans (39) and Calum Rowe (26) laid a foundation, putting on 75 for the first wicket, before Moore and Jamie Crawley (36) then added 102 for the third.

A century from Adam Hickey (112) kept his side in contention, but they lost wickets at crucial times and were always behind the required run-rate.

James Thompson (41) was the only one to provide sustained support and when Hickey was eighth out with the score on 210 the visitors’ hopes faded quickly.

Chris Sanders marked his return to the Cheshire team with 4-43 as Northumberland closed on 224 all out.