CHESHIRE reached the final of the British Senior County Championship for the first time in more than a decade after beating Wales on Sunday.

They now have a chance next month to add to a haul of 11 titles, the most recent of which they claimed back in 2003.

A margin of 19 chalks separated the two teams following victories for Cheshire in both the home and away legs.

In the sunshine at Winsford Cons, the visitors were left to play catch-up after losing three of the first four blocks to trail by 20.

Thomas Vickers (Wharton Cons) and Andy Hamman (Castle Private) were convincing winners, while Jimmy Harrop recovered from 8-0 adrift to beat Nick Hughes of Conwy.

A superb break of nine allowed the Wharton Cons man to edge ahead, although he produced his best end to clinch victory when his opponent was lying all but 19.

However Wales rallied to win three of the four middle blocks, including a come-from-behind success for Chris Slater (Rhos Park) against Cheshire captain Jason Cornes.

Simon Cookson (Wharton Cons) lost to 20, while Castle Private’s Ian Howell rallied from well down to score 18 in a head-to-head with John Bonatti.

Stuart Kellett, from Comberbach, saw off Simon Tyler 21-15 on his return to the county team following a six-year hiatus.

Cheshire led by 21 before the final four matches, which they shared with the visitors.

Rob Winnington (Castle Private) was always in control against Andy Delooze, while Wharton Cons’ Shaun Yearsley played brilliantly to overturn a deficit in the afternoon’s final encounter.

Castle’s Paul Mackie picked up 15 against Andrew Hughes, while Matt Thurlwell (Comberbach) – like Howell earlier – reduced a sizeable deficit to score 16 in defeat to Mike Riley.

At Trefnant, Castle Private duo Dave O’Brien and Steve Curbishley were two of Cheshire’s five winners in a slender, but no less impressive, one-chalk aggregate victory.

Glynn Cookson (Wharton Cons) lost to 18 against Adam Penlington.

Cornes, Cookson and Kellett played in all of the away games during Cheshire’s championship-winning campaign 12 years ago, which concluded with a victory against South Yorkshire in the final.

They will hope to repeat the trick when Cheshire take on defending champions Warwick & Worcester in next month’s final.


British Senior County Championship

Semi final

Sunday, August 2

At Winsford Cons

Cheshire v Wales

Thomas Vickers (Wharton Cons) 21-11 Leighton Roberts (Esclusham)

Steve Morrey (Queen’s Park) 17-21 Paul Hallett (Esclusham)

Jimmy Harrop (Wharton Cons) 21-20 Nick Hughes (Conwy)

Andy Hamman (Castle Private) 21-8 Keith Bailey (Beaumaris)

Jason Cornes (Castle Private) 20-21 Chris Slater (Rhos Park)

Stuart Kellett (Comberbach) 21-15 Simon Tyler (Gresford Colliery)

Simon Cookson (Wharton Cons) 20-21 Gerwyn Davies (Gresford Colliery)

Ian Howell (Castle Private) 18-21 John Bonatti (Coed Talon)

Rob Winnington (Castle Private) 21-16 Andy Delooze (Gresford Colliery)

Paul Mackie (Castle Private) 15-21 Andrew Hughes (Gresford Colliery)

Matt Thurlwell (Comberbach) 16-21 Mike Riley (Broughton)

Shaun Yearsley (Wharton Cons) 21-18 Craig Griffiths (Esclusham)

Cheshire 232-214 Wales


At Trefnant

Wales v Cheshire

Trevor Heath (St Asaph) 20-21 Carl Armitage (Houldsworth WMC)

Adam Penlington (Broughton) 21-18 Glynn Cookson (Wharton Cons)

Andy Jones (St Asaph) 13-21 Dave O’Brien (Castle Private)

Jason Jones (Abergele) 21-12 Phil Davies (St Oswald’s)

Paul Walley (Abergele) 21-9 Tommy Johnstone (Houldsworth WMC)

Kris Fearnley (St Asaph) 21-19 Lee Fletcher (Lloyd Hotel)

Lewis Scott (St Asaph) 21-18 Noel Burrows (Sale Excelsior)

Matthew Roberts (Broughton) 21-18 Ryan Sandham (Poynton)

Steve Lawley (Rhos Park) 8-21 Michael McDonnell (Lloyd Hotel)

Peter Jones (Conwy) 11-21 Steve Curbishley (Castle Private)

Francis Penlington (Broughton) 16-21 Paul Dooley (Poynton)

Neale Charlton (Fron Park) 21-17 Lee Johnstone (Houldsworth WMC)

Wales 215-216 Cheshire

Cheshire 448 Wales 429