Michael Slack’s magnificent seven-wicket haul followed by a ton from Sam Dutton helped secure a victory for Cumbria against Cheshire.

The match, played on Sunday at Didsbury CC, saw Cheshire win the toss and elect to bat.

With just his eighth ball Michael Slack (Carlisle CC) bowled Cheshire opener Jamie Crawley.

By the time he finished his first bowling spell Slack had bagged a further four wickets with a variety of methods (field catch by Matt Siddall, lbw, bowled, and caught behind by Wigton CC keeper Thomas Benn).

Slack and James McGown (Keswick CC) handed the balls to Paul Hindmarch (Carlisle CC) and Sam Sharp (Cockermouth CC) with Cheshire on 47-5 off 13 overs.

This first change pair continued to contain Cheshire before handing over to the spinning duo of Siddall and Nico Watt (Wigton CC).

Siddall trapped David Wainwright lbw with the last ball of his first over.

The last four Cheshire wickets were taken by Sharp (lbw), Slack (catch by Matthew Sempill, Cockermouth CC), Sharp (catch by Captain Gary Pratt, Richmondshire CC) and Slack (lbw in 47th over).

All the bowlers were very well supported by Cumbria’s organised and committed fielding unit, who coped well with a bobbly, lacrosse-affected outfield.

With a target of 173 to win Sam Dutton (formerly Furness CC, now Blackpool CC) and the indomitable Slack came to the crease. A determined Dutton scored five boundaries in his first 14 balls.

By the time Slack was out caught for a useful 19 off 57 balls in the 18th over Cumbria were already more than half way to the required total.

Nathan Waterston (Furness CC) established another good partnership with Dutton, followed by Pratt staging a quickfire cameo. Dutton eventually got out caught in the 28th over for a brilliant 102 off 79 balls with 17 fours and two sixes.

Hindmarch and Benn secured the win for Cumberland in the 34th over.

Didsbury CC, staging their first NCCA match, were excellent hosts.

The match, which was described as “unreal” by a ‘very proud Chairman of Cricket’ Gareth White, couldn’t have been a better start to the season for the Cumbrian cricketers.

Cumbria have the following fixtures coming up in the Unicorns Trophy 50-overs knockout competition:

  • Sunday June 13 vs Staffordshire at Cockermouth CC;
  • Sunday June 27 vs Northumberland at Alnmouth & Lesbury CC;
  • Sunday July 4 vs Shropshire at Netherfield CC.

A spokesman added: “Please come along and support the lads – with the new NCCA rules you are guaranteed to see at least eight Cumbrians in action.”