A SPARKLING 104 from skipper James Duffy in front of a bumper Hyde crowd went in vain as Cheshire fell to their third defeat in the MCCA KO Trophy on Sunday.

Northumberland had earlier put the Cheshire bowlers to the sword as they built on a slow start to pile on 308-5 and join Cambridgeshire in the KO Trophy quarter-finals.

Cheshire made changes after their last Trophy match, bringing in left armer Danny Cranmer from Hyde and leg spinner Jack Williams from Chester Boughton Hall, both making their debuts.

Rain earlier in the week gave Duffy food for thought after winning the toss but he eventually elected to field.

A cautious start saw the visitors reach 55 before Adam Syddall made a breakthrough. However, a second wicket partnership of 196 between youngsters Danny Young (94) and Reece Carr (66) set the foundations for a decent total. Late contributions of 54 and 50no from Jaques du Toit and Adam Cragg further punished the bowlers, Syddall bagging 3-69 while Williams finished with 1-47.

Early wickets soon put the pressure on as Cheshire’s reply got under way.

Only Warren Goodwin (27) offered any real support to a fine captain’s innings of 104 by Duffy as the hosts fell away to 205 all out in the 43rd over.

Cheshire open their three-day 2013 Championship campaign against Oxfordshire at Great and Little Tew on Sunday.