CHESHIRE ace Jason Whittaker turned his team's Minor Counties Championship clash with Herefordshire on its head with a fine all-round display at Chester Boughton Hall.
The Oulton Park player was the pick of the home team's batsman with a spirited 49 not out from Cheshire's 158 all out.
And then the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League player shone with the ball with personal best figures of 7-31 from 13 overs, to leave last year's Western Division champions reeling at 81-9 at the close, after bad light had stopped play.
It was a splendid reply from the J W Lees Cheshire side who struggled against some impressive bowling from veteran pace-man Martin McCague, the former Kent bowler who took seven wickets in their first opportunity at the crease.
And with a day's play remaining, after a washout out on the opening day, Cheshire could force a result which could catapult them into the thick of the title race. "I'm really happy with the way I played. It was a hard track to bat on, but now we have every chance of winning this game," said Whittaker.
Minor Counties Championship - Western Division (Day 2 of 3, Chester Boughton Hall): CHESHIRE 1st innings: 158 all out (Jason Whittaker 49 not out, Alexis Twigg 40, Martin McCague 7-34). Herefordshire 1st innings: 81-9, 24 overs (Jason Whittaker 7-31, Simon Renshaw 2-46).