ANDY Hall and Danny Leech rewrote the record books as Cheshire cruised to an impressive victory over defending Minor Counties champions Devon at Chester Boughton Hall on Tuesday.
Captain fantastic Hall (177) and opener Leech (119) shared in a record-breaking second-wicket stand of 287 as the home county triumphed in emphatic fashion in their first three-day match of the season, ending their visitors' eight-game unbeaten run.
Their combined efforts toppled the previous best second-wicket stand and best-ever Cheshire partnership of 277 by 10 runs, recorded by John Hitchmough (177no) and former county skip-per Ian Cockbain (117no) in 1980 against Wales at Neston.
Oulton Park's Leech, who missed out on selection for some of Cheshire's MCCA Knockout Trophy matches earlier this season, is no stranger to big partnerships.
Five years ago at Alderley Edge he made an unbeaten 152 for Cheshire in a 248 fourth-wicket partnership with Richard Hignett (183) against Cornwall at Alderley Edge Cricket Club.
Resuming on 4-1 overnight, Cheshire needed 291 for victory on the final day's play having routed Devon for 118 in their second innings.
Hall led from the front with three sixes and 23 fours in a superb 207-ball innings, while left-hander Leech hit one six and 18 fours in his excellent knock, which came off 213 balls.
Hall said: 'Devon are one of the best Minor Counties sides around, they proved that last year by winning the Championship, but Tuesday was about us. We've produced an excellent performance to win.
'It's great to break records. Me and Danny both enjoyed it out there, but the most important thing for us was to win.'
Tuesday's partnership capped a great comeback from Cheshire, who saw Devon post 405-9 (B Spendlove 2-36, C Finnegan 2-54, T Young 2-65, N Dumelow 2-100) in the first innings.
The hosts answered with 233 all out (J Duffy 72, M Dawson 55) but the match began to turn in their favour when they bowled Devon out for 118 in the second innings (A Syddall 6-39, C Finnegan 3-27).
It was then left to Hall and Leech to wrap up victory as Cheshire reached a winning 292-1 in 70.5 overs.