On the day day England relinquished their Test No.1 spot, Shropshire’s final lingering hope of being Minor Counties top dogs were extinguished.
Cornwall’s comprehensive victory at Wales confirmed an unlikely late assault on Western Division glory from Ed Foster’s side had fallen short on the penultimate evening of the season.
But Shropshire will still today have been eager to clinch the consolation prize of victory over Devon at Whitchurch and a likely runners-up spot in the 10-division table.
Such a scenario remained firmly in the balance after another topsy-turvy day in which fortunes ebbed and flowed.
For much of three extended two hour 40 minutes sessions Shropshire did a commendable job of dragging themselves back into an encounter which looked to have been slipping away from them in the wake of Sunday’s inept batting collapse.
And yet further blips in the final session ensured both sides would have sensed victory this morning, with Shropshire due to resume on 126-5 in pursuit of 236.
The hosts appeared to be cruising as openers Ed Foster and Richard Oliver raced to 51-0 inside seven overs.
But the early introduction of Devon captain and spinner Chris Bradley worked the oracle for the reigning champions as Foster was bowled for 15 with the first ball of his spell and, five deliveries later, Alex Huxley became a leg before victim after failing to play a shot for the second time in the match.
And just when Oliver and James Ralph appeared to have steadied the ship, the home side’s chances suffered a further jolt.
Ralph looked in imperious form during a breezy 34 from 30 balls before he was bowled by seamer Mark Orchard.
And, almost immediately after, Rob Foster and Jono Whitney fell as they both picked out substitute fielder Jack Dart at point.
Earlier in the day, Shrewsbury’s Elliot Green had enjoyed a memorable passage of play.
An unbeaten 44, his highest Minor Counties score and one which formed part of a ninth wicket stand of 94 with Ed Foster, ensured Shropshire limited the first innings deficit to just 27 as they were dismissed for 129.
And leg spinner Green then joined Shifnal’s Tom Friend in claiming four wickets as Shropshire dismissed Devon for 208, Rob Woodman top scoring for the visitors with 70, to leave Shropshire requiring the biggest total of the match to seal victory.