County shine in Shropshire sun
Shropshire sparkled in the Bank Holiday sunshine to notch a winning double over Oxfordshire to kickstart their Twenty20 campaign in the new competition for Minor Counties clubs, writes Stuart Dunn.
Just 24 hours after losing twice away to a strong Berkshire side, Shropshire delighted their T20 skipper Will Parton by producing two strong displays.
They won the day’s opening game by 63 runs and also came out on top in game two by six wickets.
Shropshire, invited to bat first in the opening game, rattled up 177-6 from their 20 overs.
Openers Jack Edwards (32) and Parton (26) set the tempo by quickly putting on 73.
Then Bridgnorth duo Ryan Lockley (36) and Simon Gregory (30) kept the scoreboard ticking over, with Richard Kaufman claiming 3-22 for the visitors.
Oxfordshire, in reply, were soon reduced to 27-3 and, despite skipper Jonny Cater hitting 40, they ended well adrift of their target on 114-9.
Tyler Ibbotson, playing at his home club ground, took 2-11 while there was also some joy with the ball for Alex Wyatt (2-19) and Alexei Kervezee (2-20).
Game two saw Oxfordshire decide to bat first and they fell away from 77-4 to be dismissed for 112 off the penultimate ball of their innings.
Cater once again top-scored with 42, but Shropshire – whose side included youngsters Sam Ellis, the Whitchurch all-rounder, and Bridgnorth’s former Sentinel man David Laird – collectively bowled well.
Kervezee (3-12), Gurjit Sandhu (3-17) and Sam Whitney (3-27) were all among the wickets.
Shropshire started brightly in pursuit of their target with skipper Parton hitting two sixes and five fours in a quick-fire 43 from 21 deliveries.
Shifnal’s Ross Aucott then saw the job through with an unbeaten 36 from 23 balls as Shropshire progressed to 115-4 inside 16 overs to complete a good day’s work.
Parton, who was impressed with how the county’s bowlers performed, added: “We lost wickets against Berkshire in clusters and wrong periods of the game, but we did well this time to keep the scoreboard ticking over and we didn’t get bogged down.
“We took advantage of all the gaps in the field and made sure we got ourselves a good score.
“I was impressed that we learnt so quickly from the Berkshire game.”
Shropshire’s third T20 group double header will be at Colwall against Herefordshire on May 27 before a home clash against Buckinghamshire at Whitchurch on June 17.
Shropshire are next in action on Sunday, May 20 when they face Staffordshire at Himley in the second round of the Unicorns Trophy.