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Shropshire in the semis after thriller

Cricket | Published:

Shropshire are through to the semi-finals of the Unicorns Trophy after holding their nerve to pull off an impressive three-wicket win at Norfolk.

Steve Leach in action for Shropshire last year.

After exciting victories over Herefordshire and Staffordshire in the previous rounds, it was another thriller with Shropshire this time getting home with three balls to spare at Manor Park, Horsford, Norwich.

Four wickets from Wellington seamer Jack Twigger - who had been set to be 12th man until Alex Wyatt was ruled out by a shoulder injury - helped restrict Norfolk to 246-8 from their 50 overs before half centuries from Steve Leach and Alexei Kervezee set up a successful chase.

Simon Gregory and Gurjit Sandhu saw the job through to seal another memorable win for the delighted visitors.

Shropshire, in reply, soon lost Ali, bowled by France for 13, but Leach and Will Parton took the score from 26-1 to 82-2 during a productive partnership worth 58, which was ended when Parton was bowled by home captain Ashley Watson for 21.

Leach had moved on to 60 from 70 balls, with six fours, when he departed caught and bowled by Findlay.

Kervezee also notched a half century, hitting three sixes and three boundaries, before falling for 59 from 50 deliveries, caught behind by Sam Groves off Brett Stolworthy.

From being well set at 190-3, Shropshire suddenly found themselves on 199-6 as Clarke, who hit an unbeaten century in the last round at Staffordshire, was trapped leg before by Watson for two and then Aucott was removed by Stolworthy for a brisk 35.

There was still work to be done when Whitney was caught by Watson off Stolworthy (3-46) for six to leave Shropshire on 213-7. But then wicketkeeper Gregory (19no) and former Middlesex man Sandhu (25no), who had a runner for the closing stages after being struck on the leg by the ball as he scampered a quick single, guided the happy visitors home.

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“Gurj had a runner and it just added to it a little bit,” said Leach. “He played a really good hand and Simon Gregory was very composed at the end, so all credit to them.

“It was a real team performance and we thoroughly deserved to win this match.”

Shropshire join Cheshire, Devon and Suffolk in the last four of the competition.

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