Shropshire need 55 runs to clinch victory against Cornwall
Shropshire are 55 runs from victory going into the final day of their fast-moving Unicorns Championship clash with Cornwall.
But it could still prove a tense finish at Bridgnorth on Tuesday with the hosts having just five wickets remaining on a wearing wicket where the spinners are causing havoc.
Their hopes rely heavily on Oswestry all-rounder Warrick Fynn, who has produced a terrific performance worthy of winning any game.
Fynn followed up his six wickets in the first innings with five more in the second to finish with a match haul of 11-124, not quite his career best.
At one point Fynn reduced Cornwall to 31-6 in their second innings but they were revived by a masterful 94 from 97 balls from former captain Matt Robins.
Robins played with assurance against the spinners but he missed out on a century as he was caught behind off Ben Roberts when Shropshire turned to seam.
Thanks to Robins, Cornwall were able to set Shropshire 230 to win.
Captain Joe Carrasco led Shropshire’s chase with a half century.
But once fellow opener Will Parton departed immediately after tea after sharing a stand of 65 for the first wicket, it gave Cornwall some hope and slow left-armer Andrew Libby chipped away with three wickets.
Shropshire, with Fynn unbeaten on 29, ended the day on 175-5 and looking well placed to record their first Western Division victory of the season.
Day two had started with Shropshire on 179-6 in their first innings, 70 runs adrift.
But any hopes of gaining a first-innings advantage soon went as Jack Edwards added just two to his overnight score before departing for nine.
Sam Ellis made just one before the other batsman who was in overnight, Simon Gregory, edged behind for 33.
When Greg Smith (5-52) removed Roberts for three, Carrasco’s men had collapsed to 195 all out, giving Cornwall an advantage of 54. Shropshire made the unusual move to open the bowling with spinner Fynn and the decision paid dividends in his second over when skipper Scott Harvey offered a catch to Parton and was out for two.
Fynn then had Jack Paull stumped for two and Smith leg before for 12 to leave the visitors reeling at 22-3.
Alexei Kervezee struck twice in one over to claim the wickets of Charlie Kent (eight) and Tom wells (four) and, when Gregory stumped Christian Purchase for a duck off the bowling of Fynn, Cornwall had been reduced to 31-6.
But Robins batted defiantly and his 94 came quickly off just 97 balls.
A stand of 61 for the seventh wicket with James Turpin got the visitors back on track before the latter went for 35.
Libby and Jonathan Ludlam hung around long enough to help Robins get the visitors to 175 and set what looked a challenging target.
But Shropshire got the good start they needed to reach tea at 65-0 before Parton went for 29 straight after the break.
Ludlam claimed the key wicket of Carrasco for 50 when he was caught behind by Harvey.
Debutant Xavie Clarke made 22 before becoming the first of Libby’s three victims when he was trapped leg before.
Kervezee made just nine before being caught behind and Gregory was out for 21 as the day headed towards a close.
With Fynn at the crease Shropshire will be confident of getting the runs they need, but getting over the line could still prove far from straightforward.