It proved a tough day for Shropshire at Horsford CC’s Manor Park ground, near Norwich, with the result meaning Shropshire finished bottom of Group 3, with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, the group’s top two, progressing to the knockout stages of the 50-over competition.
Shropshire will begin their NCCA Championship campaign this weekend with the first of the county’s four three-day fixtures taking them to Corsham to face Wiltshire, a match which starts on Sunday. Shropshire were bowled out by Norfolk for 96, before the hosts, in reply, advanced to 98-2.
Captain Graham Wagg said: ‘’It turned out to be a tough day after the boys had made the very long trip to Norwich. Some did not arrive until well after 2am in the morning after their league games. It took one player six hours to get there.
“We got off to a good start, but then lost wickets and never recovered. Their bowlers hit the seam and did just enough. It was, of course, disappointing, but that’s cricket when your luck is down. The team tried their best in the field and there were one or two encouraging signs.
“Availability has been a struggle over the last month or so with late injuries, illness, exams and work commitments, but fingers crossed we are now looking much better in terms of availability, going ahead into the Championship games, starting at Corsham on Sunday against Wiltshire.
“Despite this defeat and the loss against Cambridgeshire, there remains a good spirit within the team and we are very keen to turn matters round.
“We are also looking to bring in if possible one or two new players which will strengthen the squad and help the youngsters.
“Increased competition for places is all important going into the second half of the season.”
Openers Andre Bradford and David Laird put on 32 for the first wicket after Shropshire had been asked to bat by Norfolk, before Bradford was bowled by Andy Hanby for 10.
Wickets then started to fall regularly, with Bridgnorth all-rounder Laird top scoring with 27, which included five boundaries.
There were also contributions from Ben Roberts (17) and Wem’s Andy Harrison (15), who was one of three debutants, along with Sentinel’s Ed Ashlin and Oswestry’s Alex Selby, in the Shropshire side.
But Norfolk continued to pick up wickets, with Callum Metcalf taking 4-26 and Brett Stolworthy 3-36, as Shropshire were bowled out for 96 inside 27 overs.
Norfolk, in reply, lost Freddie Fairey, caught and bowled by Roberts for 12, but they were well on their way to victory by the time Ben Wilcox, caught by Roberts off Charlie Walker for 22, was out with the score on 72.
Captain Sam Arthurton ended unbeaten on 44, from 71 balls, with five fours, as he led Norfolk to 98-2 inside 21 overs, joined in the middle as victory was completed by former Leicestershire player Tom New (8no).