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Key man Ralph turns the game Quatt’s way

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Quatt skipper Craig Jones was quick to praise a standout innings from James Ralph as his side extended their perfect start to the Shropshire County League season.

On a day when the bowlers held the upper hand, former Shropshire skipper Ralph contributed a priceless half-century to help steer Quatt to victory in a low-scoring clash with Sentinel.

Ralph made 53 as Quatt were dismissed for 115 with opener Ryan Wheldon the only other batsman to reach 20.

Quatt’s much vaunted bowling attack then hit their straps again to shoot out the hosts for just 64 in reply.

Gareth Jones led the way again with his five-wicket haul taking his tally to 17 in three games, while Ralph completed a fine game by picking up 3-4.

But it was Ralph’s efforts with the bat that delighted skipper Jones.

“After the weather we had last week it was a difficult pitch to bat on for everyone except James,” said Jones,

“James showed his quality with the bat. He was the biggest difference between the sides. “Without his innings we wouldn’t have had enough. It was the standout innings of the day.

“We thought 140 would be a really competitive score and at tea I was a touch concerned that we hadn’t got enough.

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“But having listened to what the lads were saying about the pitch, I still thought we had a chance if we bowled well and picked up some early wickets.

“And that’s what we did. You don’t expect to win by 50 when you have scored just over 100 but we bowled really well.

“Gareth picked up another five wickets and James bagged three but I thought Scott Furber was our best bowler. He didn’t get the wickets he deserved.

“It was a great effort, we just kept the pressure on and they couldn’t score and in the end something had to give.”

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The victory left Quatt in second place, tied on 72 points with leaders Newport, who also recorded a third straight success.

Whitchurch were the latest side to be swept aside by Jamie Prew’s in-form outfit.

A high-quality display with the ball set up the win as Whitchurch were rolled over for 94 having won the toss and elected to bat. Matthew Batkin top scored with an unbeaten 30 batting at number eight.

Sam Davies returned the best figures with 6-45 but skipper Prew also had words of appreciation for experienced seamer Mark Downes who took 2-18 from 10 overs.

“It was a good pitch and I would have batted first if I had won the toss,” said Prew.

“The pitch wasn’t a minefield we just bowled really well.

“They couldn’t handle Sam’s pace and movement but Mark also bowled really well. He built a lot of pressure at the other end and on another day he could easily have had five wickets himself.

“We talk a lot about bowling in partnerships and that was the case on Saturday.”

An unbeaten 46 from Mas Hasnain and 31 not out from Ed Fowler then saw Newport to an eight-wicket triumph.

“We lost a couple of early wickets but Mas helped see us home quite comfortably,” added Prew.

“Mas has a lot of experience and it’s great to have that at the top of the order.”

Reigning champions Wem claimed their second win of the season courtesy of a 56-run success at home to Madeley.

Having opted to bat first, opener Raj Biswa made 40 and Matthew Cohen 34 but Wem were indebted to an unbroken sixth-wicket stand between Tom Astley (50) and Steve Blenkinsop (34) that steered them to 186-5 from 50 overs.

A team effort with the ball completed the job for Wem with Alex Ollerenshaw, Ben Peel and Biswa all bagging two wickets each to help dismiss Madeley for 130.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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