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Andre Bradford impresses with the bat as Shropshire are beaten by Suffolk in NCCA Trophy

Shropshire v Suffolk at Shifnal CC

Shropshire’s opening NCCA Trophy group match of the season ended in defeat by 40 runs against Suffolk.

Ben Roberts took three wickets as Suffolk, having elected to bat, totalled 264-6 from their 50 overs in the Shifnal sunshine.

Andre Bradford then impressed with the bat, top scoring with 71, as Shropshire were bowled out for 224 in the penultimate over of the innings.

Shropshire’s reply had started brightly with an opening stand of 61 from George Hargrave and Ollie Westbury, but a flurry of wickets left them up against it at 123-6.

Head of cricket Ed Home, now looking for a positive response from his side against Norfolk at Great Witchingham on Sunday, said: “We were pretty happy with the first half of the game as we bowled and fielded well.

“We took all our chances, but 264 probably on reflection was 20 runs too many when you look at the end result.

“We had a bright opening partnership before both Ollie and George fell in quick succession, which immediately puts you under pressure.

“After Suffolk’s initial opening burst, it was trial by spin, and in the middle of the innings we probably made several miscalculations where we didn’t need to.

“Andre held us together. He knocked it around, hit the odd four, which is exactly what Suffolk did in their innings.

“They played throughout their innings at around five an over and ended up with just over that. We were at similar tempo to begin with, but if you lose wickets in clusters it makes it very difficult.”

Kept the scoreboard ticking over

Darren Ironside and George Rhodes put on 87 for the third wicket for Suffolk as the visitors kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Ironside led the way with 54 and Rhodes, the former Worcestershire and Leicestershire all-rounder, contributed 52.

Ben Parker (38), Alex Oxley (32) and Josh Cantrell (30no) also weighed in for Suffolk, with Roberts, the Shifnal seamer, taking 3-52 from his 10 overs.

Shropshire, in reply, were going along nicely until the departure of Hargrave for 36 was quickly followed by fellow opener Westbury also heading back to the pavilion for 29.

Bradford had to watch on from the other end as wickets continued to fall before, with Shropshire 154-8, he was joined in the middle by Sam Ellis.

They put on 70 for the ninth wicket before Bradford, playing at his home club ground, was out for 71 from 93 balls, which included a six and five fours.

It completed a productive weekend with the bat for Bradford after hitting an excellent 133 for Shifnal against Old Hill in the Birmingham & District Premier Cricket League on Saturday.

Ellis played well and ended unbeaten on 39 from 38 balls as Shropshire were dismissed for 224 with eight balls remaining, with the wickets shared between Daniel Shanks (3-25), Jack Beaumont (3-38), Rhodes (2-47) and Thomas Harper (2-47).

Shropshire will follow this weekend’s trip to Norfolk with two more group games, against Herefordshire at Whitchurch on Sunday, June 16, and then away to Staffordshire a week later.

Pictured: Shifnal impressively hosted Shropshire’s opening NCCA Trophy match of the season against Suffolk.