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Ben Roberts claims impressive five-wicket haul as Shropshire’s NCCA Trophy campaign opens with defeat at Suffolk


Ben Roberts claimed an impressive five-wicket haul as Shropshire were beaten by 69 runs at Suffolk in their NCCA Trophy group opener.

The Shifnal seamer’s efforts helped dismiss Suffolk, held together by 90 from former Worcestershire and Leicestershire all-rounder George Rhodes, for 251 at Sudbury Cricket Club.

But then Shropshire fell short in their chase, bowled out for 182, despite a fine half century from Shrewsbury opener George Hargrave.

Ed Home, Shropshire’s head of cricket, said: “We bowled and fielded very well. We fought hard to restrict Suffolk to 250, so at half time we were all pretty happy with that.

“It was a small ground with a quick outfield, but then in the second half we didn’t build any partnerships.

“To win a game chasing 250, somebody in the top four must bat deep and make a telling contribution.

“George Hargrave did very well, but if you look down the card the big blow for our run chase was losing two key wickets in consecutive deliveries.”

On the contribution with the ball of Roberts, Home added: “Ben did well. He bowled good lengths interspersed with the odd bouncer to keep them guessing and he richly deserved a five-wicket haul.

“It’s not easy for a bowler to do that when they’re only allowed to bowl 10 overs.”

Having elected to bat, Suffolk were well placed at 187-2 in the 41st over before a spirited recovery from Shropshire led to a flurry of wickets as the hosts were removed off the penultimate ball of their 50 overs.

Rhodes top scored with an excellent 90 from 73 balls, which included 11 fours and two sixes, before he was bowled by Roberts.

Rhodes put on 112 for the third wicket with Ben Claydon, who struck 56 from 88 deliveries, while opener Darren Ironside was the other main contributor for Suffolk with 41.

Roberts took two wickets in the home side’s final over for an impressive return of 5-39 from 9.5 overs, with captain Charlie Home claiming 2-48 and Sam Ellis 2-57.

Joe Stanley, the Worcestershire Academy captain, was the other wicket-taker as he ended with 1-40 from 10 overs following his late call up to replace the injured Jack Home.

Shropshire, in reply, started brightly before losing Theo Wylie, who hit four boundaries in the second over, for a rapid 17.

Fellow opener Hargrave was in good touch before departing for 64 from 75 balls, which included one six and nine fours, which left Shropshire 114-4 in the 23rd over.

Skipper Home (26), Ellis (24) and Andre Bradford (22) also weighed in with the bat, but wickets continued to fall regularly as the visitors were bowled out for 182 from 39.1 overs.

Jack Beaumont helped himself to 4-47, Rhodes took 3-13 as he claimed the wickets of his former Worcestershire team mates Tom Fell and Ollie Westbury, and Daniel Shanks also got in on the act with 2-25.

Shropshire now look forward to their second NCCA Trophy group match against Norfolk – 84-run winners over Cheshire in their opening fixture – at Whitchurch Cricket Club on Sunday, June 11.

Pictured: Ben Roberts led the way with the ball by taking 5-39 as Shropshire lost by 69 runs against Suffolk.