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Captain Charlie Home looking forward to Championship campaign after Shropshire end Trophy fixtures with fine win at Staffordshire

Moddershall & Oulton CC hosted Shropshire's win against Staffordshire

Captain Charlie Home is looking forward to Shropshire’s NCCA Championship campaign starting next month after his side ended their NCCA Trophy group fixtures with an impressive six-wicket victory at Staffordshire.

Wins over Herefordshire and Staffordshire in their last two Trophy matches did not prove enough for Shropshire to progress to the quarter-finals of the 50-over competition.

They finished third in their five-team group as Suffolk and Norfolk, the top two sides in Group Two, advanced to the last eight, but Home believes there is much for Shropshire to be positive about.

Home said: “These last two weeks set us up well for the three-dayers. It was obviously disappointing to lose the first two 50-over games, but to win the last last two, and in the fashion we have, with the group of players we have, it’s great moving forward.

“That’s what our attention moves to now – with the aim of getting promoted.”

Reflecting on Shropshire’s Trophy campaign, Home added: “The batting let us down against Suffolk and then against Norfolk bowling-wise, so it’s disappointing that those haven’t allowed us to go through.

“But we’ve made the most of the last two games and finished the group fixtures off nicely, so we’ll take that confidence and we are playing well at the moment.”

Home was delighted with his side’s all-round performance as they got the better of Staffordshire at Moddershall & Oulton CC.

A five-wicket haul from Sam Ellis helped restrict the hosts to 227-9 from their 50 overs. Then Ollie Westbury and Tom Fell led the way with the bat as Shropshire chased down their target with 5.1 overs to spare.

Having elected to bat, Staffordshire openers Callum Hawkins and Zen Malik put on 46 before Ellis struck twice with successive deliveries in the eighth over.

Malik went for 22 and Staffordshire captain James Kettleborough, the former Northamptonshire and Glamorgan batter, followed immediately. When Ellis soon struck again, with the departure of Michael Hill, the hosts were reduced to 56-3.

Hawkins was closing in on a century until he fell for for 99, from 145 balls, with three sixes and eight fours, caught by Fell off Ollie Currill, to leave Staffordshire on 180-7.

Ellis returned to help himself to two more wickets towards the end to give him his best bowling return for Shropshire – 5-49 from his 10 overs – in limited overs cricket.

Bowled beautifully

Home said: “The wicket was quite good to begin with and Staffordshire got off to a good start. Then Sam Ellis bowled a couple of overs brilliantly, produced some quality balls, and got a few of their very good batters out.

“The spinners came on and bowled beautifully. Joe Stanley bowled his 10 overs for 22 runs and Jacques Banton his 10 for 29 runs.

“To do that in one-day cricket, when keeping the run rate down can be difficult at times, is fantastic.

“Sam also bowled really well against Herefordshire and he built on that. Everyone was delighted for him to get a five-for. He’s one of those lads that’s played for years for Shropshire and always gives 100 per cent.”

Shropshire, in reply, made an assured start before George Hargrave, with the score on 78, was bowled by spinner Anis Raza for 32.

Fell joined his former Worcestershire team mate Westbury in the middle and they kept the scoreboard ticking over in a second-wicket partnership of 103.

Fell had just completed his second half-century in as many games when he was trapped lbw by Matt Morris for 54, which came off 61 balls and featured two sixes and three fours, with Shropshire 181-2.

Opener Westbury’s impressive knock came to an end shortly after, caught for 82 by wicketkeeper Hawkins off former Lancashire seamer Liam Hurt (2-37). Westbury faced 118 balls and struck nine boundaries.

Contributions from Banton (16), Andre Bradford (16no) and Currill (18no) saw the job through as Shropshire progressed to 231-4.

Home added: “We didn’t really look back after Ollie Westbury and George Hargrave put on 78 for the first wicket. Tom Fell came in after George was out and picked up where he left off.

“I was delighted for Ollie as we all know how good a cricketer he is. He’s been battling himself a little bit in white-ball cricket, so to bat the way he did in what’s always a big game against Staffordshire, one we want to win, anchoring the innings against a good bowling attack was excellent.”

Shropshire will begin their three-day campaign in Western Division Two of the NCCA Championship against Dorset at St George’s on Sunday, July 7.

Pictured: Moddershall & Oulton CC hosted Shropshire’s six-wicket victory over Staffordshire.