Ed Home, Shropshire’s head of cricket, highlighted the positives after the county were beaten by five wickets by Cornwall in the Durant Cricket National Counties Championship.
The visitors, set a victory target of 148, sealed their win late on the third and final day at Bridgnorth to head back to the south west with 24 points.
Shropshire, who emerged with seven points, battled right to the end, with Sam Ellis taking three wickets as Cornwall closed in on victory.
“Cornwall played very well over the three days and on balance deserved their win,” said Home.
“From our point of view, we’ve got a few things to work on and think about. We’ve had three hard days of cricket and there’s been a lot of positives.
“We tried hard and bowled well on the final day. We battled hard with the bat and we were good in the field. We caught some great catches.
“We definitely feel as though we’re on an upward curve, but we know there’s things to look at and things to work on.”
Shropshire started the third and final day on 72-2, trailing the visitors by 39 runs, and they were reduced to 129-4 by the departures of Ellis and George Hargrave, the Shrewsbury opener having made 77 from 112 balls with 11 fours and one six.
Andre Bradford and Peter Clark put on 66 for the fifth wicket before all-rounder Clark went for 31.
Following a rain delay after lunch, Bradford was out for 33, falling to his club mate Tommy Sturgess to just the third ball when play resumed to leave the county 200-6.
Captain Charlie Home was next to go before Sturgess struck twice in as many balls, trapping both wicketkeeper Ben Lees (27) and Sam Whitney, playing at his home club ground, lbw.
Cornwall then made it three wickets in the space of six balls when Tim Maxfield departed for 35 as Shropshire suddenly went from 258-7 to 258 all out from 77.4 overs.
Sturgess ended with 4-54, with Ellis Whiteford taking 3-49 and Fateh Singh 2-48.
Cornwall had called up Singh, the Nottinghamshire and England under-19 all-rounder, as a substitute midway through the match to replace Alex Blake, who hit a half century in the first innings, after he had been selected to play for Kent in their County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Set 148 for victory, Cornwall soon lost opener Alfie MacDonald, caught behind by Lees off Ben Roberts, in the first over of their chase.
Three quick wickets
After another rain delay following tea, Will MacVicar, having struck a century in the first innings, went on the attack, before Ellis grabbed the first of three quick wickets to remove him for 39.
Seamer Ellis (3-56) then also claimed the wickets of Max Tryfonos and opener Adam Hodgson (24).
When Singh fell to Home, Cornwall were 102-5, but then Sturgess, who ended unbeaten on 36 from 17 balls, and skipper Paul Smith (14no) teamed up to lead the visitors to their target as they advanced to 148-5 from 22.5 overs.
Shropshire had elected to bat on the opening morning and were dismissed for 316 in the final of their 90 overs, just falling short of securing maximum batting points.
Opener Westbury led the way with a patient 85, which came off 161 balls and featured seven boundaries.
Westbury, who scored a Championship century for Cornwall against Shropshire at Bridgnorth two years ago, put on 110 for the second wicket with his former Worcestershire team mate Tom Fell (55).
Maxfield, a recent addition to the Shropshire squad, added 53, while there were also contributions from Lees (27), Clark (26) and Bradford (20).
Whiteford persevered with the ball to take 4-84 and MacVicar claimed 3-50.
Cornwall closed day one on 58-0 and, after no play was possible the following morning owing to heavy overnight rain, the impressive efforts of the Bridgnorth grounds team meant the visitors were able to resume after an early lunch.
Openers MacDonald (38) and Hodgson (34) both headed back to the pavilion with the score on 79, but Tryfonos (33) and Kent batter Blake then shared a partnership of 114 for the third wicket.
Blake went for 79, but the visitors continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
MacVicar played the lead role with a fine 116 from 139 balls, including four sixes and five boundaries, as he put on 127 for the fifth wicket with skipper Smith (66).
Cornwall were 321-4 at one stage, but Shropshire stuck to their task, with the efforts of spinners Clark (4-111) and Whitney (3-94), who bowled unchanged after tea, helping to earn maximum bowling points as Cornwall were eventually removed for 427 from 88.2 overs.
Faced with a deficit of 111 runs at the halfway stage, Shropshire lost Westbury (27) and then also Fell, trapped lbw by substitute Singh’s first ball of the match, to leave them with work to do on a final day which ultimately saw Cornwall complete victory.
Shropshire quickly return to action with an attractive NCCA Showcase match against first-class neighbours Worcestershire at Shrewsbury’s London Road on Sunday (11am).
The county will resume their Championship season with a three-day match against Dorset at Wimborne Cricket Club between August 6-8.
Pictured: Bridgnorth’s Cricket Meadow hosted Shropshire’s Championship match against Cornwall.