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John Abrahams believes Shropshire moving in the right direction after impressive performance against a Lancashire CCC XI


Director of Cricket John Abrahams believes the Shropshire team is moving in the right direction after being impressed with the performance against a Lancashire County Cricket Club XI in a 50-over friendly at Whitchurch.

A five-wicket haul from Sam Whitney helped Shropshire bowl out a talented young side from the Red Rose county for 187.

Then Will Parton shared in good partnerships with Ryan Lockley and Charlie Home as Shropshire chased well to record a nine-wicket victory.

Abrahams, who enjoyed a long playing career with Lancashire, which included two seasons as captain, said: “We had a really good chat after the match against Staffordshire at Himley a couple of weeks ago and identified areas of concern that we’ve kept repeating.

“The players have looked to address that and there were obvious improvements in those areas that needed looking at.

“From the squad’s point of view, that was really pleasing and, without getting carried away, I think we are genuinely moving in the right direction and preparing ourselves for the first match in the NCCA Trophy later this month.”

Lancashire elected to bat first on Sunday and were well placed at 131-3 until the introduction of leg spinner Whitney.

The Bridgnorth skipper, one of seven bowlers used by Shropshire, claimed 5-29 from 9.3 overs as the visitors were removed for 187 in the 46th over.

Captain Graham Wagg had earlier bowled seven lively overs for 2-7 – and also provided a run out with some excellent fielding – while there was a wicket apiece for Matty Simmonds and Ross Aucott.

Harry Singh top scored for Lancashire with 44, with contributions from Arav Shetty (33), Ben Walkden (29) and George Bell (29).

Shropshire openers Parton and Lockley put on 93 for the first wicket, before Lockley was out for 39.

Parton, the Shrewsbury captain, was then joined by Charlie Home and they put together an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 98 as Shropshire advanced to 191-1 inside 36 overs.

Parton struck 12 fours in his run-a-ball, unbeaten 76, receiving fine support from Home, who ended 47 not out from 58 balls, with a six and five boundaries.

Abrahams said: “One of the aspects we identified after the Staffordshire game was batsmen getting starts and then getting out, and also the partnerships that we put together, so it was really pleasing that we had partnerships of 93 and 98.

“One of the phrases we use to the batsmen is being ‘not out having won the game’ – and that’s exactly what Will Parton and Charlie Home did.

“I was also really pleased for Sam Whitney. By his own admission, he has not had a good start to the season, but also to his credit he identified what he needed to work on and he’s been practising that, which came to fruition and all his hard work was repaid with the spell that he bowled turning the game in our favour.”

Abrahams added: “We thank Whitchurch Cricket Club for kindly hosting us and thanks as well to Lancashire for providing the opposition.

“It was an enjoyable return to Shropshire for Karl Krikken, who is now the 2nd XI coach at Lancashire, and was in charge of the side with Chris Benbow.

“Karl was in his element as he made lots of friendships when he was coach of Shropshire.”

Shropshire will face a Worcestershire CCC XI in their next 50-over friendly at Bridgnorth on Sunday, as the county continue to prepare for the start of the NCCA Trophy campaign against Northumberland at Oswestry on May 30.

Pictured: The scene at Whitchurch as Shropshire hosted a Lancashire CCC XI in a 50-over friendly.