Cheshire batsman Rick Moore again proved to be a major thorn in Shropshire’s side as the county were beaten by 95 runs in their second group match in this season’s Unicorns Trophy.
Moore scored an unbeaten ton against Shropshire at Oswestry last year and he repeated the trick as James Ralph’s side tasted defeat at Nantwich.
Following on from losing at home to Cumberland in their group opener, it means Shropshire realistically need to beat Northumberland at Oswestry on Sunday to keep alive their qualification chances.
“It’s made it extra difficult to qualify because we can now only get four points, but while it’s mathematically possible you never know,” said Brian Foxall, Shropshire’s chairman of selectors. “We really need everyone else to start beating each other.”
Cheshire opted to bat first and it proved a wise decision as they scored freely to post a challenging 329-6 from their 50 overs.
Moore, at No 3, led the way with an unbeaten 130, which featured four sixes and 10 boundaries, as he put on 142 for the second wicket with opener Warren Goodwin (78) and then 117 for the third wicket alongside Khalid Sawas, who cracked a quickfire 70.
Ben Sanderson was the pick of the Shropshire attack with 2-46 from his 10 overs while there was also some joy for Omar Ali (2-68) and Ralph (2-75).
“It was better than the Cumberland game but we still bowled inconsistently,” stressed Foxall. “Cheshire got off to an absolute flier and we never managed to pull them back.”
Shropshire, in reply, lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually dismissed for 234 in the 43rd over.
Shrewsbury opener Steve Leach (pictured during his innings) top scored with 75 from 93 balls, hitting eight fours and three sixes, but meaningful support was thin on the ground although Simon Gregory added an enterprising 39 and Ralph 23 down the order as Danny Berry (4-66) and Dan Woods (3-67), the Cheshire captain, inflicted much of the damage.
Foxall added: “Steve Leach batted very well but we needed other people to bat around him. Simon Gregory also batted very nicely but we were always chasing the game.”
There was disappointment for the county’s two Worcestershire young guns with Ed Barnard falling for 17 and Joe Clarke run out without scoring after a mix up with Leach.