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Rain washes out final day as Shropshire’s NCCA Championship match ends in a draw against Dorset

Shropshire CCC, back from left: Peter Clark, Ben Lees, Sam Ellis, Lewis Evans, Andre Bradford, Joe Stanley; front: Ollie Currill, Tom Fell, Ollie Westbury, George Hargrave, Matt Rees.

Shropshire emerged with 10 points from a draw as rain meant no play was possible on the final day of their opening NCCA Championship match of the season against Dorset.

Shropshire, captained for the first time by Ollie Westbury with Charlie Home unavailable, claimed maximum batting bonus points after compiling 327-8.

Dorset, in reply, closed day two on 231-5, with the umpires quickly reaching a decision after inspecting at St George’s CC on Tuesday morning that the ground was too wet for any further play following heavy rain.

Shropshire will hope for much better weather when they play the second of four three-day matches in Western Division Two against Wiltshire, a game which starts at South Wilts CC on Sunday, July 28.

“There’s three games to go,” said Ed Home, Shropshire’s head of cricket. “With all the rain about, if you can win two of them, you will probably find yourself in quite good shape.

“We lost so much time out of the game in the first two days against Dorset, so it was always going to be a challenge on the final day to get a meaningful game before the rain.

“From our side, I was pretty pleased with how we did. We went into the second day on Monday morning wanting to try and force the issue and score some quick runs, but we lost several wickets early on, which knocked us back.

“But we still managed to secure the maximum batting points, which was pleasing.

“We bowled pretty well and created chances.”

Invited to bat on Sunday’s rain-affected opening day, Shropshire ended it 186-2, with George Hargrave and Tom Fell, who made 42, putting on 103 for the second wicket.

Having memorably struck centuries in both innings when Shropshire won at Dorset last season, Hargrave was closing in on three figures again until he was bowled by Finn Gordon early on day two for a fine 93, which came off 153 balls, and included a six and 13 fours.

Contributed down the order

Andre Bradford headed back to the pavilion just earlier for 43, with Peter Clark (43) and Ollie Currill (28) then keeping the scoreboard ticking over nicely for the hosts.

Joe Stanley (21no) and Sam Ellis (19no) also contributed down the order, with Ellis hitting the final ball of the innings for four to secure maximum batting bonus points as Shropshire ended their 90 overs on 327-8.

Connor Smith (2-49), Finn Gordon (2-50) and Louis Pritchard (2-55) enjoyed most success with the ball for the visitors.

Dorset, who collected nine points from the fixture, were well served by a stand of 91 for the second wicket between captain Luke Webb, who top scored with 59, and Finn Gordon (46), before both were trapped lbw by spinner Lewis Evans, the Shrewsbury captain, in quick succession.

From 116-1, Dorset were reduced to 168-5, with Jacob Gordon bowled by Stanley for 21, and then Currill claimed the wicket of William Tripcony for 24.

But Alex Eckland (39no) and Smith (24no) then combined for an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 63 to guide Dorset to 231-5 from 77 overs by the close of the second day.

Evans took 2-35 from nine overs, opening bowler Currill, making his first Championship appearance for Shropshire, claimed 2-45 from 18 overs, while off-spinner Stanley persevered to end with 1-58 from 26 overs.

Home added Shropshire appreciated the hard work and hospitality from everyone involved at St George’s in hosting the fixture.

“St George’s were, as ever, fantastic,” he said. “The ground and facilities were superb, with the catering and hospitality equally good.

“It was a pleasure to return to the club and we thank them for their efforts.”

Shropshire’s next match is the attractive NCCA Showcase Game against first-class county Yorkshire at Wellington CC on Sunday, July 21.

Pictured: The Shropshire team on the opening morning of the match against Dorset at St George’s CC; back from left: Peter Clark, Ben Lees, Sam Ellis, Lewis Evans, Andre Bradford, Joe Stanley; front: Ollie Currill, Tom Fell, Ollie Westbury, George Hargrave, Matt Rees.