Head of cricket Ed Home highlighted the positives as Shropshire’s NCCA Trophy campaign ended on a record-breaking day for the county.
An excellent batting performance – led by Tom Fell’s second century in as many weeks – helped Shropshire impressively total 336-7 from their 50 overs at Toft Cricket Club.
It’s a new record score for the county in one-day cricket, beating the previous best of 331-7 against Hertfordshire at Welwyn Garden City in the semi-finals of the MCCA Trophy in 2010.
Cheshire’s reply only got as far as 18-1 from 3.3 overs before heavy rain meant no further play was possible and the match was abandoned, with both teams receiving a point.
Shropshire and Cheshire finished level on five points in Group Three, with Cheshire joining table-toppers Suffolk in advancing to the quarter-finals of the 50-over competition on a better net run rate.
“That’s the record highest score by Shropshire in 50-over cricket, so we’ve done well,” said Home, proud of his side’s efforts. “We did exactly what we set out to do and set up a good total.
“You can’t beat the weather sadly. If we had got on to play, I think the likelihood is that we would have won, but that’s the game.
“It rained heavily and the ground staff did a good job, but there were a few areas where the umpires were concerned.
“If we reflect back on the 50-over campaign, I remember going to watch Shropshire play at Cheshire two years ago, at the same ground, and Cheshire scored more than 350 and beat us by nearly 100 runs, so two years later, to have progressed to where are now, it’s fantastic.
“Quite a few of our supporters made the journey and they all went away very heartened and excited by what they had seen.
“It bodes well for the three-day competition and we are now looking forward to playing in the Championship.”
Having started their 50-over campaign with defeat at Suffolk last month, Shropshire responded positively to enjoy home wins over Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to set up a winner takes all clash with Cheshire.
Invited to bat, Andre Bradford and Fell put on 96 for the second wicket for Shropshire.
Opener Bradford had just completed a half century, his second of the season for Shropshire, when he was dismissed for 53 from 62 balls, with nine fours.
Completed his century
The consistent Fell continued to impress and followed up reaching three figures against Cambridgeshire at St George’s a week earlier by doing the same again.
The classy former Worcestershire batter completed his century with a boundary and eventually departed for 110 from 97 balls, which included a six and 14 fours.
Fell’s last three scores for Shropshire have been 88, 117 and 110 as he continues to enjoy a fine first season with the county.
Promising all-rounder Theo Wylie contributed a rapid 34 from 19 balls, before captain Charlie Home, his Shifnal team-mate, kept the scoreboard ticking over in style.
Home struck 62 from 46 deliveries, which featured five sixes – three of them off consecutive balls at the start of the final over – and four boundaries.
Shrewsbury all-rounder Luke Thornton then scored six off the two balls he faced to ensure the team of a place in the club’s record books
Steven Green claimed 2-58 from his 10 overs for Cheshire.
Ben Roberts made an early breakthrough in Cheshire’s reply, with Fell taking a catch to remove Ben Kohler-Cadmore, but then the rain arrived to end Shropshire’s hopes of pushing for a place in the last eight.
“Tom Fell carried on from where he left off at St George’s,” said Home. “It was a very good batting wicket and he probably lifted it up a notch this time. He hit the ball well, used the pace, and it was a quick outfield.
“When he was out, the other players increased the tempo again and it was impressive.”
Home added: “When we look back on our 50-over matches, if you say with the batting and bowling in each of the four games, it’s eight sessions.
“If you take out the three overs we bowled against Cheshire, I would say we won six out of seven sessions, with the only disappointment being when we batted against Suffolk and we couldn’t chase 250.”
Shropshire will begin their NCCA Championship campaign against Wales at Brymbo Cricket Club, with the three-day match starting on Sunday, July 9.
Pictured: Shropshire and Cheshire players after the abandoned match between the sides at Toft Cricket Club.