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Shropshire deliver impressive performance to complete NCCA Trophy victory over Herefordshire

Jack Home bowling against Herefordshire at Whitchurch

Shropshire ensured their qualification hopes in the NCCA Trophy will go into this weekend’s final round of group matches by beating Herefordshire by 21 runs at Whitchurch.

Head of cricket Ed Home described it as “a complete performance” after Shropshire secured their first win of the season in the 50-over competition.

Tom Fell led the way with 90 as Shropshire, invited to bat, accumulated 287-5 from their 50 overs.

Jacques Banton then took three wickets as Herefordshire, in reply, closed on 266-9.

Shropshire now know they need to follow up the victory with another one in their final group game against Staffordshire at Moddershall & Oulton CC on Sunday to have any chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Norfolk, the group two leaders with six points, are already through to the last eight, but the four other teams in the group are still in contention of also qualifying.

Suffolk are second with four points, with Shropshire, Staffordshire and Herefordshire all on two points. This Sunday’s other group two game sees Herefordshire host Suffolk.

“All we can do is endeavour to beat Staffordshire,” said Home. “The bottom line is we need to improve our net run rate substantially, but I’m happy we have got off the mark in the 50-over competition.

“Every game when you play Staffordshire is one to be cherished and look forward to.”

Reflecting on Shropshire’s victory over Herefordshire, Home added: “It was a good all-round display, a complete performance.

Upped the tempo

“Herefordshire had a decent opening bowling attack and we built a good platform, had momentum, and then upped the tempo in the last five overs to get up to 287.

“I thought that was above par. Probably about 250 was par, so we were all pretty happy with 287.

“Tom showed his class and paced his innings nicely. His innings warranted a hundred, but he fell just short.”

Fell, the former Worcestershire batter, was in fine touch as he struck 90 from 99 balls, which included four sixes and seven fours.

He put on 124 for the third wicket with the consistent Andre Bradford (62), who has registered a half century in all three of Shropshire’s Trophy matches this season.

Captain Charlie Home weighed in with an unbeaten 40 from 27 balls, adding to earlier contributions from George Hargrave (32) and Banton (20).

Sam Keeling-Wright (3-52) and Ollie Walker (2-39) had some success with the ball for the visitors.

Opening bowlers Sam Ellis and Jack Home kept it tight early on for Shropshire, with Herefordshire losing wickets at regular intervals as they were reduced to 46-3, 116-5 and 160-7.

James Rudge, at number nine, top scored with 78 from just 39 balls, hitting eight sixes in the process, with Daniyal Khan (63) and Luke Tulacz (40) also contributing.

Left-arm spinner Banton claimed 3-51, with the other wickets shared between Ellis (2-28), Lewis Evans (2-34) and skipper Home (2-42).

“That’s one of the best opening bowling spells we’ve put forward this summer,” added Ed Home. “Sam and Jack both bowled in good areas, so Herefordshire were not able to get away from us.

“They were 27-1 off 10 overs, so we were happy with that and our spinners then, as the run rate climbed, were able to capitalise.’’

Pictured: Whitchurch Cricket Club hosted Shropshire’s NCCA Trophy match against Herefordshire.