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Shropshire’s NCCA Championship season ends with defeat against Devon at Bridgnorth


Skipper Sam Whitney felt Devon had been better in all departments as Shropshire’s National Counties Cricket Association Championship campaign ended with defeat at Bridgnorth.

Devon wrapped up victory by 280 runs shortly after lunch on the third and final day at Cricket Meadow.

The visitors put themselves firmly in control of the match after rattling up 503-5 on a sweltering opening day.

Trailing by 248 runs at the halfway stage, Shropshire, having been set a victory target of 451, were bowled out for 170, despite an impressive unbeaten half-century from promising all-rounder Joe Stanley.

Whitney said: “We had a team talk after the match and didn’t really want to talk about the toss and the weather as they are things that you can’t control.

“But it was unfortunate that we lost the toss and had to field in over 30 degrees – that’s cricket and some teams are going to get the better of the conditions at some stage.

“Yes, Devon got the better of the conditions, but they also played a lot better cricket than us.

“The way they batted, bowled, fielded – in every department they were better than us and we just weren’t disciplined enough.

“You look at how their two players who made hundreds in the first innings batted and it set it up perfectly for others.

“If you look at the way they bowled, they had three good seamers, tall guys who who hit the pitch and bowled in good areas.”

Devon piled on the runs in the heat on the opening day after electing to bat.

Opener James Horler and Elliot Hamilton both hit fine centuries as they put on 289 for the third wicket.

Horler struck 22 fours and four sixes as he led the way with 174, with Hamilton also in fine touch for 137, which included 19 fours and two sixes.

Calum Haggett, with an unbeaten 88 from 43 balls, and Edward Middleton, who ended 62 not out from 30 deliveries, kept the scoreboard ticking over, as Stanley took two wickets for the hosts with his off spin.

Having closed the first day 71-2, Shropshire slipped from 147-3 to 187-9 before skipper Whitney (32) and Ben Roberts (34no) shared a last-wicket stand of 68, the highest of the innings, to lift the score to 255.

Opener George Hargrave top scored with 64, with Graham Wagg (39), Xavie Clarke (31) and Sam Ellis (24) also weighing in, as Kaz Syzmanski claimed 6-58 for Devon and Jamie Stephens 2-39.

Devon extended their lead to 450 runs after declaring their second innings on 202-8.

Former Kent all-rounder Haggett (68) and Middleton (54no) again impressed with the bat, putting on 105 for the sixth wicket and leading a recovery from 80-5, with Ellis (3-38), Ryan Wheldon (2-18) and Roberts (2-42) among the wickets.

Set a victory target of 451, Shropshire lost Hargrave towards the end of day two and wickets continued to tumble the following morning.

Promising all-rounder Stanley, batting at seven, made it two half-centuries for Shropshire in as many Championship matches by hitting an unbeaten 68.

But no-one else reached 20 as Shropshire were dismissed for 170, with Hugo Whitlock (3-26), Stephens (2-30) and Middleton (2-48) helping to bowl Devon to victory as they moved to the top of the Western Division Two table.

Whitney added he was impressed with the efforts of Stanley with bat and ball throughout the three days.

“For a lad who’s just turned 17 to come in and play the way he has is impressive,” said Whitney.

“He bowled a lot of overs in the first innings and could have had four wickets. For a young lad to bowl in that situation and not back down from it, he was brilliant and he just kept bowling and bowling, trying a few different things as well.

“He’s a very skilful cricketer. The way he batted in the second innings was class. He took it to them and hit shots all over the ground. It was so good to watch.

“I can see why he’s highly regarded at Worcestershire as his attitude is great. He didn’t back away from anything. He just took it in his stride, enjoyed it and did everything with a smile on his face as well.”

Pictured: Bridgnorth Cricket Club hosted Shropshire’s final NCCA Championship match of the season against Devon.