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Tom Fell’s excellent century sets up NCCA Trophy qualification decider for Shropshire at Cheshire


An excellent century from Tom Fell, his first for Shropshire, helped keep the county’s aspirations of qualifying for the NCCA Trophy quarter-finals on track with victory over Cambridgeshire.

Fell’s fine 117 lifted Shropshire’s total to 250-8 from their 50 overs as the county returned to St George’s Cricket Club in Telford for the first time in more than 20 years.

Cambridgeshire’s reply was ended prematurely by rain with the visitors 136-5 from 26.4 overs, with Shropshire emerging winners by 14 runs under the DLS method.

It means the winners of Shropshire’s final Group Three match against Cheshire at Toft on Sunday will join Suffolk in progressing to the last eight of the 50-over competition.

“It’s set up nicely for a winner takes all game,” said Shropshire’s head of cricket Ed Home. “We’re all thoroughly looking forward to it. These are the games you want to play in as a cricketer.”

Fell, the former Worcestershire batter, followed up hitting 88 during the victory against Norfolk at Whitchurch a week earlier by advancing to three figures after again underlining his class.

Batting at three, Fell was eventually out off the final ball of the Shropshire innings after compiling an impressive 117 from 127 balls, which included one six and 11 fours.

Fell put on 101 for the third wicket with Ollie Westbury (35), his former Worcestershire team mate, while openers Andre Bradford (37) and George Hargrave (20) were the other leading contributors for the home side.

James Sykes took 3-46 for Cambridgeshire, while there was also some success for Harrison Craig (2-38) and Ben Clilverd (2-39).

Home said: “Tom Fell batted beautifully. We talked about building partnerships and we certainly did that. We were probably disappointed actually with 250 as we thought we should have got another 20 or 30 on top of that.

Competitive score

“But we felt 250 was a competitive score because there was a bit of turn once the ball got softer.

“Ollie Westbury also batted well and his partnership with Tom was probably the match defining one as they put on just over 100.”

Rain arrived during lunch to delay the start of the Cambridgeshire innings, and when the players returned to the field the visitors enjoyed a good start to their reply despite an early wicket for Andy Sutton.

Yousuf Choudhary struck three sixes and five boundaries before he was stumped by Ben Lees off spinner Matty Simmonds for 43 from 28 balls.

That left Cambridgeshire 62-2 in the 10th over and the visitors were then reduced to 102-5, with the spinners sharing four wickets as Simmonds took 3-26 and captain Charlie Home bowled eight tight overs for 1-18.

Opener Wayne White, the former Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lancashire all-rounder, was unbeaten on 58 from 77 balls when the rain returned once again with the score 136-5 in the 27th over.

“Where I think we won the game was the partnership between Charlie and Matty bowling together in tandem,” said Home. “Cambridgeshire were well ahead on DLS at one stage.

“We kept applying pressure and took wickets at good times.

“We were going to go back on before it really rained. There would have been 6.2 overs to bowl and they would have needed 63 runs.”

Home added Shropshire enjoyed returning to St George’s and thanked the club for their efforts.

“They did a fantastic job,” he said. “The ground looked great, the wicket played well, the lunches were good and the hospitality fantastic.”

Pictured: Shropshire celebrate a wicket against Cambridgeshire at St George’s.