Bridgnorth (202-9) vs Wolverhampton (231-8) – losing draw
A battling display from Bridgnorth saw them gain vital losing draw points from a tough game where the weather conspired against them.
The visitors had amassed a challenging 231-8 off their 55 overs having won the toss, with Shropshire’s Charlie Home (66) and Worcestershire’s Tom Fell (53) anchoring the main part of the innings, after Warwick Fynn and Ramanjot Jaswal had started positively at the top of the order. After Dave Exall dismissed both openers, left-arm seamer Michael Hill and offspinner Matt Simmonds worked hard through the middle overs to pick up 3-67 and 2-37 respectively.
The Cricket Meadow men then made a strong start in the run chase as Ian Gregory hit 32 off just 35 balls, but at 52-2 fellow opener Ryan Lockley was joined by Hill for what appeared would be a pivotal partnership in the game. The pair took Bridgnorth past the 100-mark before Lockley was bowled by Shropshire team-mate Fynn shortly after drinks, but then rain delays forced an alteration in run chase.
Having originally been chasing 232 off 55 overs, this was recalculated to a winning draw target of 223 off 50 overs, greatly favouring the visitors at that stage in the game. Attempted to force the issue, Hill and Exall were then both removed in quick succession by the Wolverhampton spinners, and when Ben Lees was also bowled by Home, the hosts had been reduced to 138-6.
With the match seemingly slipping away, Sam Baugh had other ideas and counter-attacked in style, hitting three sixes over the clubhouse to race Bridgnorth up towards the 200-mark and putting the game back in the balance. But a change of pace from Fynn saw Baugh dismissed for 40 off just 22 balls, and with David Laird and Adam Quiney sent back soon afterwards, it was left to the final pair of Joe Smallman and Charlie Walker to see out the innings and save the losing draw. Despite regular excitement from the visitors, the job was completed in style as Smallman eased the last ball of the game to the midwicket boundary to secure eight vital draw points.
Bridgnorth II (225) beat Bomere Heath (214) by 11 runs
A topsy-turvy affair at Bomere on Saturday saw Bridgnorth snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, as the seconds continued their push for promotion.
Having lost the toss, the visitors were asked to bat first in overcast conditions, but all seemed well as openers Alex Yarnley (28) and Will Rodenhurst (32) put on 71 for the first wicket. However, a mini-collapse then saw them slip to 88-4 as the hosts got themselves back in the game.
The middle-order started to rebuild as Niall McAdam and Peter Thompson combined for a fifty run partnership as both looked to counter-attack, but two further wickets once again saw the momentum swing back Bomere’s way. Stand-in captain Cam Wallis then joined McAdam at the crease and a 57-run stand saw the total pass 200.
After Wallis fell to a very good catch for 22, McAdam continued with the rest of the lower order, eventually top-scoring with 76 before Bridgnorth were dismissed off the last ball of the innings.
With what looked like a competitive total on a tricky batting wicket, the Cricket Meadow men made an early breakthrough as Matt Uglow trapped the dangerous Matt Jones-Jr for single figures, but before Bridgnorth player Toby Jones counter-attacked to put the bowlers under pressure. Lewis Hurdley then induced a false stroke and a good catch from Uglow in the deep saw him sent back, before a rain-delay allowed both teams to re-group.
The visiting side then started the better after the break as Hurdley dismissed overseas player Matt Volker before offspinner Yarnley ran through the Bomere middle-order, aided by some smart glovework from keeper Rob Hughes. Wallis then returned to take a wicket of his own and put his side a strong position with the hosts 165-7, but the game turned again as Tom Ellis counter-attacked yet again to take his team past the 200-mark.
At 213-7 Bomere were now firm favourites for the win, but Uglow then returned to dismiss Northwood, before Dan Rodenhurst was rewarded for a vital tight spell by picking up the ninth wicket. Now needing eleven to win with only a single wicket left, Ellis (46 not out) found himself struggling to get back on strike. In desperation to make it happen, confusion with the number eleven Jamie Dean saw the pair attempt a quick single. Henry Roberts threw the ball in as Dean slipped, narrowly missed the stumps, but Dan Rodenhurst was able to snatch the ball up and flick the bails off at the non-strikers’ end, sparking scenes of elation for the Cricket Meadow men.
Bridgnorth III (183-7) beat Frankton (181) by 3 wickets
The third string also clinched a hard-fought win at Frankton on Saturday, as they completed the run-chase despite a late collapse.
Choosing to bowl first, Bridgnorth were rewarded early as Will Buxton and Tim Cotton both struck to dismiss the openers, before the hosts rebuilt. Alex Bashford and Ben Cresswell then also nipped in with a wicket apiece as the visitors continued to work hard in the field, before skipper Ash Bowler brought himself on to lure the home side into attacking his rarely-used left-arm spin. Whilst they looked to attack in the second half of the innings, good catching from the whole team saw Bowler claim 5-39, before Ed Bennett dismissed the last man.
The visitors then started solidly in reply as Rich Ealey and Bennett both got going, before Bennett fell for 14. Jack Welch then looked to up the ante by making 27, before Charlie Ward also combined with Ealey as the pair looked to take control and ease their side over the winning line. As Ealey top-scored with 62, reaching his fourth half century of the season, Bridgnorth looked to be in firm control.
However, a late middle-order collapse saw them slump to 170-7 as the hosts sensed an upset and overs were running out. But consecutive boundaries from Ben Cresswell saw Bridgnorth clinch a nervy win off the final delivery.
Bridgnorth IV (290-5) vs Bomere Heath (215-6) – Match Abandoned
The fourth team were denied a win by the weather late on Sunday in their game at Bomere Heath, after an excellent display with the bat saw take control of the game.
After Jack Welch had powered the innings along with typically boisterous fashion before falling from eight runs short of his century, Huw Morgan took over the run-scoring mantle and alongside George Brettel the pair posted a superb century stand. Morgan grew with confidence after he passed his fifty, stroking the ball all around the ground as he went on to reach a sublime maiden senior century, eventually finishing on 123 off just 82 deliveries.
Posting a final total of 290-5 off 40 overs, Morgan continued to be the star of the show by taking two early wickets as Bridgnorth asserted their dominance on the game. But the visitors’ middle order counter-attacked and got the runs flowing for themselves. Whilst Max Ferrington, Ben Musgrave, Tess and Nell Walsh all picked up a wicket apiece, the rain eventually brought proceedings to a halt with eight overs still to play. Unfortunately, league rules decreed the game to be abandoned due to both teams not having faced the same number of overs.