Bridgnorth (220) lost to Wolverhampton (287-7) by 60 runs
The first team were undone by a powerful Wolverhampton side, who are clear favourites to return to Birmingham League Division One this season, but skipper Sam Whitney was proud of his side’s efforts against such strong opposition.
After choosing to claim the toss and bowl first following a rule change, the hosts got off to a flying start on a fast scoring ground. The introduction of spin proved vital for the Cricket Meadow men as Sam Baugh removed the dangerous Aneesh Kapil for 42, but the runs continued to flow for the Wolverhampton top order. Whitney then made two key breakthroughs to dismiss Worcestershire’s Tom Fell and opener Amritpal Singh for 64, giving the visiting side a sniff of getting back into the contest as the run-rate slowed.
But as the innings went on, the hosts middle order accelerated and in the last ten overs capitalised on the good conditions to race their side up to a dominant 287-7 off 55 overs.
In typically belligerent style, Bridgnorth started with no fear and a flurry of boundaries from Ian Gregory and JP Erasmus got their side off to a flyer, before Gregory was dismissed by Worcestershire’s Adam Finch. Erasmus continued to enjoy the pace on the ball, bringing up his first half century for the Cricket Meadow men, and along with Simon Gregory kept the run-rate on course.
However, with Erasmus removed by his countryman Kleinveldt for 56, the game swung the way of the opposition, despite a welcome return to form for Gregory who made an eye-catching 58. Joe Smallman and Whitney both showed more of the fighting character that has become synonymous of the Cricket Meadow men over the years, but the quality of the home side eventually proved too much as Bridgnorth fell short in the run chase.
Bridgnorth II (210-5) beat Frankton (154) by 56 runs
The 2nd team pulled off their second victory in two games at Cricket Meadow as a good all-round team performance was enough to overcome Frankton.
Choosing to bat first under sunny skies, openers Alex Yarnley (32) and Patrick Smallman (30) gave their side an ideal start reaching 69-0 off 17 overs. But the visitors fought back in the middle overs, chipping away at the middle order as Bridgnorth were reduced to 102-4 and in danger of only being able to post a below par total.
But skipper Matt Martin and Ross Hurdley dug in to arrest the slide, before a cameo from Cam Wallis (31 not out) alongside Martin’s unbeaten 43 saw the Cricket Meadow men score 68 off the last five overs to post a highly competitive 210-5 off 45 overs.
In response, Bridgnorth’s strike bowling duo of Wallis (3-40) and Dan Kearsley took early wickets as Frankton were reduced to 37-4 early on, but a fightback saw the visitors reach 113-4 off 20 overs and move into the driving seat.
However, a double-breakthrough from Ross Hurdley (2-24) triggered a change in fortunes, before Toby Hughes (2-27) and debutant spinner Alex Hill (2-13) ran through the lower order as the last four wickets fell for 16 runs. The victory gave Bridgnorth a valuable 25 points against a side relegated from the Shropshire Premier Division last year.
Bridgnorth III (257-7) vs Bishops Castle (130-8) – Winning Draw
The third team took the lion’s share of the points from their contest against Bishops Castle, thanks to their best all-round display of the year so far.
Niall McAdam (51), Lewis Hurdley (43) and Jack Welch (42) were the pick of the batsmen for the Quatt-based side who were looking for their first positive result of the season after being asked to bat first. Rich Ealey, Ed Bennet and Guy Black also provided useful cameos as Bridgnorth latched onto any loose deliveries on a slightly unpredictable surface.
In reply, the hosts’ bowling attack kept things very tight with Matt Bowler Jones and Charlie Walker giving nothing away during parsimonious opening spells. With the visitors reduced to just 50-4 at the mid-way point, the aim of the game became all about Bridgnorth finding ten wickets. Will Buxton and Lewis Hurdley chipped away at the middle and lower order to claim a brace apiece, but Bishops Castle’s final pair eventually held on for a draw.