Bridgnorth (255-5) vs Wem (201-6) – Winning Draw
A superb all-round performance from Sam Whitney enabled Bridgnorth to claim a vital lions’ share of the points from a winning draw on Saturday, after slipping to three defeats in the previous weeks.
After being invited to bat by the visitors, Whitney opened in place of the missing Ryan Lockley and anchored the innings with a first team career-best 74. With skipper Dave Exall dismissed early, Karl Quiney supported for a while before getting a good ball, whereupon Michael Hill combined with the former captain to take Bridgnorth past the 100-mark.
With both men going well and building a platform for a big first-innings total, heavy showers forced an early break in play. The subsequent loss of momentum suited the visitors well after the resumption as Wem fought back to dismiss both men, and at 140-4 the innings was in the balance. But Matty Simmonds and Dave Laird came together and knocked the ball around nicely, before Laird launched into attack-mode late on to surge past his half century as the Cricket Meadow men cruised towards the 250-mark.
As Simmonds played the perfect foil to finish unbeaten on a run-a-ball 45, Laird was eventually run-out for a 54-ball 73 featuring six boundaries and three sixes. But due to the earlier rain delays the final total of 255-5 off 55 overs was adjusted, so Wem were now given a revised target of 206 off 36 overs to claim a winning draw, hardly a daunting proposition for Wem’s powerful top-order.
The response started with ease as Harry Chandler and Craig Heath got out of the blocks early and Bridgnorth struggled to make an early breakthrough, and the pressure told as errors in the field proved costly.
A century opening stand was finally ended as leg-spinner Whitney found his way through Chandler’s defences, but this only brought visiting captain and former Glamorgan allrounder Graham Wagg to the crease, who was immediately looking to continue the positive intent.
However, Whitney had other ideas and bowled his Shropshire team-mate for 27 before picking up two more quick wickets, whilst left-arm seamer Michael Hill claimed the key scalp of Heath for 92, as the visitors slipped from 158-1 to 175-5.
But with the result still in the balance, Wem’s middle-order continued to attack as Andy Harrison hit three quick boundaries, with further chances being missed in the field, meaning twelve runs would be needed off the last over for them to claim the winning draw points.
Tasked with bowling the final six deliveries, Whitney held his nerve to get the dangerous Blenkinsop stumped off the third delivery, bringing with it his 17th five-wicket haul. Only two further runs could then be mustered from the rest of the over, as Bridgnorth walked away with 14 points compared to Wem’s eight for their efforts.
Bridgnorth II (244-5) vs Frankton (139-7) – Winning Draw
In another rain-affected contest, Bridgnorth’s second string also ran out with the greater spoils as captain Matt Martin led his side from the front with an excellent unbeaten century.
Losing two early wickets after being invited to bat first, Martin joined the aggressive Green at the crease whose 35 featured seven boundaries and got the Cricket Meadow men off to a positive start. Peter Thompson then combined with the skipper to compile what would prove a match-defining 153-run fourth wicket partnership as both raced along, finding the boundary on a regular basis.
Thompson was eventually dismissed late on for a superb 77, but alongside Cam Wallis, Martin brought up his eighth second team century in the final over of the innings.
Asserting their dominance on the game further still, strike bowlers Toby Hughes and Wallis then made the perfect start with the ball, immediately reducing the hosts to 5-3 in their reply. But Frankton counter-attacked through Hale and Welti as they attempted to chase a revised losing draw target of 131 in their 24-over innings.
Lewis Hurdley then produced a key spell in the middle overs to dismiss both batters, ultimately finishing with 3-39, before Wallis (3-28) returned to claim the seventh wicket to fall as Bridgnorth hunted for the full set of winning draw points.
However, the game wasn’t over yet as home captain McKay launched a late salvo hitting 30 off just 16 balls in a last-gasp and ultimately successful attempt to sneak past the losing draw target, meaning the hosts were able to claim an extra two points whilst Martin’s men walked away with 17.
Bridgnorth III (189-9) beat Wheaton Aston (94) by 95 runs
A much-improved display from the third team saw them claim their first win in seven weeks, as they came out firmly on top in their game at Quatt that saw fifteen wickets fall to catches.
What would prove to be a match of batters finding ways of getting out started remarkably serenely after the visitors invited Bridgnorth to bat first, with openers Richard Ealey and Charlie Ward easing their side up to 80-0 before a sharp shower forced a delay. The rain seemingly freshened up the pitch as the Wheaton Aston bowlers enjoyed some exaggerated bounce off a length, which would eventually trigger a remarkable collapse from Bridgnorth’s middle order.
Reaching 102 without loss, Ealey was caught behind off another short ball for 31, before Jack Welch mis-timed another to mid-wicket. Ward and Ed Bennett then continued to put away the loose deliveries that seemingly arrived on a regular basis as the visiting bowlers were guilty at times of over-playing the short-pitched bowling.
As the hosts looked to accelerate their innings late on, the middle-order batsmen managed to hit the ball straight to fielders on regular occasions, and from 141-3 in the 30th over, Wheaton Aston fought back to reduce them to 189-9 by the end of the innings.
Knowing a good start with the ball would be essential, opening bowlers Alex Thomas and Will Buxton responded in style to grab two wickets apiece in the first twelve overs to yet more catches to put Bridgnorth on top, but at 50-4 the visitors continued to attack.
With the forward defensive shot seemingly going out of fashion, change bowlers Ben Musgrave and Guy Black profited from the attacking mindset as further outfield catches saw Wheaton Aston slide to 80-9, before Black (4-19) sealed the deal in the 25th over as Arjun Cherukuri took the winning catch.
Bridgnorth IV (216) beat Knockin & Kinnerley (153) by 63 runs
Jack Welch’s fifth century for the fourth team proved the key ingredient for another win on Sunday at Cricket Meadow. Arjun Cherukuri and Louis Jordan both supported their captain’s efforts with 21 runs apiece but a few loose shots from the middle order prevented a bigger total that at times looked possible.
However, Knockin’s early batting efforts crumbled thanks to some fine accurate bowling from in-form seamer Rhona Ferrans (3-22), backed-up by Tess and Nell Walsh who both picked up a well-deserved wicket.
The visitors’ middle order then battled hard to get back into the game and, for a time, the result was back in the balance. But vital breakthroughs from legspinners Arjun Cherukuri and Ben Musgrave trigged a late collapse featuring three run-outs as Knockin were eventually bowled out for 153.