Bridgnorth (145-7) beat Oswestry (144-9) by three wickets
Captain Sam Whitney led from the front with an excellent all-round performance to clinch a first win of the season at Cricket Meadow on Saturday.
After winning the toss and choosing to bowl first under cloudy skies, Dave Exall and the returning Adam Quiney started well, Quiney removing the dangerous Joe Carrasco early.
But it was the introduction of spin once the visitors’ top order had settled that changed the complexion of the match.
The fortunes turned as JP Erasmus (3-22) claimed the vital scalp of Warrick Fynn, followed shortly after by Alex Huxley. Sam Baugh also bowled a tight spell in the middle order and was unlucky to go without reward, before the captain continued his fine start with the ball this season to claim 3-25 as Oswestry were held to just 144 runs off 50 overs.
Needing a solid start in bowler-friendly conditions, Bridgnorth’s top order struggled against a fired-up visiting pace attack, spearheaded by Wales strike bowler Ben Roberts, taking 3-25. At 26-4 Whitney and Simon Gregory worked hard to arrest the slide, before Gregory was unluckily removed. Whitney then combined with Mark MacPherson-Lees for what would turn out to be a match-defining partnership as the pair added 66 runs for the sixth wicket, showing admirable composure against a spirited and strong Oswestry outfit.
MacPherson-Lees was dismissed for a gritty 16 shortly after Whitney had brought up a superb half-century, whereupon Tom Weaver joined his skipper at the crease to finish off the chase. But it was undoubtedly Sam Whitney’s day, finishing on a Birmingham League career best 69 not out. Naturally, he was delighted with his and his team’s efforts.
“That was a really good all-round performance from us today, all the bowlers did their job really well, backed up by some tight fielding. But the run chase was really sensible, and finishing it off at the end with Weav was a massively proud moment.
“The team spirit in this side is fantastic, and probably our greatest asset. They (Oswestry) are a very good side, and to get this kind of result so early in the season is a massive boost for everyone.”
Bridgnorth IV (217-4) beat Shrewsbury (216-5) by six wickets
After convincingly claiming the Division Two title last season, Bridgnorth’s fourth team cantered to their first win in Shropshire Sunday League Division One, thanks to an excellent run chase.
Bowling first, Albert and Norman Roberts reduced the visitors to 9-3 within four overs, before the recovery was led through opposition skipper Alistair Pearce (56) and Alex Walker (93 not out). James White and Huw Morgan also chipped in with a late wicket apiece, before some good death bowling kept the visitors in check at 216-5 in helpful batting conditions.
Despite the loss of two early wickets, Bridgnorth set about the chase with confidence and panache to boot. Albert Roberts completed a fine all-round performance with a quick-fire 36, before skipper James White (82) combined with Alex Starr (78 not out) to race their team to the winning line with more than eight overs to spare.