Plenty of positives for Shropshire’s cricketers after facing Worcestershire XI

Director of Cricket John Abrahams felt there were plenty of positives to emerge for Shropshire after facing a Worcestershire County Cricket Club XI for the second time this month.

Worcestershire put 204 on the board at Wellington, with Xavie Clarke, who has played regularly for Shropshire since his debut for the county last summer, leading the way for the Pears with a half century, as left-arm spinner Sam Baugh took four wickets.

Shropshire, in reply, were going along well at 95-2 before eventually being dismissed for 178, as the visitors won Sunday’s 50-over friendly by 26 runs.

Abrahams said: “There were lots of positives and also one or two disappointments in that there’s a recurring theme about not playing good quality spin bowling as well as we should do.

“But I was very impressed with the commitment in the field and the way our bowlers stuck to their lines and lengths. Charlie Home, as captain, also supported the bowlers very well with his field placings.

“There were a couple of points in our innings when one of the batsmen could have stayed in and batted for a little bit longer, which would have made our task a lot easier, but unfortunately we didn’t do that.

“We had a couple of partnerships. People got in and then unfortunately got themselves out, which made the chase more difficult than it should have been.”

Worcestershire elected to bat and there was early joy for Shropshire when Sam Ellis removed opener Josh Dell, one of four players with first-team experience in the visiting team.

Alex Milton made 37 before a fourth-wicket partnership of 115 between Shifnal batsman Clarke and Rehaan Edavalath put Worcestershire in a strong position at 185-3.

Bridgnorth’s Baugh then struck with successive deliveries, with Matt Swift taking a good catch as Clarke departed for an impressive 66, before Edavalath was out for 40.

That prompted a flurry of late wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 204 in the final over, which represented an excellent response from the home side.

Baugh ended with 4-34 and fellow spinners Tyler Ibbotson (2-32) and skipper Home (2-39) also played their part.

Shropshire enjoyed a bright start with the bat, Wem’s Harry Chandler hitting 18 before being first man out with the score on 36.

Opener James Kinder (38) and Simon Gregory (21) moved the total along to 95-2 until both fell in quick succession.

Wicketkeeper Ben Lees, at No 7, was in good touch for 26 as Shropshire continued to chase their target, but wickets continued to fall and they were all out for 178 in the 48th over, with Josh Dickenson taking 3-41 and Joe Stanley 2-38.

Abrahams added: “All of the matches we have played have been very beneficial. Testing ourselves against some quality cricketers who play for Worcestershire, people who have played first-class cricket and in the case of Pat Brown, who played in the previous match at Bridgnorth, someone who has played international cricket.

“It’s a really good test for our players and it shows them the standard that they need to play at a consistent level if they want to be successful, both individually and collectively.”

Abrahams also thanked Wellington for impressively staging the fixture at Orleton Park: “The place was an absolute picture and the work that had gone in was tremendous,” he said. “Despite all the rain in the days before the game, they produced a good cricket pitch which allowed some good batting and some good bowling.

“They were really well organised and had taken all the considerations into account of what was required, which met the needs of both teams and the spectators as well.”

Shropshire play another 50-over friendly this Sunday when they face a Shropshire County League representative side at Whitchurch (11am start).

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