By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle
Skipper Rob Foster admitted it was the worst possible start to the season imaginable as Birmingham League champions Shrewsbury slumped to a shock eight-wicket defeat at home to West Bromwich Dartmouth.
Shrewsbury had beaten the same side away from home in the Graham Williamson Trophy a fortnight earlier but any hopes of a repeat were dashed after the London Roaders, invited to bat first, were skittled for just 83.
“It was as disappointing start as you could get,” said Foster. “It was certainly one of the worst performances I’ve been involved in for a long time.
“The first ball of the two innings really summed it up. We lost Ed (Foster) in ours but in theirs we dropped Kadeer Ali.
“The pitch didn’t help as it was slow and difficult but we didn’t adapt and didn’t apply ourselves as we should have.
“We were all dejected afterwards with how it went and now we have to bounce back at Brockhampton on Saturday.”
Shrewsbury could have been excused for fearing it was going to be one of those days when free-scoring opener Ed Foster was bowled off the very first ball of the match by Zeeshan Arif.
Steve Leach (2), Ed Barnard (11) and Tom Cox (1) quickly followed him back to the pavilion to leave Shrewsbury in serious trouble at 25-4.
Skipper Rob Foster (18) and Joe Leach (16) briefly threatened to lead a revival – their stand of 31 comfortably the highest in the innings – but then the wheels came off once more with the champions dismissed for just 83 inside 33 testing overs.
West Bromwich, in reply, had no such problems with openers Basit Zaman (31no) and former Gloucestershire batsman Kadeer Ali (30) laying solid foundations as the visitors cruised to 84-2.
The only successful bowler was spinner Elliot Green (2-19) but this was very much a day to forget for the county towners.
They had hoped to hit back at Penkridge in the first round of the National Knockout the following day but the match fell victim to a waterlogged pitch and will now take place on Sunday.
Shrewsbury will have to field a much depleted side owing to a host of Shropshire call ups for the Unicorns Trophy Knockout tie against Lincolnshire at London Road.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury’s second team had a wasted trip to Harborne II in the Birmingham League’s premier reserve division with the match washed out without a ball bowled.
They will hope to open their season with a London Road clash against Brockhampton II on Saturday.