Steve Barnard

Steve Barnard steers Shrewsbury to fifth Williamson final

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chroncile

Steve Barnard’s batting exploits sent Shrewsbury through to yet another Graham Williamson Trophy final on a weekend which brought more disappointment for the reigning champions in the Birmingham League.

The London Roaders slipped into the premier division’s bottom two after losing heavily by 118 runs at home to Knowle & Dorridge on Saturday.

But there was better news 24 hours later as all-rounder Barnard’s unbeaten 68 helped Shrewsbury beat Kidderminster by two wickets to set up a final against Walmley on a date to be arranged in the Graham Williamson Trophy.

Shrewsbury can do no wrong in this competition having won it for the last four years but their Midas touch, for the time being at least, has temporarily deserted them in the league.

Kidderminster batted first on Sunday and posted 197-8 as they were kept in check by three wickets apiece from Aussie Patrick Butler and youngster Jack Garmson.

Shrewsbury, in reply, lost a flurry of early wickets but Tom Cox steadied the ship with 31 before Barnard, at No 7, saw the job through in style, his unbeaten 68 steering the hosts to 198-8 with eight balls to spare.

“Steve really won us the game which was pleasing to see,” said captain Rob Foster. “He also bowled well and we were happy to get through to the final once again.”

It was an ideal pick me up for Shrewsbury after their worrying batting frailties were again ruthlessly exposed in the league on Saturday when they were dismissed for just 104 in reply to Knowle & Dorridge’s 222-7.

The visitors, invited to bat first, were in early trouble at 38-2 with the usually free-scoring Alex Phillips and overseas ace Michael Hill, a big star for Victoria in Australian’s Big Bash competition, both failling cheaply to Dewi Jones (2-40).

Shrewsbury still looked in the driving seat with K&D precariously placed at 94-5 despite a rapid 63 from 45 balls by opener Richard Johnson, a regular in first class cricket for Derbyshire.

But then captain David Smith (65) and Jack Grundy (61) joined forces to put on 125 for the sixth wicket as Shrewsbury found themselves chasing a much bigger target than they would have envisaged at one stage.

Mike Barnard, making his first league appearance of the season, backed up the early efforts of Jones by taking 2-33 and there were a couple of late victims for Elliot Green (2-43).

Shrewsbury, in reply, quickly had that sinking feeling once again as wickets fell all too regularly.

Welshman Jones top scored with a hard-hitting 35 from 44 balls at No 8 but otherwise meaningful support was in short supply.

Ed Foster, fresh from cracking a glorious century for a Birmingham League representative XI against a Worcestershire XI at Bromsgrove, departed for 15.

Then Joe Leach, making a welcome return from playing for Worcestershire in the County Championship, struck a couple of crisp boundaries before being caught for 18 as Shrewsbury again struggled to impose themselves with the bat, just managing to limp into three figures.

Will Mottram inflicted much of the damage by taking 3-44 as Shrewsbury dropped to 11th place in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Walsall.

Skipper Foster conceded: “We just didn’t bat very well again unfortunately. Everyone seems to be out of form at the same time, but everyone has got previous in terms of scoring runs so it will come good again for us.

“We had them 90-5 and potentially we were looking at getting them out for about 150 but then the two lads who both got 60 for them in the middle order came in and played well, not giving any chances.

“We then lost early wickets again so were always under pressure.

“It was disappointing because at the halfway stage we thought we were in a good position on a good pitch, but they bowled well.”

Meanwhile, it was an equally disappointing day for SHREWSBURY II last Saturday as they crashed to the bottom of the Birmingham League’s premier reserve division table with a crushing 261 run defeat at leaders Knowle & Dorridge II.

Shrewsbury’s youngsters were shot out for 46 inside 22 overs with little resistance once captain Jon Anders, the opener, departed for 20.

The hosts earlier racked up a formidable 307-3 declared from 39 overs.

Opener Dominic Harding led the onslaught with an unbeaten 150 and John Price added 96. Jack Garmson plugged away to take 2-50.

Shrewsbury’s second sting host fourth-placed Wolverhampton II on Saturday.

Joe Leach

Shrewsbury set to face international star

Shrewsbury’s cricketers are desperate to get their Birmingham League season back on track by toppling a Walsall side likely to feature a Pakistan international star on Saturday.

All-rounder Umar Amin, Walsall’s high profile overseas professional, is expected to be on the opposite side as Shrewsbury strive to pep up their fortunes.

The London Road club also head to Walsall on Sunday for Birmingham League finals day of the ECB National Twenty20, but it’s the league meeting 24 hours earlier that’s arguably more important given their current lowly league position.

Shrewsbury dropped into the premier division’s bottom two with a heavy home defeat at the hands of Knowle & Dorridge last weekend, a fifth defeat in nine league outings for the reigning champions this season.

Skipper Rob Foster insists he remains confident that results will start to pick up as Shrewsbury get ready to face Walsall and their Pakistan ace Amin.

There was much excitement at the Gorway club when they managed to pull off a coup by securing the services of a man who has represented his country 27 times.

But Shrewsbury are no strangers to facing Test players in the Birmingham League having come up against the likes of Indian batsman Wasim Jaffer, New Zealand’s Ian Butler and Pakistan run machine Mohammad Yousuf in recent years.

Foster said: “Walsall’s Test star is doing well for them so he will be a key man, a dangerous cricketer, but it’s always nice to test yourselves against top players, something to always enjoy.”

Foster stressed he still believed Shrewsbury have what it takes to climb the table despite his current frustration.

“We’re pretty calm about it,” he said. “There’s no use ranting or raving about things. We’ve got players who have produced very good performances before and there’s no reason why they can’t again.”

Shrewsbury will be boosted by the availability of all-rounder Steve Barnard, who missed last Saturday’s defeat against K&D but was back in the side 24 hours later to hit an unbeaten 68 against Kidderminster as Shrewsbury reached the final of the Graham Williamson Trophy for a fifth successive year.

Foster added his side were still waiting to discover if Worcestershire would allow Joe Leach, now a regular in their County Championship side, to play club cricket for a second successive Saturday.

Shrewsbury will make a swift return to Walsall on Sunday to battle it out with the hosts, Tamworth and Barnt Green at the Birmingham League finals day for the ECB National Twenty20 competition. The winners will progress to the regional stages.

Shrewsbury (v Walsall, Saturday): from: S Leach, E Foster, T Cox, J Leach, R Foster, P Butler, A Parker, S Barnard, D Jones, S Griffiths, M Barnard, E Green.

Shrewsbury Cricket Club

U15s take on Bridgnorth in County Cup final

Shrewsbury U15s take on Bridgnorth at London Road tomorrow (Tuesday 24th June) in the County Cup final. 6.30pm start.

Leach set to return for K&D clash

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

WORCESTERSHIRE all-rounder Joe Leach is set to hand Shrewsbury a timely boost by declaring himself available for Saturday’s Birmingham League clash at home to Knowle & Dorridge.

Leach has cemented a regular place in the New Road club’s County Championship side in recent matches which has meant his Shrewsbury appearances have been limited since the early weeks of the season.

Now skipper Rob Foster hopes the talented 23-year-old, who bats in the top four for Shrewsbury as well as opening the bowling, will return to London Road for the visit of fourth-placed K&D.

Shrewsbury will start the game in the premier division’s bottom three having lost four of their eight league matches this season.

“It’s always great to have Joe in the side,” said Foster. “It will be a huge boost to have him available as he bats and bowls. It would be like having two players coming back into the side.

“Worcestershire have no game this weekend and Joe’s always keen to come and play for us when he has the chance.”

Paceman Mike Barnard is also pushing for a place after taking four cheap wickets on his senior bow this season in last Sunday’s comfortable win over Oswestry in the ECB National Twenty20 KO.

But offspinning all-rounder Alex Blofield is unavailable which leaves Shrewsbury still considering their selection options as the reigning champions chase a win to get them moving back in the right direction.

“We know Knowle & Dorridge are playing well at the moment and they’ve got some good players,” added Foster. “They’ve got a good overseas player in batsman Michael Hill, a Big Bash star back home in Australia for Victoria.

“Derbyshire’s Richard Johnson is likely to play for them and Alex Phillips was up there with Ed (Foster) and Steve Leach as the top run scorers in the division last season.

“It will be a tough game but we just need to put a few results together to move us up the table.”

Shrewsbury also have a home game on Sunday when they welcome Kidderminster in the semi-finals of the Graham Williamson Trophy.

Shrewsbury (v Knowle & Dorridge), from: E Foster, S Leach, T Cox, P Butler, R Foster, A Parker, S Barnard, D Jones, S Griffiths, E Green, J Leach, M Barnard.

Elliot Green

National T20 success can’t hide League troubles

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

Shrewsbury’s disappointing start to the defence of their Birmingham League premier division title continued with defeat at home to Barnt Green – but there was again better news 24 hours later with progress in the ECB National Twenty20 KO.

A four-wicket haul from spinner Elliot Green was not enough to prevent the London Roaders from suffering a fourth defeat in eight league games this term as they suffered a three-wicket reverse at the hands of Barnt Green.

Now skipper Rob Foster knows it’s important his third-bottom side, emphatic 147 run winners over Oswestry in the National T20 KO on Sunday, produce a much better performance at home to Knowle & Dorridge on Saturday to get them moving in the right direction in the top-flight table.

Foster said: “We’re just past the third way point of the season and there’s a few of us that have not really performed yet this year. The sooner we can turn it around the better.”

Shrewsbury’s batting again failed to fire as they were restricted to 188-9 from their 55 overs.

A number of men made starts without going on to deliver a truly telling contribution with Tom Cox (38), young Aussie Patrick Butler (32), Dewi Jones (29no) and Steve Leach (26) top scoring as Tom Brown (4-29) and Andy Sutton (3-44) kept it tight with the ball.

The dependable Green did his best to make a game of it by snaring 4-49 from 17 overs, but Barnt Green, held together by 51 from opener Nathan Newport, had more than six overs to spare as they progressed to 191-7.

“We were probably 20 or 30 runs light of having a chance and giving them a tougher chase,” said Foster. “It was the same problem we’ve been having the last few weeks as we’re just lacking someone to go on and make a big score.”

Sunday once again provided the highlight of the weekend for Shrewsbury as they made light work of dismantling depleted lower league Shropshire rivals Oswestry in the third round of the ECB National T20 KO.

Shrewsbury rattled up an imposing 239-5 from their 20 overs before Oswestry, in reply, got nowhere near as they closed on 92-6.
Most of the batting fireworks were provided by big-hitting Alex Blofield (65) and Steve Leach (56) while skipper Foster (26) and Steve Barnard (23) also weighed in.

Mike Barnard then marked his first senior appearance of the season by claiming 4-15 from his four overs as Oswestry ended well off the pace.

Foster said: “Oswestry had a pretty weak side out with only a couple of first teamers so it was a bit of a non-event really. But it was pleasing to get a win and you can only beat what’s in front of you.”

Shrewsbury can now look forward to competing with hosts Walsall, Barnt Green and Tamworth in Birmingham League finals day for the national competition on Sunday, June 29. The winners will progress to the regional stages.

Meanwhile, SHREWSBURY II enjoyed one of their best days of the season in the Birmingham League’s premier reserve division as they chalked up a winning draw at Barnt Green II.

Skipper Jon Anders, back from a fortnight in the first team, cracked 78 at the top of the order while a quickfire, unbeaten 41 from William Davies and 20 not out from Stephen Pym lifted the Shrewsbury total up to 205-7.

It proved enough to secure the lion’s share of the points as Barnt Green pulled up short in their chase, closing on 196-9, with two wickets apiece for Joshua Anders (2-22), Harry Bolland (2-51) and Jack Garmson (2-55).

Shrewsbury’s second string travel to leaders Knowle & Dorridge II on Saturday.

Shrewsbury Cricket Club

Have your say, help improve cricket in Shropshire

Shropshire Cricket Board calls on recreational cricketers to have their say and influence the future of cricket at grassroots level in the second annual National Cricket Playing survey.

Last year more than 300 players in Shropshire responded to the survey – the first of its kind ever undertaken in cricket – and Shropshire Cricket Board is already acting on the comprehensive and wide-ranging feedback received. Clubs and leagues are reviewing formats, rule changes, start times, travel distances to matches and greater opportunities for women, girls and disability cricketers to play the game.

Examples of changes in Shropshire since last year’s survey include:

  •  The formalization and running of the Broseley Bash T20 Club Cluster League
  •  The development of a T20 4 x Midweek League Representative Competition
  •  The development of a Midweek T20 Champions League Finals Day
  •  The formalization and running of a Women’s Club Hard Ball League
  •  The development of a Women’s Club autumn Indoor league
  •  The development of a Colts (16- 19) autumn Indoor League

“Last year’s survey attracted a fantastic response and we intend to listen and respond with innovative and forward-thinking ideas which will all help attract more players and volunteers and make it as inclusive as possible”.

Please complete the survey to allow us to help you shape the future of your cricket needs in Shropshire.

Chris Dirkin
[Head of Club & Community Programmes – Shropshire Cricket Board]


Shrewsbury still searching for performances

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

SHREWSBURY’S stuttering season continued with skipper Rob Foster admitting his side were “outplayed” in their losing draw at Kidderminster – but there was better news 24 hours later as he starred in their National Twenty20 KO win over Attock.

Shrewsbury were indebted to a gritty knock from opener Ed Foster for ensuring they just about managed to hold on for a losing draw worth four points at Kidderminster in the Birmingham League premier division.

Foster kept his cool as wickets tumbled around him as Shrewsbury closed well off the pace on 98-9 in reply to Kidderminster’s competitive total of 175-6.

A delayed start at Chester Road owing to the wet weather saw the match eventuallly get under way at 3pm and it was a reduced 32 overs per side affair.

Kidderminster, invited to bat first, were well served by a third wicket stand of 90 between Michael Hill (65) and Craig Wood (53).

Sam Griffiths, the former Shelton seamer, was the pick of the visiting attack, claiming 3-36 from 10 overs, his victims including regular Worcestershire opener Matt Pardoe, caught and bowled for 21.

Spinner Charlie Morris, a close season recruit from Oswestry, also played his part by claiming 3-48.

Shrewsbury, in reply, were quickly up against it after slumping to 33-4 with Steve Leach, Anthony Parker, Tom Cox and skipper Foster all back in the pavilion.

But opener Foster was in unbeatable form, standing firm to compile an unbeaten 45, riding to Shrewsbury’s rescue, as he so often has over the years.

He faced 94 balls and hit four boundaries as Shrewsbury hung on for a losing draw, not that it was much consolation.

Dewi Morris (17) provided some support, but the Kidderminster attack, spearheaded by Gareth Williams (4-22), held the upper hand as Shrewsbury, who host Barnt Green on Saturday, slipped two places in the table to ninth spot.

Skipper Foster said: “We were so far off being competitive against a good Kidderminster side who really outplayed us.

“We want to put a few good performances together back to back but we don’t seem to be able to do it at the moment.

“Ed batted well and Sam Griffiths bowled well for his three wickets. His caught and bowled to get rid of Matt Pardoe was stunning – but overall it was a disappointing day for us.”

Sunday brought better news for Shrewsbury as they beat Attock by nine runs to set up a second round tie in the National Twenty20 KO at home to Oswestry on Sunday afternoon.

Skipper Foster cracked an excellent 60 from 30 balls and Tom Cox added 35 as Shrewsbury racked up 154-5 from their 20 overs.

Spinners Elliot Green and recent recruit Joe Hall then took two wickets apiece as Attock pulled up short on 145-9.

“It was a good performance and good to get a win,” added Foster. “They got 25 runs of the last two overs which made it look a bit closer than it probably was.”

SHREWSBURY II, who have not had much luck with the weather this season, had another unwanted day off with their scheduled home game with Moseley II unable to get started owing to London road being too wet.

They head to Barnt Green II in the Birmingham Cricket League’s premier reserve division on Saturday.

Foster hope Jones can continue good form

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

SKIPPER Rob Foster has high hopes that in-form quickie Dewi Jones can shine again with the ball as Shrewsbury target back-to-back Birmingham Cricket League wins at Kidderminster on Saturday.

Teenager Jones grabbed four wickets for the London Roaders in last weekend’s victory over Kenilworth Wardens, a result which propelled Shrewsbury from bottom spot up to seventh place in the premier division table.

He’s now taken 14 wickets in his last three matches having grabbed five-wicket hauls a few days earlier both for Glamorgan’s 2nd XI against Somerset and also for the Wales Minor Counties side at Wiltshire in the Unicorns Trophy.

Foster said the contribution of Jones, a close season recruit from Wombourne, was key to the victory over Kenilworth and he now hopes there is plenty more to come from the 18-year-old Welshman.

Foster said: “It’s been a difficult start to the season for everyone but I thought Dewi bowled very well against Kenilworth.

“It was great to see him knock over their top four and you could tell he was bowling with confidence having taken a few wickets for Glamorgan seconds and for Wales.

“He’s a quick bowler and he’s only 18 so he’s still filling out, still developing.”

Foster felt his side were still not at their best last weekend but insisted it was a vital victory after Shrewsbury were restricted to just 116.

“We need to string a few wins together now,” he said. “We’ve got Kidderminster next and that’s always a tough game. It could be a case that they’re missing Matt Pardoe to Worcestershire and we’re without Joe Leach for the same reasons unless Worcester release him.”

Shrewsbury are again without the unavailable Steve Barnard and Alex Blofield while England under-19 star Ed Barnard misses out through injury.

Shrewsbury are also in action on Sunday when they host Attock in the first round of the National Twenty20 (2pm).

Foster added: “We got to the last 16 last year and it’s a good competition that we would like to do well in. It’s always good fun playing Twenty20 cricket and the final in the last few years has been held at The Oval and been shown live on TV.”

SHREWSBURY (v Kidderminster): E Foster, S Leach, T Cox, R Foster, P Butler, A Parker, J Anders, D Jones, E Green, C Morris, S Griffiths.

Dewi Jones’ haul guides Shrewsbury to tight win

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

DEWI JONES made his first significant contribution for Shrewsbury as the Birmingham League champions hauled themselves off the bottom of the premier division with a hard-earned victory.

Jones, a regular in the Wales Minor Counties Championship side, knocked over the top four Kenilworth Wardens batsman as Shrewsbury pulled off a 29 run verdict in a low scoring game to secure a morale-boosting second league win of the summer.

The London Roaders could have been excused for fearing the worst at the halfway stage after being dismissed for a modest total of 116 which was built around a determined half century from Tom Cox.

But once paceman Jones made early inroads there was no way back for Wardens and they were sent packing for just 87 inside 25 overs.

“It was a huge 24 points for us,” said Shrewsbury captain Rob Foster. “The pitch was pretty difficult, hard to score on, but Tom Cox played very well. His 50 in the circumstances was probably worth 100 as it gave us something to bowl at.

“He’s done well for us a few times over the years in this sort of position when our backs are against the wall by putting his hand up and scoring a few.

“Then Dewi bowled really well which was great to see and he took out their top four batsmen to quickly put them on the back foot.”

Foster was pleased with the spirit his side displayed on a day they were missing several key men with the the likes of Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach, Steve Barnard, Ed Barnard and Alex Blofield all absent.

The result rocketed Shrewsbury from bottom up to seventh place ahead of Saturday’s trip to Kidderminster.

Jones, who spent last season playing his club cricket for Wombourne, grabbed five wickets for Wales in the Unicorns Trophy at

Wiltshire the previous weekend and weighed in with another five-wicket haul for Glamorgan’s second team at Somerset in between his starring role for Shrewsbury.

And he picked up where he left off in those games by quickly removing the Kenilworth top order to leave them reeling at 39-4.

Australian youngster Patrick Butler (3-6) and Shropshire new boy Sam Griffiths (3-25) then got to work to dismiss Wardens for 87.

“Both Pat and Sam did very well after Dewi picked up the first four wickets,” added skipper Foster. “Sam got the next three before Pat cleaned up the tail.

“He’s been a big plus for us since coming in. He bowls his leg spin a little quicker than Elliot (Green) and I thought he would cause them problems with his variation.”

Shrewsbury had earlier found runs hard to come by with the exception of Cox, at No 3, who dropped anchor to compile a defiant 54 from 122 balls.

It was just what Shrewsbury needed as they lost wickets at regular intervals with the experienced Jon Anders, a late call up to replace the injured Ed Barnard, the next highest scorer with 17.

Meanwhile, SHREWSBURY II are next-to-bottom in the Birmingham League’s premier reserve division table ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Moseley II.

They were beaten by two wickets at Attock II last weekend with Shrewsbury’s total of 173-7 not quite enough to see them home.