Ed Foster

All-round Ed Foster and hat-trick hero Green shine

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

Ed Foster showed his versatility and Elliot Green helped himself to a fine hat-trick as Shrewsbury impressively gained a winning draw over a Berkswell side striving to succeed them as Birmingham League champions.

Foster started as wicketkeeper in the absence of Anthony Parker and then grabbed three wickets before top scoring with an excellent 87 as Shrewsbury just about reached their revised winning draw target to pick up 14 welcome points.

Spinner Green, having earlier taken three wickets in as many balls during an eye-catching five-wicket haul, hit the very last ball of the game for a boundary to ensure Shrewsbury gained the upper hand against a Berkswell side packed with first class experience.

Darren Maddy, the former Warwickshire and England star, was the biggest name in the opposition ranks with Berkswell, led by captain Dominic Ostler, another former Edgbaston stalwart, also able to field former Leicestershire bowler David Brignull and Nick James, an ex-Glamorgan and Warwickshire player.

Shrewsbury captain Rob Foster was delighted with his side’s efforts as they moved 29 points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s home clash with basement boys Himley.

“Berkswell are a very strong side,” said Foster. “They’re a bit of a who’s who of first class cricket so it was pleasing that we managed to play so well. I thought the result reflected our performance.”

Berkswell, stuck in, totalled 216-9 from their 55 overs with opener James Neale hitting 50 and Tom Lewis, a regular for Warwickshire’s second team, adding 37.

Green got rid of the two stand-out names in the Berkswell side, with Ostler impressively stumped by Ed Foster off the spinner for 30, and Maddy caught behind behind by Foster for 26.

It helped Green, no stranger to taking hat-tricks, to a return of 5-64 while Foster, in between his tidy display behind the stumps which saw him take three catches in all and complete two stumpings, also took the chance to bowl 11 overs for 3-48.

“Elliot took a bit of punishment in his first three or four overs,” said captain Foster. “But he came back strongly and bowled very well to take five wickets.

“Ed was the fourth seamer so I thought we would give him a few overs and see how he went and he did well. I kept wicket when he bowled, probably the first time I’ve done it for the first team.”

Shrewsbury, in reply, were going nicely at 101-1 but the departure of skipper Foster for 31 after he put on 72 for the second wicket with his brother Ed sparked a collapse to 119-4 and later 139-6.

Opener Foster, enjoying a rich vein of form, continued to close in on a century until he was stumped off Maddy (3-66) for an impressive 87 from 117 balls.

James (4-47) was also among the wickets for Berkswell but Green kept his cool to end 19 not out as he dispatched the final ball of the match to the boundary to ensure Shrewsbury emerged with the lion’s share of the points.

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury’s 2nd XI had a wasted trip to Leamington II in the Birmingham League premier division as the match was abandoned without a ball bowled.

Shrewsbury’s second string hit the road again on Saturday, this time to Himley II.

Oswestry win Salop Leisure Twenty20

Oswestry caused an upset as they beat hosts and holders Shrewsbury by 16 runs in the final of the Salop Leisure Knockout T20 Trophy tournament.

Because of the threat of rain, the final was reduced from 20 to 15 overs aside and Oswestry, batting first, posted 107 all out in 14.4 overs with Mark Robinson, 19, Alex Huxley, 17, and Vansh Bajaj, 16, the main contributors.

Sam Griffiths took 3-17 and Elliot Green, Henry Blofield and Paddy Butler took two wickets apiece for Shrewsbury who were then restricted to 91-8 in reply as Oswestry opted for a spin attack.

Tom Cox, 28, and Steve Barnard, 15, top scored as Shrewsbury never looked like overhauling the Oswestry total. Robinson, Robbie Clarke and Matthew Gregson claimed the bowling honours, taking two wickets apiece.

Rather than holding the tournament on a Sunday in August as in previous years, it was spread over three Friday evenings this summer to attract more spectators and avoid fixture congestion towards the end of the season.

As an incentive to attract more spectators, season ticket holders at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, those wearing the club’s football shirt and anyone picking up a flyer at the club’s two pre-season friendlies at the Greenhous Meadow qualified for a free drink courtesy of sponsor Salop Leisure at the tournament.

Scott Higgins, Salop Leisure’s sales and marketing manager, congratulated Oswestry and thanked all four teams for taking part this year. “We were delighted with the number of spectators, including many new faces, who watched the semi finals and final and hope they will continue to support Shropshire cricket clubs for the rest of the season,” said Mr Higgins.

“The change in tournament format was a massive success and we were delighted how well it was received by the teams and spectators alike. We shall now talk to Shrewsbury Cricket Club about the possibility of expanding the tournament to include more teams next season.”