By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle
Ed Barnard, Shrewsbury’s England under-19 all-rounder, grabbed four wickets on his first bowling appearance of the season to lift the London Roaders into the top four in the Birmingham Cricket League’s premier division.
Barnard had been unable to bowl for Shrewsbury in his earlier outings for the club this term following back and side injuries, playing as a top order batsman.
But, having recently got among the wickets for England’s under-19s against South Africa, both in Youth Tests and then the one-day series,
Shrewsbury skipper Rob Foster was pleased to be able to throw him the ball during last weekend’s 40 run victory at Knowle & Dorridge.
Barnard responded by taking 4-28 from 7.1 overs as the home team were bowled out for 162 to hand Shrewsbury the points they needed to be mathematically safe from being dragged into any danger at the wrong end of the table – not that that was too big a concern given their impressive second half of the season revival.
“Ed had a stress fracture last year which unfortunately ruled him out of any cricket and from bowling,” said Foster. “That carried a bit into this year and in the few games he did play for us earlier in the season he had a side strain or something along those lines and hadn’t been able to bowl.
“But he showed his class last weekend, his quality, which was good to see.”
Barnard, also looking to impress at first class county Worcestershire in the closing weeks of the season, was well backed up with the ball by former Shelton man Sam Griffiths (3-27) and spinner Elliot Green (2-30) as the K&D reply fell away despite contributions from Jack Grundy (40) and Dom Harding (37).
Shrewsbury earlier posted 202 all out with opener Ed Foster once again laying solid foundations, hitting eight fours on his way to top scoring with 80 from 104 balls.
Alex Blofield, promoted to open in the absence of Steve Leach, added 26 and Tom Cox made 25 before Mike Barnard also chipped in down the order with 22 as home duo Michael Bevan and Tom Smith both took three wickets.
“It was a strange sort of batting performance from us,” added skipper Foster. “We were 120-1 after 25 overs which we were really pleased with and we were indebted to Ed and the way he played, so to then collapse to just over 200 all out I thought we might have been a bit light.
“But the way we bowled, led by Ed Barnard, was superb really. We bowled and fielded really well and took our chances. I don’t think we dropped anything which makes a change.
“It was pleasing and it was only the second time I’ve been on the winning side at Knowle & Dorridge. They’re a good side, especially at home, so it was really pleasing to get a win there.”
Shrewsbury will hope to sign off their home programme with another victory against relegation-threatened Walsall on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Shrewsbury II have it all to do scramble clear of the bottom two in the premier reserve division following an eight-wicket defeat in a rain-interrupted match at home to leaders Knowle & Dorridge II.
Jon Anders’s side, 27 points adrift of safety with just two games to play, matched the club’s first team run for run in being bowled out for 202 before the visitors just about reached their revised victory target of 156-2.
Anders, an opening batsman, was in excellent touch for 92 and Dan Manders made 25 before K&D were set a target of 154 in 33 overs which they just about managed after being pushed all the way.
Shrewsbury’s second string head to Wolverhampton II, Anders’s former club, on Saturday knowing only a win will be enough to take their fight for survival to the last day of the season.