By Stuart Dunn, @studunn21, at The Shrewsbury Chronicle
RUN MACHINE Ed Foster helped himself to his second century in as many weeks as Shrewsbury stayed well out in front at the top of the Birmingham League’s premier division.
A week on from hitting a club record 169 against Kidderminster, the imperious Foster was at it again, his class shining through, as Shrewsbury collected 17 points from a winning draw at Barnt Green.
The ultra consistent opener cracked 105 to take his number of Birmingham League runs this season to 636.
“Ed’s playing fantastically at the moment,” said Shrewsbury captain Rob Foster, his younger brother. “His talent is shining through and having spent a lot of time in the middle against Kidderminster this was another great innings.
“He’s seeing the ball really well and the pitches are very good which suits him.”
Foster, who hit nine fours, and Steve Leach, in good touch for 58, put on 135 for the first wicket.
Zain Shahid, who claimed 5-55, helped peg them back a little, but Shrewsbury still managed to post an impressive 263-6 from their 55 overs with Rob Foster (25), Matt Swift (24) and Anthony Parker (20no) also contributing.
Barnt Green, in reply, were quickly in trouble at 34-3 and 62-5 with former Shelton man Sam Griffiths, opening the bowling in the absence of Worcestershire’s in-form Joe Leach, grabbing 3-32.
Steve Barnard, the hero of the dramatic fightback win over Chorley in the ECB National Club Championship the previous Sunday, was also to the fore with 2-32.
But then the home side rallied thanks to 72 from Warwickshire’s Australian under-19 star Sam Hain and an unbeaten 65 from skipper Andy Sutton as they closed on 198-7.
“Sam bowled very well at the top of the order with Steve Barnard,” said the captain. “Alex Johnson also came in and bowled well, beating the edge a few times, but he didn’t have a lot of luck.
“We didn’t perhaps have our best day in the field as we dropped a couple of chances but it happens sometimes.
“We were happy to come away with 17 points and would have taken it at the start of the day and it was really a game we dominated from start to finish.”
Shrewsbury are 38 points clear of second placed Brockhampton ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Knowle & Dorridge who sit fourth.
It’s also a big day for Shrewsbury on Sunday as they battle it out with Ombersley, their semi final opponents, Dorridge and West Bromwich Dartmouth at finals day of the Birmingham League’s Twenty20KO at Bromsgrove.