By Stuart Dunn, @studunn21, at The Shrewsbury Chronicle
CHAMPIONS Shrewsbury are now a massive 90 points clear at the top of the Birmingham Cricket League’s premier division after handing out a nine-wicket beating to Brockhampton just before skipper Rob Foster was presented with the title trophy.
And it was also a rewarding day for consistent wicketkeeper Anthony Parker as he set a new club Birmingham League record for the most dismissals in a season.
It was another dominant display from the London Roaders with England under-19 star Ed Barnard making a pleasing return to first team action following a long injury lay-off.
Opening batsman Steve Leach again underlined his promise with another fine knock, Steve Barnard bowled sharply to claim four wickets and then there was wicketkeeper Parker’s record.
The Shropshire glovesman, who ended a long association with Shifnal to join Shrewsbury this season, held on to three catches and completed a sharp stumping to take his number of league victims this term to 35.
It broke the previous club record of 32 dismissals achieved by Jack Brydon in the 2008 season with Parker’s contribution highlighted by skipper Foster.
He always knew Parker would add much to the Shrewsbury side which is why he was so pleased to entice him to London Road as a replacement for popular South African Ryan Bishop.
“It just shows how well he has kept,” said Foster. “He’s been superb behind the stumps and I can’t think of anything he’s missed all season.
“He’s been a great addition and has changed the dynamic of our side as he’s just got that X-factor down the order when he bats that takes games away from people while behind the stumps he’s a proven winner.
“Bish was a tough act to follow, but he’s done very well.”
Brockhampton, one of only two teams to have beated Shrewsbury in the league this season, never looked like conjuring up a repeat once Steve Barnard (4-38) reduced them to 44-4.
Ben Stebbings (46) and Dave Exall (25), two of Brock’s many Herefordshire Minor Counties regulars, attempted to lead a fightback, but Shrewsbury were always on top as they removed the visitors for 136.
There were also wickets for Sam Griffiths (2-24), Dan Manders (2-35) and Mike Barnard (2-37).
Shrewsbury, in reply, quickly lost Ed Foster for 12, but not before he had broken his own Birmingham League record of runs in a season. He now has 857 this year.
That brought together teenagers Steve Leach and Ed Barnard and they shared in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 111 as Shrewsbury eased to 139-1 and 20 more points against a side who had started the day in second place in the table.
Leach carried his bat for an unbeaten 61 from 106 balls, passing 700 league runs for the season in the process, while Barnard played like he had never been away for 46 not out.
Skipper Foster, whose side head to West Bromwich Dartmouth on Saturday, hailed it as a another complete team performance.
“Steve Barnard really led the way with the ball, taking four quality wickets, and he was well backed up,” he said. “Then the batting was just clinical with Steve Leach superb again and so was Ed Barnard. It was very pleasing for everyone to see him back in a Shrewsbury shirt.”
Meanwhile, a day after being presented with the Birmingham League championship trophy, Shrewsbury skipper Rob Foster took delivery of more silverware as he lifted the Salop Leisure Twenty20 prize.
Shrewsbury, no strangers to success in the popular annual competition held at their London Road headquarters, beat Oswestry comfortably in the semi finals before seeing off Shifnal, last four conquerors of Whitchurch, in the final.
Sam Griffiths was the leading light for the county towners in the semi final, snaring 4-13, while there was also some success for Ed Foster (2-7) and Alex Johnson (2-18) as Oswestry were bowled out for 69.
Shrewsbury then eased to 71-3 inside nine overs with Brockhampton captain Ben Stebbings, their one permitted guest player, hitting an unbeaten 47.
That set up a Shrewsbury v Shifnal final later in the day and the hosts prevailed by six wickets.
Shifnal batted first and decent contributions from their South African guest Morne Heyneke (39), who captains Brewood, and Simon Gregory (30) pushed the total up to 134-9 from their 20 overs.
Mike Barnard (3-20) and Dan Manders (3-28) bowled well for Shrewsbury while ex-Cound man Johnson removed county captain Richard Oliver for just five.
Shrewsbury then chased well to reach 136-4 with 20 balls to spare as Will Parton (39no), Ed Foster (32) and Steve Barnard (17no) led the way.