Elliot Green

Quick win at Walmley completes season

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

Shrewsbury were in no mood to hang around as they eased to their second emphatic victory over Walmley in as many weeks to end their Birmingham League premier division season in style – but skipper Rob Foster admitted it had not been the season he was hoping for.

He was optimistic Shrewsbury could made a decent fist of retaining the title they won so impressively last season, but a slow start put paid to those ambitions.

The county towners started to show what they could do in the second half of the season, impressively rallying to eventually finish fourth in the top-flight, but Foster insisted it had been a frustrating campaign.

“It’s been disappointing in my eyes,” said Foster. “Having won the league so comfortably last year, I was hopeful we could do well again.

“We lost a few close games early on without playing well and some of our performances earlier in the season were pretty ordinary so it’s frustrating when you look back.

“Apart from winning the Graham Williamson Trophy again, we’ve not had too much to shout about so it’s not been a hugely successful season.”

At least Shrewsbury managed to end on a positive note as, having coasted to a 113 run victory in the Graham Williamson Trophy final at London Road six days earlier, Shrewsbury once more proved too strong for Walmley to seal a convincing eight-wicket away win.

Shrewsbury needed less than 16 overs to reach their victory target of 145-2, completing their chase in little more than an hour.

Ed Foster led the way with a sparkling 57 from 31 balls, hitting seven fours and three sixes, as he shared in an opening stand of 74 in just 8.1 overs with Steve Leach (36).

England under-19 regular Ed Barnard missed out on the fun and games with the bat, making just four, but Alex Blofield most certainly didn’t as he once more showed his liking for the Walmley bowling.

Blofield smashed a quickfire 39 not out from just 17 deliveries – two sixes and six fours – as Shrewsbury chalked up one of their easiest wins of the season.

Spinner Elliot Green had earlier claimed an eye-catching 5-17 and Blofield helped himself to 2-18 as Walmley, despite 61 from James Brocklebank, were dismissed for 143.

“We played well, especially the way we batted, to get it done so quickly,” added skipper Foster. “There was some pretty good hitting.”

Meanwhile, already relegated Shrewsbury II closed their Birmingham League premier reserve division campaign with a welcome win, beating Walmley II by four wickets at London Road.

Having dismissed the visitors for 190, Shrewsbury’s second string made assured progress to 193-6 thanks to an unbeaten century from Charlie Farquhar.

Shrewsbury Cricket Club

Blofield returns as Shrewsbury seek win

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

It’s not been the start to the season Birmingham Cricket League champions Shrewsbury wanted, but captain Rob Foster insists no-one at London Road is pressing the panic button ahead of Saturday’s visit of Dorridge.

Shrewsbury have been beaten in both of their premier division games this term, tasting defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Dartmouth and then Brockhampton.

They are without two of their regulars this weekend as opening batsman Ed Foster is an usher at a friend’s wedding while Steve Barnard is ruled out through university commitments.

Alex Blofield and county paceman Mike Barnard, making his first appearance of the season, are pencilled in as replacements.

Skipper Foster detected some plus points in last weekend’s three-wicket reverse and hopes it will be a case of third time lucky as Shrewsbury get ready to host top-flight newcomers Dorridge (noon).

“There’s definitely no panic,” said Foster. “You don’t become a bad team overnight.

“We’ve got great players and it’s just a case of someone needing to put a great performance in.

“No-one’s quite done it yet, got a big score or taken some wickets to win us a game, which will bring our confidence back up and get us buzzing again.

“But the win a young team pulled off in the National KO at Penkridge last Sunday will help as that was a fantastic effort.

“Going into Dorridge, I feel that we’re getting back towards the cricket we can play. I don’t know why but it’s been a strange start to the season, but hopefully come Saturday we’ll be ready to give a good performance.”

Shrewsbury will be forced to ring the changes once again for Sunday’s local derby at town rivals Reman Services in the second round of the ECB National Club Championship (1pm) owing to Shropshire call ups.

Rob Foster, Ed Foster, Tom Cox, Anthony Parker, Alex Blofield and Sam Griffiths, who will be making his county debut, are all in the Shropshire team to take on Northumberland at Newcastle in the Unicorns Knockout Trophy.

The all county town clash is one that both teams will be eagerly awaiting as Reman go in search of a shock win against Shrewsbury who play four divisions higher.

“Shrewsbury have got quality players throughout the club,” said Reman’s experienced bowler Shane Gwilt. “It’s a great challenge for us and it’s a game we’re really looking forward to. We’ll give it our best shot and see where it takes us.

“I think it’s a great game for the town as playing Shrewsbury was always the derby for us. They’ve obviously since gone on to great heights and are now four divisions higher but it will be nice to see a few familiar faces.”

Shrewsbury captain Foster added: “The last time I played Reman I was about 18 and I think they beat us in a knockout match.

“We’ll be hampered again by Shropshire unavailability but it’s always nice to play a local fixture and I’m sure Reman will be looking forward to it.

“They’re a good set of lads down there and I know Ed Ashlin, the captain, quite well. He’s a good lad. I’m sure it will be good fun for both sides.

“There’s local bragging rights, I suppose. We would love to beat Reman and they would love to beat us.”

SHREWSBURY (v Dorridge): S Leach, T Cox, J Leach, R Foster, A Blofield, A Parker, D Jones, M Barnard, E Green, C Morris, S Griffiths.

Ed Barnard

Ed Barnard hits form in season opener

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

Ed Barnard produced the form which has made him a regular in the England under-19 side as Birmingham League champions Shrewsbury opened the new season with an excellent Graham Williamson Trophy win at West Bromwich Dartmouth.

Barnard, 18, fell just two runs short of a richly deserved century as Shrewsbury, winners of this competition for the last four years, chased impressively to seal a five-wicket verdict with a ball to spare.

Shrewsbury’s reward is a second round tie at home to Knowle & Dorridge at London Road on Saturday.

Barnard looked just like a man who has played regularly over the winter, most notably in the United Arab Emirates where he was ever present for England in the ICC under-19 World Cup as they eventually beat Australia in the third-place play-off match.

Set 207 for victory in 40 overs, Barnard came in first wicket down after young opener George Hargrave fell early.

He proceeded to put on 130 for the second wicket with stand-in captain Tom Cox, deputising for the unavailable Rob Foster, as Shrewsbury set about their chase with relish.

Cox, promoted to opener as Ed Foster and Steve Leach were also unavailable, played well to make 68 from 89 balls, hitting a six and seven fours.

And he kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely with star turn Barnard who plundered 98 from 110 deliveries, a sparkling knock from the Worcestershire prospect which featured two sixes and eight boundaries.

Alex Blofield (17no) and Elliot Green then held their nerve to see the job through as Shrewsbury timed their chase to perfection.

Cox had earlier allowed West Bromwich Dartmouth to bat first and the hosts rattled up 206-4 from their 40 overs which was built around steady contributions from Brinder Phagura (58), Rawlston Tappin (55) and Ruki de Silva (44).

Spinner Blofield claimed 2-68 while there was also a wicket apiece for new signings Charlie Morris (1-30) and Dewi Jones (1-31) from tighter eight over spells.

Shrewsbury’s strength in depth really shone through as the Foster brothers and Steve Leach were joined on the unavailable list by Steve and Mike Barnard.

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury opener Ed Foster was in brilliant touch as he hit a fine century to help Shropshire claim victory by 35 runs over Staffordshire in last Sunday’s pre-season friendly at Shifnal.

Foster’s first knock of the season could not have gone much better as he made 118 from 137 balls, cracking 13 boundaries and a six.

Other contributions from his Shrewsbury team mates Joe Leach (46) and Rob Foster (29no) plus a quickfire, unbeaten 26 from skipper Richard Oliver down the order pushed the Shropshire total up to 274-6 from 50 overs.

Staffordshire were then restricted to 239-8 as Foster followed up his century by taking two wickets, as did Ben Sanderson and Jack Edwards.

Shropshire play their first competitive match of the season at Shrewsbury’s London Road ground on Sunday, May 4 when Lincolnshire provide the opposition in the first group game of the Unicorns Knockout Trophy.

Rob Foster collects the Birmingham League trophy in 2013

Williamson Trophy win caps memorable season

By Stuart Dunn, @studunn21, at The Shrewsbury Chronicle

SHREWSBURY’S brilliant season ended on a suitably positive note as they became Birmingham League record breakers before lifting the Graham Williamson Trophy yet again.

Rob Foster’s runaway champions saw off Wombourne by five wickets in their final premier division encounter to end the season with a new top flight record high of 378 points.

Then, just for good measure, Shrewsbury saw off Barnt Green by 32 runs in a rain-affected Graham Williamson Trophy final at London Road on Sunday to win the competition for the fourth successive year.

Shrewsbury ultimately finished a mighty 91 points clear at the top of the premier division after ending their season of dominance with another win, their 14th outright victory from 22 league games.

“Breaking the points record was a nice motivation to have going into the last game,” admitted Foster. “It’s been a fantastic season and we’ve ended up playing 43 games in all competitions.

“It’s been a long season but it’s been well worthwhile.”

Relegated Wombourne were their final league victims, not that Shrewsbury had it all their own way before running out five-wicket winners.

Sam Griffiths, the former Shelton paceman now a key part of Shrewsbury’s bowling attack, helped himself to 4-15 as Wombourne were removed for 116 inside 35 overs.

There was also some joy with the ball for spinners Elliot Green (2-21) and Alex Blofield (2-49).

Shrewsbury, in reply, were soon in trouble at 44-5 and an upset looked on the cards.

But then skipper Foster (40no) joined forces with 14-year-old first team debutant George Hargrave (32no) to put on an unbroken stand of 72 for the sixth wicket as Shrewsbury advanced to 118-5.

“Wombourne bowled very well with the new ball and got some good genuine wickets,” said Foster. “But fortunately myself and young George Hargrave, a late call up to replace Tom Cox, managed to then put a partnership together.

“George batted fantastically well and showed real maturity for a 14-year-old making his debut for the first team.

“He’s quite a small lad but he’s a good player, very keen cricketer and is already part of the Warwickshire Academy. He did really well.”

Shrewsbury then dug deep into their selection reserves 24 hours later with a host of regulars unavailable for the Williamson Trophy final against Barnt Green.

Shrewsbury totalled 155-3 from their reduced allocation of 20 overs before Barnt Green, eventually set a revised victory target of 186 in 18 overs, pulled up short on 154-8.

Will Parton (47), Joe Leach (44) and the big hitting Matt Gregson (35no) put bat to ball effectively for Shrewsbury who were flying at 70-0 off 10 overs before a rain delay restricted their innings to 20 overs.

Duckworth Lewis calculations initially set Barnt Green a 20 over target of 208 but more rain cut that to 187 from 18 and they ended up 32 runs short, Griffiths completing a good weekend by taking a couple more wickets.

“It’s the fourth year in a row we’ve won this competition and we’re proud to have kept the run going,” added Foster.

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury’s Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach achieved two notable milestones for the London Road club against Wombourne.

Leach took his 100th Birmingham League wicket for the club at 18 apiece and also passed 2,000 league runs. He averages just over 30 with the bat in the premier division.

Ryan Bishop

Salop through to ECB National Club Championship Final

Shrewsbury beat West Indian Cavaliers by 8 wickets on Sunday 21st August at London Road.

Shrewsbury now look forward to the National Final on 17 September 2011 at the County Ground, Nottingham Road, Derby, to play Cambridge Granta Cricket Club of the East Anglian Premier League.

Congratulations to Ed Foster and the Team.

Match Report from ECB Website:

Shrewsbury beat West Indian Cavaliers and Cambridge Granta beat 2010 runners up Ealing to go forward to the final of the ECB National Club Championship.

Shrewsbury hosted West Indian Cavaliers and the visitors opted to bat after winning the toss. This decision looked to be justified as openers Aaron Thomas and Aqib Afzaal put on 113 for the first wicket before Afzaal was removed by the bowling of Elliot Green.

Afzaal’s brother Usman joined Thomas but after he was out off the bowling of Rob Foster, West Indian Cavaliers lost three further wickets, including Thomas who was run out on 80, to find themselves at 151 for five.

Rawait Khan and Alex Tudor moved the score onto 185, but the introduction of Alex Blofield into the Shrewsbury bowling attack blew the visitors tail away, taking 4-10 from three overs and bowling West Indian Cavaliers out for 191 from 43.2 overs.

The hosts’ reply saw captain Ed Foster dismissed early for 12 off the bowling of Tudor, but a composed partnership of 115 between Ryan Bishop and Steve Leach took Shrewsbury to 152. Leach was caught behind off the bowling of Saqlain Mushtaq for 53 but Joe Leach joined Bishop to guide the hosts home with seven overs to spare, Bishop finishing on an unbeaten 85.