Graham Williamson Trophy 2014

Shrewsbury claim fifth straight Graham Williamson Trophy

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

Proud skipper Rob Foster saluted his knockout kings after Shrewsbury lifted the Birmingham League’s Graham Williamson KO Trophy for an unprecedented fifth successive year.

The London Roaders have monopolised the competition in recent times and underlined their determination to retain the trophy by rattling up a big score en route to overwhelming Walmley by 113 runs in Sunday’s final.

It crowned a productive weekend as, helped by an excellent century from Tom Cox, Shrewsbury beat Walsall by 24 runs in the Birmingham League on Saturday, a result which saw the visitors relegated from the premier division.

“It’s pretty special to have won the Trophy five years in a row,” said Foster. “It’s really pleasing and a great effort.”

Shrewsbury, stuck in for Sunday’s final, needed no second invitation to pile on the runs as they raced to 292 all out inside 38 swashbuckling overs.

Openers Steve Leach (72) and Ed Foster (49) laid solid foundations by putting on 123 for the first wicket before England under-19 star Ed Barnard weighed in with 42.

Alex Blofield, whose appearances have been limited this season, then provided plenty of fireworks by cracking an unbeaten 68 from just 28 balls, hitting five sixes and seven boundaries in the process.

Walmley, in reply, were eventually dismissed for 179, with Australian Patrick Butler (4-25), Elliot Green (3-49) and Sam Griffiths (2-28) among the wickets.

Shrewsbury, who will wrap up their league season at Walmley on Saturday, had maintained their strong form over the second half of the campaign by sending Walsall down 24 hours earlier.

Cox, at No 5, played beautifully to compile an unbeaten 120 from 129 balls, his first century of the season. The Shropshire right hander narrowly missed out on a ton a fortnight earlier when he perished for 94 against Kidderminster, but this time he was not to be denied, hitting five sixes and 15 fours.

Skipper Foster (35) and Glamorgan’s Dewi Jones (22) were next best as Shrewsbury posted 267-9, with David Powles (3-49) and Josh Bowker (3-64) the pick of the Walsall attack.

Powles (70) and Worcestershire wicketkeeper Ben Cox (61) did their best to spark a successful chase but Walsall pulled up short as they closed on 243-7, Mike Barnard taking 2-33.

“Walsall came and played well so it was a good game of cricket,” added Foster. “The way Tom Cox batted was comfortably the best I’ve ever seen him play. He was very positive and played some great shots.”

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury II boasted two centurions in their game at Wolverhampton II, but it was still not enough to save them from a 118 run defeat, a result which sentenced them to relegation from the Birmingham League’s premier reserve division.

Will Parton struck 104 and Aussie teenager Butler ended unbeaten on 102 – his second century of the week after reaching three figures against an overseas touring side a few days earlier – as Shrewsbury closed on 240-3.

Wolverhampton earlier had two centurions of their own as they rattled up a formidable 358-5.

Shrewsbury’s second string end their season at Walmley II on Saturday.

James Taylor

Taylor can’t prevent 1st XI slipping to third defeat

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

NOT even the presence of England batsman James Taylor for the first time this season could prevent Shrewsbury from being edged out in the last over of a tight clash at Berkswell.

Taylor, the London Road club’s high profile contracted player, made himself available after captaining Nottinghamshire Outlaws to victory over Lancashire Lightning in their T20 Blast opener at Trent Bridge the night before.

But the former Shrewsbury School run machine perished for 24 as the county towners were beaten by three wickets with just two balls to spare by a Berkswell side which handed a debut to former Pakistan international Tanvir Ahmed.

It was a third defeat in four Birmingham League premier division games this season for Shrewsbury who are bottom of the table ahead of hitting the road again on Saturday when they travel to Himley.

Shrewsbury opener Ed Foster said: “It’s fine margins in this 50 over win-lose format and we might have won two of the games we’ve lost at Brockhampton and now Berkswell.

“We know the problems we are making and we have to put them right. Our fielding probably cost us 20 or 30 runs. It was neck and neck for the last 10 overs but we’re learning the hard way at the moment.”

Shrewsbury opted to bat first and rattled up 217-7 from their 50 overs.

Opener Foster top scored with 48 while there were also decent contributions from Australian debutant Patrick Butler (47no), skipper Foster (40), Tom Cox (37) and No 3 Taylor (24).

Berkswell timed their chase to prefection to eventually scramble past the winning post at 218-7 with two balls to spare.

Nick James held the innings together with an unbeaten 53 and captain Dominic Ostler, the former Warwickshire stalwart, added 41.

Import Ahmed, though, managed just six before being caught by Sam Griffiths off the bowling of Elliot Green who claimed 3-28.

There were also wickets for Charlie Morris (2-38) and newcomer Butler (2-43) as Shrewsbury were edged out in a tight finish.

Foster reserved special praise for teenage newcomer Butler who batted well at No 6 and also bowled tidily with his leg spin as he helped peg Berkswell back after a flying start.

Foster added Shrewsbury were also delighted to be able to include Nottinghamshire star Taylor in their side.

“It’s always good to see Jimmy and it’s great he had the desire to want to come and play for us after being on the field for Notts the previous night,” he stressed.

“You could tell it’s Twenty20 season the way he played and he hit a couple of sixes in his 24. He always brings a lot to the team when he’s available.”

Meanwhile, SHREWSBURY II will hope Saturday’s home game against Himley II in the Birmingham League’s premier reserve division will bring about a change in fortunes.

The London Road second string were well beaten by 101 runs by Leamington Spa II last weekend. Shrewsbury laboured to 148-9 in reply to the visitors’ 249-6.

James Codling (33), William Davies (27), Jon Anders (25no) and Dan Manders (23) chipped in with the bat, while Shrewsbury’s best bowlers were Tom Somerville (3-39) and Manders (2-48).