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.