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).