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Shropshire Under 14s Return From Taunton Festival with Winners’ Shield

Shropshire Under 14s Return From Taunton Festival with Winners’ Shield

| by Editor | Posted in Telford Sport

A dramatic week of cricket saw Shropshire Under 14s return from the prestigious Taunton Festival with the winners’ shield.

After losing their first game, they won their next three, including a thrilling one-wicket victory, and then saw their last game abandoned when they were in a dominant position.

It was enough to give them a fantastic victory after taking on their counterparts from Gloucestershire, Derbyshire, Middlesex, Devon and Buckinghamshire.

Coach Simon Gregory said: “It was a massive achievement for the players to win the festival against three First Class counties and the notable strong Minor county of Devon.

It was a phenomenal effort by all involved and one they will cherish for the rest of their promising cricket careers.”

The only setback came in their opening games when they were undone by a big second wicket partnership by two Gloucestershire batsmen who scored 176 runs out of their total of 224-9.

Luke Thornton bowled well to claim 4-37, while Matthew Tudor claimed two and there were also wickets for Joe Pattenden and Dominic Zaza.

In reply, a number of batsmen got starts but no-one managed to go on to play a match-winning innings as Shropshire were bowled out for 190, with skipper Ben Lees hitting a quick-fire 30 and Will Standford-Davies 32.

Gregory added: “If it were not for a few miss-fields and the missed chance of a run out, then perhaps this partnership would not have happened.

“We were up with the run rate throughout our innings but kept finding ways of getting ourselves out when set and did not forge that big partnership which could have seen us over the line.”

The boys turned it around the next day when they beat Derbyshire by eight wickets after losing the toss.

They bowled their opponents out for 181 with spinners Pattenden (3-23) Matthew Rees (a miserly 2-19 from his ten over) leading the way and opening bowler Ben Parker taking 2-31.

Openers Oliver Cooper and Thomas Dix then hit 44 and 48 respectively, and Lees was unbeaten on 46 as Shropshire reached their victory target in the 29th over.

The next day saw Shropshire take on a strong Middlesex side after overnight rain, and were put into bat after losing the toss. They were bowled out in the final over of the innings for 195 with Lees again in good form top-scoring with 49.

The bowlers then got to work and an excellent display led by Pattenden’s 4-31 saw them dismiss Middlesex for 117 to claim a 78-run victory. Rees and Parker picked up two wickets apiece.

Gregory added: “This was an astonishing victory for Shropshire against a strong side which gave the boys slight hope that they could win the festival.”

Day four saw Shropshire take on Devon and restricted them to 117-9 off their 50 overs with Pattenden again leading the way with 3-24, Rees taking 2-34 and Dix 2-7 off five overs.

But Shropshire found themselves in trouble in their reply as good fast bowling and a couple of run outs saw them slump to 37-5.

Then a partnership between Niall McAdam and Patrick Ward-Clayton (18) steadied the ship and took Shropshire to 95 before Devon brought back their aggressive opening bowler who took a hat-trick to put Shropshire back on the ropes.

Gregory said: “Up stepped Niall who launched an astonishing counter attack, hitting four boundaries in a row before he was dismissed for an excellent 45 with ten runs still needed.

That left the last pair of Thornton and Rees. With some nervy running, and the thick edge of Rees’ bat, we just got over the line for a crucial win.”

Then on the last day, Shropshire won the toss in their final game and asked Buckinghamshire to bat with the weather threatening to intervene.

They bowled Bucks out for just 54 with Rees taking 4-16 and Thornton 3-9, and were 30-1 in the fifth over of their reply when the rain arrived and play was abandoned for the day, with their performances over the week meaning they claimed overall victory at the festival.

A spokesman for the festival added: “Well done to Cricket Shropshire for an unexpected but deserved win in the Under 14 Festival. Well played boys!”

The Under 13s found the going tough at the Taunton Festival. In the first game, replying to Staffordshire’s 237-7, they were dismissed for 148 despite Will Lewin’s 37.

On the second day, Cambridgeshire racked up 313-7 batting first with Joe Fleet and Harry Cooke each taking two wickets. In reply, Shropshire were dismissed for 189 despite Cooke’s excellent unbeaten 89 and Freddie Cox hitting 32.

Then against Derbyshire, they were bowled out for 111 despite Lewin’s 26 and Jack Bate’s 33. Their opponents knocked the runs off for the loss of five wickets claimed by Lewin (2), Adithya Manigandan, Harry Cooke and Luke Kelsey.

On Day four, Shropshire bowled California out for 214 with Cooke taking 4-33 and Charlie Walker 2-42, but they were then dismissed for 138 with Lewin again in good form with 72.

In their final game against Northamptonshire, they did well to bowl their opponents out for 138 with Cooke claiming impressive figures of 3-6, Dan Handley 2-16 and Joe Fleet 2-19, but the rain intervened before their reply could get going.

Coach Ed Ashlin said: “It was a great learning experience for the squad and they will all be stronger cricketers and people as a result.”

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