Sunday, 18 August 2019

Berkshire remain in pole position

BERKSHIRE stayed on course to retain the Western Division title after inflicting an emphatic 241-run defeat on SHROPSHIRE at Shifnal.

Their fourth win of the season leaves them 17 points clear of nearest challengers Oxfordshire with fixtures against Cornwall (away) and Dorset (at Wargrave) remaining.

In all, it’s 12 victories in a row when their two national play-off wins against Lincolnshire are added to their impressive run.

Despite missing several key players, the defending champions were simply too strong Shropshire, for whom only one batsman — Will Parton with 36 runs in the first innings — reached 30 in the entire match.

Berkshire took control of the game on the opening day, posting a formidable 90-over total of 350-8 with skipper James Morris making 96 and opener Archie Carter 83.

Carter’s Wokingham team-mate Callum Creighton was given his senior debut following his 10 wickets in two Berkshire U17 games last week.

The left-arm seamer who attends Shiplake College was soon among the wickets, taking 1-17 off eight overs, but the bowling honours went to Andy Rishton who claimed 5-46 as Shropshire were shot out for 142, a deficit of 208.

Berkshire didn’t enforce the follow-on, instead preferring to go for quick runs in their second innings to take the game beyond the home county’s reach.

With Euan Woods top-scoring with 50 and Henley colleague Michael Williams making 36 not out, the visitors declared on 200-8, setting their hosts an impossible target of 409.

Shropshire didn’t go down easily, surviving for 100 overs before being dismissed for 167 with Luke Beaven taking 4-20, Rishton 3-42, Chris Peploe 2-35 (off 35 overs) and Woods 1-38.

Berkshire are back in action this Sunday (11am) when they face Wiltshire in the semi-finals of the Unicorns Trophy at Finchampstead.

The winners will meet Cumberland or Staffordshire in the final at Wormsley on August 28.

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