Saturday, 19 June 2021

Unicorns Counties clash ends all square

BERKSHIRE skipper James Morris admitted he was “relatively happy” with the draw against SHROPSHIRE in their

BERKSHIRE skipper James Morris admitted he was “relatively happy” with the draw against SHROPSHIRE in their Unicorns Counties Championship match at Falkland CC which ended on Tuesday.

Having been set a target of 330 to win in 58 overs, they were on 155-4 after 43 overs when the captains agreed to end the game early.

“I felt a draw was the right result,” said Morris. “Their captain (James Ralph) and myself agreed that both sides had cancelled each other out.

“The wicket at Falkland always stands up well for all three days and neither side really bowled well enough to take 20 wickets and win the game.

“Both sides are relatively happy with the result which keeps both of us in the championship hunt.”

Shropshire, having won the toss, made 330-9 in their first innings with number eight Ross Aucott remaining unbeaten on 74 after facing 88 balls. Eight of the wickets fell to the spinners, with Chris Peploe taking 5-117 off 30 overs and Ali Raja 3-57.

In reply, Berkshire were bowled out for 289 following an excellent innings of 102 from Harry Stephens. He faced 174 deliveries, hitting 14 fours in the process.

The Datchet all-rounder and James Morris (67) put on 159 in 48 overs for the fourth wicket. Simon Macey and Chris Peploe both made 31, with 25 coming from the bat of Matt Carter.

Shropshire, with a lead of 41, surprised most people by adopting negative tactics in the final session on Monday, taking 47 overs to reach 122-3. Rob Clarke made only 41 in 143 minutes, while Tom Weston took 147 minutes to score 38.

Morris admitted: “We were surprised to see how they chose to go about things on Monday evening. I felt they missed a trick to be honest. We would certainly have gone about it differently and been a lot more positive in our approach.”

After a 36-minute delay due to rain which led to a reduction of 10 overs for the day, the visitors showed more urgency on Tuesday with Ralph leading the way by making 72 off 73 minutes before being bowled by Raja.

At this point, Ralph declared with his side on 288-7, setting Berkshire a huge target of 330 in a minimum of 58 overs.

They got off to a bad start with Waqas Hussain (4) being caught at square leg with the total on seven.

Macey and Stephens lifted the total to 88 in 16 overs, but then both fell in quick succession for 41 and 43 respectively.

Richard Morris departed for 10 to leave Berkshire on 111-4.

James Morris (19) and debutant Martin Andersson (26) pushed the score along to 155 before both captains decided to end the game early after 43 overs.

“We never felt they were going to bowl us out in the second innings,” added Morris.

Club secretary Roy New presented his two Berkshire man-of-match awards to Stephens, for his century, and Macey for his one-handed catch in the covers to dismiss Omar Ali in Shropshire’s first innings.

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