Honours even as Shropshire impress in opening T20 group games of the season against Berkshire

Honours ended even as Shropshire impressed in their opening Unicorns Twenty20 fixtures of the season against Berkshire.

Led by new T20 captain Ross Aucott, Shropshire won the day’s first match at Whitchurch by 11 runs.

The second game was also well contested as Berkshire eventually claimed victory by 12 runs.

Shropshire now head to Oxford’s Magdalen College to face Oxfordshire twice on Bank Holiday Monday.

Bryan Jones, Shropshire’s chairman of selectors, said: “We’re pleased with how we played, but when we got in the changing room when we finished the second game, after being placed nicely, I think we felt we should have won both of them actually.

“But I suppose at the start of the day, I guess you would take that against a very good Berkshire side, so overall we were pretty pleased.

“Berkshire are a good outfit. They take it very seriously, they’re very drilled, very successful, so to put two good performances in we were pleased.”

Shropshire were invited to bat first in the opening fixture and posted a competitive total of 163. Luke Beaven (3-24) wrapped up the home side’s innings by taking a hat-trick in the final over.

Alexei Kervezee top scored with an unbeaten 50 while Omar Ali (41), Alex Phillips (25) and Joe Carrasco (20) also weighed in.

Berkshire, in reply, lost two early wickets and were then reduced to 54-4.

Jack Davies (52), skipper James Morris (46) and Joseph Thomas (32no) kept the scoreboard ticking over, but the visitors pulled up short on 152-7.

Offspinner Charlie Home claimed 3-19 from his four overs and Kervezee played his part by taking 2-23.

Berkshire batted first in game two and contributions from Richard Morris (50) and opener Davies (41) pushed their total up 164-9.

Home took his number of wickets to the day to six by helping himself to 3-33 while there was also some joy with the ball for Jack Edwards (2-26).

Shropshire were well placed in their chase at 100-2 but their hopes of a double success ended just short as they closed on 152-9.

Opener Phillips struck 42, Kervezee hit four sixes as he made 40 from 22 balls and skipper Aucott added 29.

Euan Woods was the pick of the Berkshire attack with 4-23 and Rhodri Lewis took 2-35.

“It was a good all round performance really,” added Jones. “Charlie bowled very well and with good control, so he made a good comeback.

“Alexei had a couple of good games and I thought Ross did really well for his first time out as captain.

“I think it’s good that we go straight into another couple of games now at Oxford. I think that’s a real benefit to us and we’ll take the confidence of the two Berkshire games into it.”

Pictured: Shropshire batting during the day’s opening match against Berkshire at Whitchurch.