It’s honours even as Shropshire close Twenty20 campaign against Buckinghamshire

It was honours even with one win apiece as Shropshire ended their 2018 Unicorns Twenty20 campaign against Buckinghamshire at Whitchurch.

The visitors won the day’s opening match at Heath Road by five wickets before Shropshire emerged victors by 14 runs in a rain-affected second game.

Berkshire qualify from Shropshire’s five-team group for finals day at Wormsley later this season, with Shropshire closing with an overall record of three wins, three defeats and two abandoned games from their eight fixtures.

Shropshire’s qualification hopes had been dashed after both of their scheduled matches at Herefordshire last month were washed out.

Shropshire elected to bat first in the day’s opener and, having been in early trouble at 18-4, were eventually dismissed for 92 inside 17 overs.

Ryan Lockley, who made 25, top scored, with Masoor Khan inflicting much of the damage by taking 4-14.

Buckinghamshire, held together by 37 from George Russell, hit back with 93-5, reaching their target inside 16 overs, with Bridgnorth’s David Laird claiming 2-12 for the hosts.

Game two saw Shropshire invited to bat first and they impressively kept the scoreboard ticking over to total 210-4 from their 20 overs.

Skipper Will Parton and Jack Edwards laid solid foundations by putting on 77 before Edwards was first man out for 41 from 31 balls.

Parton helped move the score along to 107 when he went for 44 from 31 deliveries.

Alexei Kervezee added 20 and Ross Aucott hammered a rapid 40 from just 16 balls before wicketkeeper Simon Gregory weighed in with an unbeaten 42 from 21 balls, including three of the 11 sixes Shropshire hit in their innings.

Buckinghamshire, in reply, were set a revised victory target of 90, after a delay for rain, from seven overs and ended 14 runs short as they closed on 75-3, with Shelvin Gumbs unbeaten on 32, as Aucott took 2-24.

Bryan Jones, Shropshire’s chairman of selectors, said: “We didn’t bat that well in the first game, but went at it positively, had a plan. We lost a few early wickets and it was tough to get back, but we continued keep attacking.

“The bowlers did pretty well and we fielded well, but we didn’t really have enough to bowl at.

“We tried the same plan the second game, to take the game to them and be positive, and it came off.

“It came down to Duckworth Lewis and, from the point of view of the supporters, it would have been nice to see Bucks have a go at chasing down 200.

“It was disappointing it rained and, because we had got such a good score, it was a lot to ask of them.”

Jones added: “We’ve had three rain-affected matches in our group, which is disappointing, but we won that final game and I think we probably deserved to given the fact we got 200.

“We had a young side out, a few changes and debutants, so it was a good performance and a good reaction in the second game. The nature of this game is you can be bowled out for 90 and the next game, if you still go at it, you can score 200.”

Shropshire are next in action when they open their Unicorns Championship campaign with a three-day match against Cheshire at Shifnal which starts next Sunday.

Pictured: Shropshire’s Twenty20 captain Will Parton top scored with 44 as the county ended their T20 campaign with victory against Buckinghamshire at Whitchurch.