Joe Carrasco’s fine century not enough to save Shropshire from Trophy defeat

A fine century from Joe Carrasco was not quite enough to inspire a successful run chase as Shropshire bowed out of the Unicorns Knockout Trophy.

Opener Carrasco shone in familiar surroundings at Oswestry, his home club ground, to make an excellent 118, but Cumberland ended Shropshire’s hopes of another exciting run in the competition by winning a high-scoring second round tie by 27 runs.

The visitors also had a player to reach three figures in Gary Pratt, the former Durham batsman, as they posted a competitive total of 307-8.

Shropshire, who reached the semi-finals of the 50-over competition last season, then fell short with the bat as they were dismissed for 280 with 14 balls remaining.

Bryan Jones, Shropshire’s chairman of selectors, said: “It was always going to be a difficult chase, 300, and congratulations to Cumberland as they played well.

“I thought the standard of cricket was brilliant today, on a good pitch, with a lot of runs scored, and there were pivotal moments in the game.

“Joe Carrasco was magnificent. To score 118 was a tremendous innings and it gave us a chance, but our next highest score was 31.

“With the quality of batting we have in the team, and on a good batting wicket, that wasn’t really a good enough return.

“We were 27 runs short and they fielded really well, so again you have to give them credit.

“We’re obviously very disappointed having done so well in the competition last season.”

Cumberland, invited to bat first, made a bright start and were going along well at 143-1 after a second-wicket partnership of 95 between Pratt and Matthew Sempill before Sam Whitney (2-45) took two wickets in as many balls.

Sempill was caught by Carrasco off the Bridgnorth man for 41 and then Whitney quickly struck again, trapping Alex Grainger lbw.

Michael Slack contributed 36, putting on 66 for the fourth wicket with Pratt, before Mike Barnard (2-59) bowled Slack.

The Shrewsbury opening bowler then repeated the trick to claim the key wicket of Pratt for 109, after the visiting captain had hit ten boundaries and faced 128 balls.

Josh Boyne (37no) and Ben Davidson (34) also chipped in to lift the Cumberland total past 300, with Alexei Kervezee (2-50) the third Shropshire bowler to take two wickets.

Shropshire, in reply, were dealt an early blow with captain Steve Leach caught and bowled by Adam Syddall in the second over.

Carrasco and Alex Phillips then put on 82, the best partnership of the home side’s innings, which ended when Phillips was bowled by Slack (3-70) for 31.

Warrick Fynn joined his Oswestry team mate Carrasco in the middle and made 20. Then Kervezee struck two big sixes before being run out for 26 to leave Shropshire on 177-4.

Jack Edwards (18) and Sam Whitney (15) both came and went before Carrasco, bowled by Slack, was the seventh man out for 118. He faced 138 balls, hitting three sixes and a dozen boundaries.

Jack Twigger attempted to keep Shropshire on course for victory, but he was eventually last man out for 26 as the hosts pulled up short of Cumberland’s total.

Shropshire are next in action on June 16 when they play their two final group games in the Unicorns Twenty20 competition against Buckinghamshire at Gerrards Cross.

Pictured: Nearly 600 runs were scored as Shropshire faced Cumberland at Oswestry.