Shropshire Academy youngsters beaten by Staffordshire’s Development XI at Wrekin College

Head of Academy Ian Roe insisted facing Staffordshire’s Development XI at Wrekin College was “a very good learning exercise” for his young Shropshire Academy side.

Staffordshire ultimately emerged winners by 158 runs, with Shropshire now looking forward to two more 50-over friendlies against Herefordshire’s Development XI and Cheshire Academy on the next two Fridays.

Staffordshire, having opted to bat, accumulated 274-4 from their 50 overs.

Opener Shoaib Akhtar led the way with an unbeaten 103, sharing a century first-wicket stand with Matt Morris (49), as well as other useful partnerships with Louis Washington (46) and Jack Redman (28).

Bridgnorth seamer Charlie Walker took 2-45, with a wicket apiece for Shrewsbury duo Lewis Evans, captaining the Academy side for the first time, and Thomas Dix.

Staffordshire then kept it tight with the ball as Shropshire were bowled out for 116 in the 37th over, with Shrewsbury opener Harry Cooke top scoring with 35.

Jacob Garlick claimed 3-25, Freddie Doorbar took 2-6 and Jack Redman – who recently played for Staffordshire’s first team against Shropshire in the NCCA Trophy – ended with 2-11.

Roe said: “It was a very good learning exercise. Some late changes meant we did not have a single player with county club first team experience in the team.

“The players now realise what they’ve got to do to play at this level.

“We played a very young side with five debutants. The average age was 18, with the oldest player Ollie Gilks from Worfield at 20.

“The players conducted themselves well and understand the areas they’ve got to work on.”

Roe added: “At the first drinks break, we thought we would be chasing 300 plus, so I must give credit to our bowlers who stuck at it and also the fielders.

“They tried to be as disciplined as they could, but the extra experience that Staffordshire brought with them set a very challenging total.

“Staffordshire had a very discliplined bowling attack and conditions also changed slightly when we batted.

“We had some cloud cover for an hour and a half and it just created a bit of movement in the air which aided the bowlers.

“The players accept the wicket was a very good one to bat on. We had four debutants in the top four and three of our top order got starts.

“We weren’t disciplined with certain elements of our game. Batsmen got in and never kicked on which created pressure for the lower order.

“But this was all new to a lot of the players and we will now look forward to the next game against Herefordshire.”

Pictured: Wrekin College was the venue as Shropshire Academy hosted Staffordshire’s Development XI.