Shropshire Academy youngsters produce encouraging display in narrow defeat against Cheshire Academy

Shropshire’s young Academy side produced an encouraging performance as they were beaten by 11 runs by Cheshire Academy in Sunday’s 50-over friendly at Ellesmere College.

Coach Dave Nock highlighted a number of positives as Shropshire ran Cheshire close.

Charlie Walker bowled well to take four wickets before enjoying an excellent partnership with the bat down the order with Harry Darley.

Ben Lees was another Shropshire player to impress as he hit a half century as the hosts pulled up just short in their run chase.

Nock said: “We had a very young side with two 16-year-olds and three 17-year-olds, with the oldest player in the team Andre Bradford at 21.

“It was very encouraging to have a look at those lads batting, bowling, fielding, and it gave an indication of the relative strengths and areas that we need to develop.

“We had a young first team out in our last T20 group matches against Northumberland last week.

“You’ve got these young lads as well, so we’ve got a few players in the mix now pushing for first-team places, outside those we’ve seen already and those we haven’t seen yet this season because of university commitments.”

Cheshire elected to bat and recovered from 130-8 to 189 all out.

Cole Turner top scored with 50, with other useful contributions from Matt Jones (41), Ben Staniforth (27) and Dan Newton (24).

Bridgnorth seamer Walker led the way for Shropshire as he claimed 4-17, while there was also some success with the ball for skipper Lewis Evans (2-33) and Bradford (2-36).

Shropshire, in reply, lost early wickets, but wicketkeeper Lees held the innings together by playing well for 53.

Shropshire slipped to 120-9 before last-wicket pair Darley (26no) and Walker (37) took Shropshire close as the county were eventually bowled out for 178.

Turner followed up his efforts with the bat by taking 2-15, with George McCormick (2-17) and Rob Lord (2-23) also among the wickets.

“It was a good game, a close game,” added Nock. “Our innings was similar to Cheshire’s as it was a quite a slow start, lost some wickets, rebuilt, lost a flurry of wickets, and then in both innings the last couple of wickets was when the majority of the runs were added – with Harry Darley and Charlie Walker taking us to within 11 of Cheshire’s total.

“Our ground fielding was superb and the catching was brilliant.”

Shropshire’s Academy team play another 50-over friendly at Ellesmere College this Sunday (11am) when Staffordshire’s Development side will provide the opposition.

Pictured: Ellesmere College hosted Sunday’s friendly as Shropshire’s Academy side lost by 11 runs against Cheshire Academy.