Shropshire’s first group games in the new Twenty20 competition for Minor Counties clubs ended in defeat at the hands of a strong Berkshire side in the Wargrave sunshine.
It always promised to be a tough opening assignment for the county against a Berkshire team which completed the double last season by winning both the Unicorns Championship and one-day Trophy.
Berkshire won the day’s first match by 75 runs and the second encounter by seven wickets.
Shropshire will quickly be back in action when they host Oxfordshire in two Twenty20 matches at Shrewsbury’s London Road ground on Bank Holiday Monday from 11am, with admission free for spectators.
Berkshire, invited to bat first in the day’s opener, rattled up 201-4 with Dan Lincoln, whose 50 came off 31 balls, leading the way with 67 after the home innings was given solid foundations by openers Andy Rishton (46) and Chris Peploe (41).
Bridgnorth spinner Sam Whitney, who took 2-21 from his four overs, eventually broke the partnership with the first wicket falling with the score on 80 when wicketkeeper Simon Gregory stumped Peploe.
There was also a wicket apiece for Shrewsbury’s Tyler Ibbotson and Shifnal’s Alex Wyatt.
Former Worcestershire man Alexei Kervezee shone as Shropshire, in reply, ended short of their target, closing on 126-8.
Kervezee struck an entertaining 69 from just 29 balls, hitting four sixes and five fours in the process, with Euan Woods, who claimed 3-31, the pick of the home attack.
Shropshire opted to bat in the second match which followed in the afternoon and totalled 127-7 from their 20 overs.
Captain Will Parton, who hit 20 from nine balls, and Omar Ali, first man out for 18, quickly put on 38.
Ross Aucott (31), Gregory (25) and Kervezee (23) also weighed in, with Berkshire spinner Peploe taking 3-17.
Berkshire then responded with 130-3, completing their chase in the 14th over. Openers Rishton (51) and Peploe (36) once more kept the scoreboard ticking over, with the wickets shared between Kervezee, Ibbotson and Whitney.
Pictured: Sam Whitney took wickets in both T20 matches against Berkshire.