Skipper Joe Carrasco encouraged with Shropshire’s efforts before rain washes out final day

Joe Carrasco highlighted the positives as his opening game as Shropshire captain ultimately ended with frustration at the hands of the weather.

The Oswestry batsman was encouraged with his side’s performance as they emerged with 11 points, two more than visitors Dorset, from a drawn Unicorns Championship clash at Shrewsbury’s London Road ground.

No play was possible on the third and final day owing to heavy rain, but Carrasco saw enough from his team in the first two days to be optimistic moving forward.

“It was a positive experience,” said Carrasco, on stepping up to lead Shropshire for the first time. “Midway through the second day when the sun came out, we had to grind through a few overs and that was the toughest period, but everyone responded very well and we were on top for large portions of the game.

“Despite the weather, it was still a positive display for us and there’s a lot of positives to take going forward.”

On the final day being washed out, Carrasco admitted: “It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing we can do about the weather.

“We were in a good position having managed to restrict them to under 325, which was a very good effort because the deck was very flat once the sun on the second day had come on to it.

“I felt we were on top throughout the game, which was a positive, but with the weather as it was we obviously couldn’t try to force a result.

“We can look to go again next time and we’ve wrapped up nearly as many bonus points as we could.”

Having elected to bat first, Shropshire made assured progress on the opening day of the three-day fixture, advancing to 219-2 when play ended prematurely just before tea owing to the weather.

Carrasco (41) and Alex Phillips (38) put on 80 for the first wicket before Ollie Westbury and Warrick Fynn shared a stand of 111 for the third wicket, a partnership eventually broken without any addition to Shropshire’s overnight total when Westbury, Worcestershire’s former Shrewsbury batsman, was removed for 68 early on the second morning.

Fynn went on to top score with 79 while Alexei Kervezee cut loose to add a quickfire 77 from 53 balls, which included three sixes and five fours, before Shropshire, having secured maximum batting bonus points, opted to declare on 344-6. The wickets were shared between former Leicestershire spinner Jigar Naik (3-70) and Bradley Currie (3-88).

Dorset were reduced to 28-2 by lunch but, led by 93 from Hampshire’s wicketkeeper-batsman Lewis McManus and 73 from Edward Ellis, they responded well to end day two on 318-7, with Kervezee and debutant George Garrett both claiming two wickets.

Impressed with Shropshire’s batting display, Carrasco said: “Alex did very well on his Championship debut and it was a shame neither of us kicked on.

“But Ollie Westbury batted extremely well and looked extremely comfortable, Warrick as well, and then Alexei, so it was a very well rounded batting display, which I think bodes well for the competition.

“Everyone looked very solid and I’m very confident of where we are as a unit going forward.”

The skipper was also pleased that Shrewsbury seamer Garrett, a regular in Warwickshire’s second team, picked up some reward for his efforts with the ball.

“George bowled really well,” added Carrasco. “He probably didn’t get the rewards that he deserved actually for the spell he bowled early on.”

Shropshire are quickly back in action with their second Championship match of the season, which starts on July 7, taking them to Banbury to face Oxfordshire.

Carrasco said: “It will be nice to get back into it and hopefully get a full game in this time.

“We want to keep the ball rolling with hopefully another very strong batting display and the bowlers to hit their areas consistently again as they did in the first innings here.”

Pictured: Joe Carrasco in the rain at Shrewsbury as the third day of the county’s match against Dorset was washed out.