Hard work undone as Cheshire slump on last day

By Jim Law

Unicorns Championship - Western Division
Sunday - Tuesday 24-26 June 2018, Shifnal CC
Shropshire 276 and 325, Cheshire 346 and 89.
Shropshire won by 166 runs.

Having put themselves in a great position to push for the win on the final day, Cheshire inexplicably folded to a 166 run defeat in their opening Unicorns Championship game against Shropshire at Shifnal.

With much of the hard work done, Cheshire were set 256 to win but surrendered to 89 all out. Cheshire were slight favourites prior to then, taking a 70 run first innings lead. With Lancashire and other commitments affecting selection, Danny Leech's side fielded five debutants: Furqan Shafiq, Sam Perry, Gaz Burns, Ben Aitchison and Chris Charles.

Shropshire took first use of a decent pitch and were pegged back to 276 with Will Parton making 74 and Alexi Kervezee 65. But a welcome bowling return saw Wayne White take 4-59.

Cheshire then took a 70 run lead, mainly due to a mid-order recovery with Simon Normanton (91) and Perry (71) adding 149 for the seventh wicket. This after Shafiq had hit a maiden half century.

Skipper Steve Leach was the mainstay of Shropshire's second dig of 325 with a fine 104, aided by 53 from Kervezee who was never far from the action.

But it all went wrong for Cheshire chasing a seemingly gettable 256.

18-4 didn't get any better as only Perry (14) and Will Evans (25) managed double figures as the visitors fell for just 89 to lose by 166 runs. Gurjit Sandhu took 3-38, Warwick Flynn 4-42 and Sam Whitney 3-7.

"It's a bit hard to take," said a dejected Leech. "We set ourselves up nicely for the kill and it just all went wrong. The heat was stifling - but it was the same for both sides - and we were really up for it.

"The dejection in the dressing room afterwards said it all. But we have to take positives and there were plenty with our debutants all getting stuck in, Simon Normanton hitting 91 with the bat and Wayne White being fit to bowl again. We'll dust ourselves down ready for our next Championship game in Wales in a fortnight."

Before that, Cheshire return to Shropshire when they travel to Bridgnorth next Sunday (1 July) for a 50 over KO Trophy semi-final where Rick Moore will take the reins.

Shropshire v Cheshire scorecard
This was the team