Wiltshire CCC finish the season in style with victory over Shropshire
Wiltshire found themselves going into the final game of the season with everything to play for. A win would surely see them secure their place in the First Division of the new format to be introduced next year. Shropshire won the toss and elected to bat first. They started very cautiously and the Wiltshire bowlers were dominating. Tahir Afridi 1 for 16 and Luke Evans 2 for 23 had each bowled 5 maidens in their first 8 overs. Shropshire skipper Joe Carrasco was the first to go caught behind by Tom Morton off the bowling of Tahir Afridi. Fynn soon followed caught by Will Wade as Luke Evans got in on the act. Jack Edwards, 17 from 86 balls, was standing firm until Will Harries trapped him LBW. Kervezee 16 had helped Edwards begin to build a stand, but then Joe King 3 for 45, began to weave his magic with two LBWs and one clean bowled. The returning Luke Evans took his second wicket when he knocked back the stumps of the stubborn Matt Ellis 17 from 46 balls. Ellis had been working a partnership with the unbeaten Matt Simmonds 27 not out. The introduction of Jake Lintott 3 for 17 saw the tail collapse with Suter and Roberts bowled with Ibbotson caught by wicketkeeper Tom Morton as Shropshire slumped to 123 all out.
Wiltshire fared little better in the opening overs as Roberts 4 for 35, and Ellis 4 for 41 reduced them to 10 for 3 in the early stages. However, this brought together skipper Ed Young 58 and Jake Lintott 48 who added a crucial 99 for the 4th wicket. Wiltshire managed to eke out a first innings lead with Brad Dawson 14 and Tom Morton 27 adding valuable runs as Wiltshire were eventually bowled out for 168 with a slender lead of just 45 runs. Shropshire wasted no time in finishing the Wiltshire innings early on day 2.
Shropshire then set about eating into the deficit and setting Wiltshire a victory target. But things didn’t go according to plan. Matt Simmonds, top scorer from the first innings had injured his knee while fielding and was unable to continue. Tahir Afridi took two early wickets with the unfortunate skipper Carrasco bagging a pair and Fynn trapped LBW for just 5 – score 7 for 2. A partnership then developed between Jack Edwards 34 and former Worcestershire Dutch international Alex Kervezee 49 who put on 88 runs together until both were trapped LBW by Jake Lintott. At 95 for 2 things were looking good for Shropshire as these too had helped them into the lead, but sadly they had no support and man of the match Lintott tore through the innings with a devastating 5 for 21 from just 10 overs. With Simmonds unable to bat the innings was closed on 123 for 9 and a slender lead of just 78 runs.
Wiltshire’s run chase didn’t begin quite as they had hoped with 3 wickets falling with just 30 on the board. However, Will Wade 32 not out stood firm and together with skipper Ed Young 28 not out they reached their target 79 for 3 from just 25 overs. Let the celebrations begin. A successful Championship season for Wiltshire with the only defeats coming in games they know they might have won.