Barnett Brilliance gets First XI over the line
With the sun shining, the Shrews welcomed high flying Bransgore to the Rec. With his team languishing at the wrong end of the table, skipper Will Harries rallied his troops, highlighting this game as the perfect opportunity to kick start what had been a poor season to date. With injuries and availability wreaking havoc throughout the club, the side featured 5 changes, including a first league appearance for young Tom Plank.
On winning the toss, the hosts had no hesitation to insert the visitors. The decision appeared vindicated when Harries bowled his opposite number with the first ball of the match. Harries bowled a fast 6 over spell, mixing up his lengths perfectly and removing another two of the Bransgore top 5 in the process. From the other end, Darren Bentley struggled to find his rhythm in the early exchanges and so was replaced by Matt Wood who was quickly amongst the wickets having Wright caught at long off and Thomas caught expertly down the leg side by keeper Barnett. The visitors had slumped to 58-5 on a good deck and the Shrews high energy approach was working wonders. Spin was introduced for the first time with Matt Jackson and Dan Pownall bowling in tandem to squeeze the innings even further. After a well deserved break, skipper Harries returned hoping to achieve further breakthroughs in his final two overs. Whilst he was unsuccessful in his quest for wickets, his overall return of 3-21 had given his side the perfect platform.
When Jackson had the counter attacking Fox LBW for 24, the spin twins sensed an opportunity for an early tea and soon had Bransgore 97-9 (Jackson 3-27, Pownall 1-29). Unfortunately for the Shrews, the game then started to drift despite the efforts of the returning Wood (2-24) and young Tom Plank who bowled nicely without luck. The last wicket partnership had reached 48 when the experienced Bentley (1-13) returned to clean up Syrrett for a stubborn 11, leaving Jones unbeaten on 23.
Shrewton were set a well under par 146 to win and were pleased with their efforts, the only disappointment being the 47 extras that were sent down again, contributing nearly a third of the opposition runs.
Knowing a target of 150 can sometimes be a difficult chase, the Shrews were determined to make a positive start as Mark Gurd and Chris Brewer made their way to the middle. This was not the case though as left arm seamer Ranger had Brewer bowled around his legs for just 2 in the third over. Wood joined Gurd, and combined a watchful approach with cautious attack, despite a bizarre incident which saw Wood's handle snap half way down! The score had advanced to 42 when Gurd had his off stump uprooted by Bratt to depart for 22. When Wood (10) quickly nicked off to the same bowler, the game was in the balance. Barnett and Bingley restored composure to the innings and took the score to 90 before Bingley (13) was bowled by the returning Ranger (2-33). When Harries (2) quickly followed, the score read 102-5. Luckily for the Shrews, Barnett was in superb touch and passed 50. Whilst not required to score, Chris Newbury provided excellent support at the other end to ensure the long tail were not required in the middle. Some more powerful stroke play from Barnett took the Shrews to a much needed 5 wicket victory, Barnett unbeaten with a defiant 81*.
Winners beers definitely tasted better and the Shrews not sit in mid table having played all of the top 5 sides in the division and will look to build on this victory when they host Sparsholt next Saturday.
Shrewton - Gurd, Brewer, Wood, Barnett, Bingley, Harries, Newbury, Pownall, Bentley, Plank, Jackson