Joseph Fireworks get First Team Rolling
Saturday's trip to Bishop's Waltham gave the first XI the opportunity to bounce back following their defeat to Bramshaw last weekend. With skipper Jamie Mitchell injured, a very different team made the journey south with Will Sleeman leading a side featuring two first team debutants; Alvin Cameron who's transfer from Penton was finalised on Thursday afternoon and Army wicket-keeper Ollie Cross.
On arrival, both sets of players made comment on the green-nature of the wicket, with a much shortened boundary on one side of the ground looking like a tempting hit for some of the West Indian contingent of the Shrewton side. Historic games the Shrews have played at Albany road have featured a very two paced wicket, so the Shrews were not disappointed to lose the toss and get first use of the ball on a wicket that was sure to do a bit throughout the match.
Will Harries and the returning Neilon Joseph opened for the Shrews, with both successful in their opening spells. However, despite the early wickets reducing the hosts to 27-3, a gutsy fourth wicket partnership between Simon Culmer and skipper Sam Medhurst brought the home side to drinks at 77-3 with the Shrews in need of a breakthrough. With Dan Pownall bowling a tight spell from one end, it was new signing Alvin Cameron who delivered at the other, picking up both established batsmen with consecutive balls. The introduction of Tom Mundy saw two more wickets fall with the score teetering at 105-7, but a well paced innings of 52 from Harry Barrett allowed Bishop's Waltham to post a very competitive 161, with the last 3 wickets falling to the returning opening bowlers, Harries (4-13) and Joseph (2-29).
In response, the Shrews lost Mark Gurd early on, but Chris Brewer (31) and Will Harries (21) both looked comfortable before being bowled by Pete Hicks playing loose shots. With Rich Barnett falling shortly afterwards to a confusing LBW dismissal, Neilon Joseph joined Will Sleeman at the crease and the two battled through to drinks despite a couple of near misses. The drinks break brought a change in mindset for the Shrews with Joseph, who has fond memories of this ground from a few years earlier, setting about the bowling attack with a familiar ferocity. 8 sixes were hit in the space of just a few overs as the Shrews powered towards their target and despite losing Sleeman (18), Tom Mundy rounded off a fine all round day with 14*. Joseph's innings closed on 62* from just 29 deliveries, a fantastic knock that turned what was almost a banana skin of a chase into a comfortable win with 14 overs to spare.
Next week the Shrews host Ferndown Wayfarers at the Rec with availability and injuries sure to result in a once again much changed side. They will be hopeful of another good performance to shoot themselves up the Division 2 table.
Shrewton - Gurd, Brewer, Harries, Sleeman (c), Barnett, Joseph, Mundy, Cross (wk), McClure, Cameron, Pownall