THE EAGERLY awaited top of the table clash between Berkswell and Shrewsbury saw the visitors to Meeting House Lane gain the lion’s share of the points on offer and consequently increase their lead in the league to 13 points.
Winning the toss Shrewsbury elected to bat first and openers Ed Foster and Steve Leach made steady progress putting together an opening partnership of 71 before Dave Brignull claimed the wicket of Leach (32) in the 16th over.
A second wicket partnership of 49 between Foster and Will Parton in 13 overs came to an end when Foster (47) was caught by Chris Whittock off the slow left arm spin of Mohammed Ahmed.
The Berkswell bowlers then found it hard to make another breakthrough whilst the opposition batsmen continued to add to the scoreboard with relative ease.
In the 43rd over however, Dan Worrall had Tom Cox (22) caught at point by Mark Best with the score on 179, and 13 runs later Worrall bowled Parton (68).
At 195 in the 49th over the Shropshire side lost their fifth wicket when Worrall had Rob Foster (3) caught by Dominic Ostler at slip. With 6 overs remaining Anthony Parker (38 not out) and Stephen Barnard (23 not out) added another 61 runs and the innings finally closed on 256. For Berkswell Worrall picked 3 for 56 off 16 overs.
In reply Berkswell opened with Mark Best and Dan Worrall but the experiment came to an abrupt end in the 6th over when Worrall (6) was bowled by Steve Barnard with the scoreboard showing 20.
Chris Whittock (2) was the next to lose his wicket seven runs later, and when, with the total on 47, Best (29) lost his wicket he became the third wicket to fall.
Tom Milnes and Dominic Ostler halted the loss of wickets and Milnes, in particular, looked comfortable facing the Shrewsbury attack striking the ball effortlessly and finding the boundary with regularity.
However, having combined to add another 52 runs in 12 overs, Ostler (15) was bowled by George Panayi. Incoming batsman Oliver Haley provided valuable support to Milnes and the pairing added another 37 runs in 9 overs before Haley (20) was caught by Sam Griffiths at deep square leg off the bowling of Charlie Morris.
When Steven Sandhu (5) was out at 160 the likelihood of Berkswell getting anywhere near the Shrewsbury total was now dependant on Milnes continuing to take the attack to the Shrewsbury bowlers in the remaining 9 overs.
Unfortunately for Berkswell, Milnes (77) was the next wicket to fall – at 165 – when he was caught by Steve Leach at cover. Chris Cheslin (12) briefly kept the run scoring going, but with his demise in the 44th over it was left to Jamie Spires (16 not out) and Ahmed (5 not out) to ensure the home side saved the game and avoided defeat.
Next Saturday Berkswell travel to Barnt Green who currently are placed below half way in the table.