Minor Counties: Shropshire knocked out of Unicorns Trophy

Oswestry Cricket Club, Morda Road
Shropshire have been playing Minor Counties cricket at Morda Road, Oswestry, since 1964
Unicorns Trophy, Group Three, Oswestry
Northumberland 283-6 (44 overs) Du Toit 100 no, Carr 67
Shropshire 277-9 (44 overs) Clarke 107, Ralph 50
Northumberland won by six runs

Shropshire have been knocked out of the Unicorns Trophy, after losing by six runs at home to Northumberland, to suffer a third successive group defeat.

After a rain-delayed start at Oswestry, Northumberland scored freely to set a target of 283-6, thanks chiefly to an unbeaten 100 in just 54 balls from visiting captain Jacques Du Toit.

The former Leicestershire batsman hit nine sixes and five fours.

Teenager Joe Clarke replied with 107, but Shropshire fell short on 277-9.

Shropshire's Unicorns Trophy matches
19 April - Lost by 132 runs to Cumberland (Shrewsbury)
26 April - Lost by 95 runs to Cheshire (Nantwich)
3 May - Lost by 6 runs to Northumberland (Oswestry)
10 May - Lincolnshire v Shropshire (Bracebridge Heath)

Worcestershire's England Under-19s player Clarke, 18, had suffered ducks in both of Shropshire's opening two matches but he performed well back on his home ground at Morda Road, hitting five sixes and 12 fours.

He helped to put on 122 in a fourth-wicket standwith captain James Ralph (50), but Shropshire never recovered from the loss of both batsmen in quick succession as, in an eight o'clock finish, they fell just short.

Shropshire, the 2010 winners, who had already lost to Cumberland and Cheshire on the two previous Sundays, are due to play their final group game against Lincolnshire at Bracebridge Heath this Sunday (10 May).

The new Minor Counties Championship season starts with a three-day Western Division away match against Oxfordshire, starting on 31 May.

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