Minor Counties: Shropshire's title chances end after narrow defeat

Shropshire CCC 2015
Shropshire are fifth in the Western Division table after their narrow defeat by Wales
Minor Counties Championship, Bridgnorth
Wales 184 (Griffiths 82; Higginbotham 5-57, Randhawa 3-47) and 364 (Brown 115, Lewis-Williams 57; Randhawa 7-119)
Shropshire 289 (Leach 72, Aucott 70) and 239 (Leach 65)
Wales won by two runs
Wales 16 pts, Shropshire 7 pts

Shropshire's outside chance of winning the Minor Counties Western Division title finally ended after a narrow two-run defeat by Wales at Bridgenorth.

Set 242 to win off a minimum of 95 overs on the final day, the home side reached lunch on 122-4.

Despite the loss of opener Steve Leach (65), Shropshire inched towards a win.

Three runs were needed with one wicket left, but spinner Charlie Morris was bowled for nought as they fell agonisingly short on 239 all out.

Shropshire will look back with regret on a match they were in control of at various stages.

Matt Higginbottom's career-best 5-57 put Wales on the back foot on day one before Leach (72) and Ross Aucott (70) secured a healthy 105-run first-innings lead.

Shropshire's Minor Counties Championship 2015
7-8 June: Beat Cheshire by an innings & 150 runs (Whitchurch)
21-23 June: Herefordshire v Shropshire. Match Drawn (Eastnor Castle)
5-7 July: Berkshire v Shropshire. Match Drawn (Falkland, Newbury)
19-21 July: Dorset v Shropshire. Match Drawn (Dean Park, Bournemouth)
2-4 August: Lost to Wales by two runs (High Town, Bridgnorth)
16-18 August: Shropshire v Devon (Priorslee Road, Shifnal)

They remained on top as Wales were reduced to 103-5 in their second innings, but the visitors rallied spectacularly to add 243 for the last five wickets, thanks to Connor Brown (115) and Daniel Lewis-Williams (57).

Shropshire left-arm spinner Gurman Randhawa took 7-119 to complete match figures of 10-166.

Shropshire's victory chase was stifled by the regular loss of wickets with Leach, Will Parton (44) and Tom Weston (36) the only significant contributors.

They now trail leaders Berkshire by 35 points and will complete their season with a home game against Devon starting on 16 August.