Norfolk lose to Shropshire by three wickets in Minor Counties Knockout Trophy quarter-finals
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk missed out on a place in the last four of the Minor Counties Knock-out Trophy on Sunday after losing an exciting game against Shropshire by three wickets at Manor Park.
After making a respectable 246-8 in their 50 overs Ashley Watson's side produced a battling display in the field to take the game to the final over before the visitors got home with just three balls to spare.
After being asked to bat first Norfolk responded well to the early loss of Sam Arthurton, with Swardeston colleagues Jordan Taylor and Jason Reynolds putting on 87 for the second wicket.
When Reynolds went for 36, caught by Sam Whitney off the bowling of Jack Twigger, Taylor added another 49 in the company of Rob Taylor before being bowled by Twigger for a 90-ball 63.
With Norfolk on 153-3 the foundations had been laid for a late assault on the Shropshire bowling but sadly for the hosts Stephan Marillier and Ben France both went for single figure scores and with professional Taylor being dismissed just after reaching his half century the hosts were being kept in check.
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Watson's unbeaten 31 in 33 balls helped provide some late impetus however as a decent although perhaps slightly under par target was set.
Shropshire's reply got off to a steady start, with opener Stephen Leach leading the way with an entertaining 60 in 70 balls. With assistance from Omar Ali, Will Parton and former Worcestershire player Alexi Kervezee he got the score up to 131-2 before being caught and bowled by Ryan Findlay. Kervezee (59) and Ross Aucott (35) then continued the good work and at 190-3, with plenty of overs in hand, the visitors looked set for a comfortable win. Brett Sloworthy ensured that was not to be the case however by removing the set pair in quick succession, thanks to catches from Sam Groves and Rob Taylor.
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With Watson also weighing in with the wicket of Robbie Clarke for two Shropshire were all of a sudden under pressure on 199-6. When that became 213-7, with Stolworthy claiming his third wicket by having Whitney caught by Watson, it really was game on. But Simon Gregory then found a more than willing ally in Gurjit Sandu and the pair timed their run chase perfectly, putting together an unbroken eighth wicket stand of 37 to seal victory.