A bumper crowd were treated to a real run feast with 436 runs plundered in just 40 overs as first-class neighbours Worcestershire Rapids overcame Shropshire in an exciting Twenty20 clash at Bridgnorth.
The Pears, for whom skipper Daryl Mitchell just ran out of time to reach three figures, eventually emerged as 36 run victors at Cricket Meadow.
But it was a night of many positives for Shropshire, who were delighted to put 200 on the board against the New Road professionals.
Ed Barnard, one of four county old boys given permission to play for Shropshire against their current team mates, and Ross Aucott both cracked entertaining half centuries against an attack featuring Sri Lanka international spinner Sachithra Senanayake.
Shropshire coach Karl Krikken insisted he was pleased with his side’s efforts and stressed the game acted as a useful warm up exercise ahead of the new Unicorns Twenty20 competition which will see the county face Oxfordshire at Eastnor CC a week on Sunday, May 31.
“I thought it was a great advert for Twenty20 cricket,” he said. “Worcester brought a strong side and played tremendously to get nearly 240.
“But I was really pleased with how we played. Ross played magnificently and the reverse six off Senanayake, well, I’ve never seen a shot like that, it was tremendous.
“Ed Barnard, one for the future, a Worcester player, also played really well for us, so I was really pleased with the night.”
Shropshire chairman Toby Shaw said it was an encouraging evening for the county as several of the team’s younger players hinted at their potential.
He added: “It was a fantastic occasion and a great crowd. I was a little bit worried early on about the weather, but it turned out to be a glorious evening and the cricket matched it.
“There were lots of runs scored, but it wasn’t slogging. It was proper cricket shots and that’s what people like to see. Some of our home grown talent has also blossomed and that gives me a lot of pleasure.
“Bridgnorth have again done a fantastic job as hosts, as they did last year when we played Birmingham Bears.”
Worcestershire opted to bat first on winning the toss and found runs in plentiful supply as they raced to 236-2 from their 20 overs.
Richard Oliver, the former Shropshire captain, dominated an opening stand of 81 before falling for 48.
Mitchell, the Worcestershire skipper, then put on 149 for the second wicket with Tom Kohler-Cadmore as the ball regularly disappeared out of the ground.
Kohler-Cadmore hit a glorious 80 from just 33 balls and Mitchell was still there as the innings drew to a close, unbeaten on 94 from 61 deliveries, a knock which featured 10 fours and three sixes.
Chasing such a big target may have overawed some teams but Shropshire showed they were up for the fight by starting positively with opener Aucott and Barnard, at No 4, providing most of the fireworks.
Aucott struck a sparkling 51 from 32 balls (two sixes and five fours) and he shared a brisk partnership of 77 for the third wicket with Barnard, the England under-19 international from Shrewsbury, who made his senior debut for Worcestershire against the New Zealand tourists a few days earlier.
Barnard took the game to his Pears team mates as he raced to his 50 off just 21 deliveries before being bowled by Charlie Morris for 64 from 31 balls. He struck seven sixes and two boundaries in a display which oozed class.
Wicketkeeper Simon Gregory then added an unbeaten 37 and Jack Shantry, another Worcestershire man loaned back to Shropshire for the night, hit 20 off the final over to lift the score up to a very respectable 200-6 at the close.
Picture: The four Worcestershire players allowed to play for Shropshire, their former county, against the Pears, from left, Joe Leach, Ed Barnard, Jack Shantry and Joe Clarke.