Steve Dent reports from Bridgnorth CC
Gloucestershire maintained their winning record in the county championship this weekend, with a hard-fought 36-run win against Shropshire at Bridgnorth CC.
After winning the toss and batting, openers Abby Evans and Charlie Walker built a large opening stand based on positive strokeplay and determination to lead from the front. Both were quick to despatch anything loose and their stand of 92 provided a great platform for the rest of the innings. Abby reached 50 from 64 balls with 6 boundaries before she was bowled by Lara Jones. With the score on 108 Charlie was given out LBW sweeping for a measured 36 from 66 balls.
Gloucestershire then lost two quick wickets before Bethan Moorcraft and Eve Alder produced a positive partnership to give the innings impetus. Bethan played with a clear purpose, ran positively and hit 7 boundaries in her innings of 50 from 62 balls. Eve played a valuable supporting role and the pair put on 55 in 13 overs before Eve was run out for 17 and, shortly after reaching her 50, Bethan was bowled, with the score on 174.
However, Laura Marshall (10*), Danika Dyer and Chloe Davis ensured that the score passed 200, and Gloucestershire finished on 205 – 9 from their 50 overs.
Things didn’t go to plan for Gloucestershire once Shropshire’s innings got underway, as Robyn Mathews played very positively right from the start. She shared in partnerships of 41 with Lara Jones and 62 with Millie Home to give Shropshire a real chance of chasing down their target.
The introduction of Danika Dyer brought about the change Gloucestershire were after, and she took the wickets of Jones and Home, both LBW. Her mid-innings spell of 2 – 22 from 10 overs was crucial. While Mathews carried on, passing 50, Dyer and Mollie Robbins started to turn the screw with some tight bowling.
The game looked to be heading for a tight finish with 8 overs to go and Shropshire wanting 51 with 6 wickets left, but a brilliant stumping by Laura Marshall off Mollie Robbins dismissed Mathews for a superb 80 and from that point onwards Gloucestershire dominated.
Robbins picked up two further wickets to finish with 3 – 27 from her 10 overs. A late wicket from Sidra Khan put the seal on the victory as Shropshire ended their 50 overs on 169 – 8.
Afterwards, coach Steve Dent described the win as “hard-fought”. “Shropshire looked likely winners at more than one stage. However the team stayed patient and positive and got their just rewards in the end, to record our 2nd win in the competition. There were excellent contributions all round, and it’s good to see confidence and belief high.”
Gloucestershire are next in action in the County T20 competition against Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire on 5th July.