On Monday, Shrewsbury's U18 side qualified for the Headmasters’ Conference Twenty20 competition finals day for the fourth consecutive year, after beating a highly rated Bedford School side. This year’s finals day will be played at Arundel Castle on the 5th July, with their first opponents in the semi final likely to be Bolton School. The other two participants are Bede’s School from Hailsham in Sussex and either Portsmouth Grammar School or King’s Taunton, who play off in the South/South West quarter final on Thursday.
Against Bedford, Shrewsbury playing with home advantage, won the toss and got off to a flier with Worcestershire Academy batsman Ed Pollock, following up his 140 on Saturday, with a quick-fire 53 off 35 balls. A clatter of wickets followed, as the School side collapsed from 77-1 in the 11th over to 94-8 in the 17th. The tail eventually lifted the School to 116 all out off the last ball of their allotted 20 overs; a total that was felt to be about 25 runs short of a score to challenge the previously unbeaten Bedford outfit.
Bedford started confidently but were never able to keep up with the clock, especially when Shrewsbury’s spinners came on to bowl. They lost regular wickets in the pursuit of quick runs and were never able to build partnerships, as skipper Henry Blofield – with 3-19 and two run-outs from direct hits – saw them stumble to 99 all out in the 20th over.
On Tuesday, Shrewsbury’s U17 side took on West Midlands rivals Bromsgrove in a 40-over contest for the right to meet either Portsmouth Grammar School, King’s Taunton or South Gloucestershire & Stroud College in the National U17 Competition final, sponsored by School Sport magazine.
Shrewsbury once again won the toss and batted in perfect conditions. Despite losing their first wicket on 12, Joe Carrasco and George Lewis put on 163 in 30 overs before the latter perished to a stumping for a well-crafted 69. Carrasco went one run later bowled, with 90 runs to his name, and it was left to Freddie Earlam (17*) and Will Cook (21*) to put on a quick-fire 38 in the last 4 overs to post 214-3 in their 40 overs.
Bromsgrove found the accurate Shrewsbury bowling difficult to score against and with some keen fielding struggled to keep up with the required rate. With the dismissal of their star performer, Matt Lamb, Bromsgrove never really stood a chance and lost regular wickets. Charlie Kidson was the pick of the bowlers with 5-55 from his 8 overs.
The final is in September at Cumnor Cricket Club in Oxfordshire.
Also on Tuesday, the School’s U14 side beat Wrekin College in the final of the County Cup. Winning this competition allows Shrewsbury to represent Shropshire in the highly prestigious Lord’s Taverners Trophy in 2014, where they will play against other county winners in another national competition. Shrewsbury last won this competition in 2005, when Nottinghamshire and England batsman James Taylor was in the side and scored a century in the final against Harrow. In Tuesday’s final, Wrekin scored 134-8 from 30 overs, while Shrewsbury, helped by 70* from Charlie Home, knocked the runs off for the loss of only two wickets.
Not to be out done by their schoolmates, the U15 side got their chance to emulate other cricketers in the School when they took on Bablake School from Coventry at home in the ESCA National U15 T20 regional semi final stage. Max Parsonage scored 63 in Shrewsbury’s 54 run win against Bablake, but their final scheduled for the afternoon against Malvern College who overcame Loughborough Grammar School in the other semi final was rained off and will be played on Sunday 2nd September. The finals day is also at Arundel on 9th September.