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Flying start for Shropshire

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Bilal Shafayat’s match figures of 10-76 ensured Shropshire’s Minor Counties Championship campaign began on a winning note as they defeated Cheshire by 88 runs to move top of the Western Division.

The former England Under-19 international and Nottinghamshire player stole the show ahead of some other impressive bowling performances in Bridgnorth.

Adam Syddall’s 8-78 helped Cheshire skittle the hosts for 240, but a middle-order collapse in their reply meant they were still 12 runs behind.

Danny Woods then took nine wickets at the cost of 74 runs but Ed Foster’s crucial 89 left Cheshire needing 272 to win. Shafayat recorded his second five-wicket haul of the contest to seal victory as the visitors crashed to 183 all out.

Staffordshire shot straight to the top of the Eastern Division with a 50-run triumph over Cumberland in their opening game.

Chris Beech and Tim Maxfield joined former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in the list of players run out by Gary Pratt as Staffordshire were dismissed for 200.

Pratt’s side posted 115, stumbling to 46 for six at one point, after Greg Willott claimed 7-20.

Chris Miller and Toby Bulcock shared Staffordshire’s 10 wickets between them, the former’s five wickets coming at a cost of 67 while Bulcock came for 43, to reduce the visitors to 170.

That left the hosts needing 256 for victory and, despite Chris Thompson’s 59, another poor contribution from the top order left Cumberland short.

Bilal Shafayat

Former Notts player Bilal Shafayat claimed two five-wicket hauls as Shropshire started the season with an 88-run win over Cheshire

Elsewhere in the Western Division, Devon edged out Wales in a one-innings match after the elements ruined any chance of play on the opening two days.

Wales were put in and toiled to 124 all out as debutant Ryan Bougourd returned 7-41.

Rob Holman and Matthew Thompson saw Devon home with five wickets to spare.

The rain also prevented Herefordshire and Cornwall from forging a positive result, with no play possible on days two and three.

Cornwall will be the more disappointed of the two, having held a 97-run lead in the second innings with seven wickets in hand.

Lincolnshire and Northumberland shared the spoils in a high-scoring Eastern Division affair.

The home side’s 394 was largely down to a 201-run partnership between Akhil Patel and Mathew Dowman. The latter departed on 118 shortly after Patel was sent back nine short of three figures.

Patel’s dismissal came in bizarre circumstances as he was caught by a substitute fielder provided by his own team after Northumberland off-spinner Nicholas Phillips broke his finger.

In a bid to fashion a positive result, declarations came from both sides with Northumberland finishing on 185 for five as Ben Raine smashed four fours and three sixes in a 33-ball unbeaten 42.

Lincolnshire responded with similar attacking intent, Dan Birch blasting 41 from 28 and Dowman racing to an unbeaten 34 from 18 balls, before calling time on 141 for five to set their opponents 351 for victory.

Northumberland avoided defeat as Daniel Shurben’s 104 and Lee Goddard’s 63 guided them to 268 for eight before time ran out for the hosts.

The final two days in Hertfordshire were washed out.

Bedfordshire nearly clinched an extra batting point thanks to Steve Stubbings’ 65, but they fell eight runs shy on 167 all out.

The hosts were 51 for five in reply before the inclement weather hit.