IT MAY have been by just three runs – but Whitchurch’s victory over Market Drayton at Heath Road on Saturday has taken them 12 points clear at the top of the Shropshire Premier League table.

Alex Huxley’s side will be thanking their lucky stars their north Shropshire rivals just failed to get over the line as they chased the modest Whitchurch total of 158 – and the skipper himself admitted it was “too close for comfort”.

But they have another 20 points in the bag which could prove vital in the final reckoning, after a day when the top five in the batting order failed to make much impression.

Indeed, when Huxley was out for 29, Whitchurch found themselves in deep trouble at 49-5.

That became 69-6 when Elliott Bowen was dismissed, but a seventh-wicket stand of 67 between Will Doerr and veteran Simon Bowen swung the game in Whitchurch’s favour.

Doerr made 45no and Bowen 30 to give the score a degree of respectability, though Drayon bowlers Sam Evans (5-37) and Kyle Morgan (3-51) will have been pleased with their afternoon’s work.

Dan Bowen whipped out the first four batsmen for just eight runs between them when Drayton replied, but experienced skipper James Coggins kept Whitchurch at bay.

*For a full north Shropshire cricket round-up, see this week's Whitchurch Herald.