A SENSATIONAL all-round performance by youngster Sam Ellis set up a comfortable win for Whitchurch against Madeley – and helped tighten their grip on top spot in the Shropshire League Premier Division.

Ellis, who has missed much of the Heath Road season through his commitments as captain of Ellesmere College, scored a fine century and took five wickets as Madeley were swept aside by 200 runs.

The 17-year-old all-rounder had made a double hundred when opening the batting for Shropshire under-17s a few days earlier, prompting Whitchurch skipper Alex Huxley to offer him a place at the top of the order.

And he responded by hitting 106 and sharing a century opening stand with Huxley.

“Sam showed great composure throughout his innings and it was great to watch from the other end,” said Huxley.

“It was his first league ton, and he’ll certainly be opening the innings again.”

With Ijaz Yousaf hammering 94 off 79 balls and Elliott Bowen a quickfire 31no, Whitchurch posted huge total of 329-4 off their 50 overs.

Whitchurch had been asked to bat by Madeley, and Huxley admitted he would have fielded if he had won the toss.

“I thought the conditions would be more bowler-friendly than they were, but it all worked out well in the end,” he said.

When Madeley batted, they soon lost opener Andy Laycock to Ellis – and wickets fell at regular intervals after that.

Ellis later returned to the attack to pick up the last four wickets, and he finished with the excellent figures of 5-20 as the visitors were bowled out for 129.

Huxley is unavailable for Saturday’s trip to north Shropshire rivals Market Drayton, and the following week’s home game with Quatt, and Simon Bowen will lead the side.

“Drayton pushed us all the way in the game at our place, so they’ll feel confident of doing well on Saturday,” said Huxley.

Ed Watson Jones, Simon Dimelow and Will Doerr are all set to return for the Drayton clash.