Shropshire Cricket League Premier Division

Whitchurch snatched a draw from the jaws of victory on Saturday as they came off second best in a north Shropshire derby stalemate against champions-elect Wem on Saturday.

The Heath Road side were hoping to go one better than the last time the two sides met, ending in a draw at Wem, but they were left hanging on with a collapse of England proportions following tighter Wem bowling.

Skipper Daniel Bowen won the toss and opted to give his side a score to chase, and he would have been happy with his work when Wem were bowled for 178, with some late hitting seeing them to a defendable total.

Bowen led the way, opening the bowling, as he recorded figures of 4-50 from 12 overs, with two maidens and no wides or no balls while he was given excellent support from star bowler Ataf Ali, who finished with 4-33 from 10.1 overs.

Patrick Phillips, with the wicket of dangerman and skipper Sam Peate, grabbed one as did Vansh Bajaj.

Peate, opening up for Wem, top scored for the league leaders with 36.

In reply, Whitchurch made a solid start before opener Matthew Batkin, who has had a fine year, was out for 16 from 30 balls, including three fours, bowled by Danny Cohen, the first of his three from the top three victims.

Salim Ahmed followed for 14 from 59 balls as Whitchurch dug in to claim the upset and bragging rights, with Cohen’s wicket coming via a catch from Martyn Davies.

Simon Dimelow was the next man in as he joined Bajaj at the crease and the pair stepped up Whitchurch’s reply, putting on 65 for the third wicket.

However, Dimelow’s momentum was unexpectedly halted when he was trapped lbw for 33 from 51 balls, the first of James Astley’s five wickets.

A quickfire 35 from Ijaz Yousaf, from 39 balls, pushed Whitchurch’s run rate along as he and Bajaj added another 34 before the collapse began when the latter was caught by Matthew Cohen off Danny’s bowling for 55.

The returning Evelyn Jones was caught behind for one and with four ducks in the last five batsmen, including Eddie Lewis’ nought not out, Whitchurch were hanging on for 167-9 at the end of their 50 overs.

Whitchurch’s first XI finish their season on Saturday home to Bomere Heath.

Meanwhile, the second XI lost by seven wickets to Knockin’s second XI, with the Heath Road side 72 all out with Molly Batkin scoring 20.

On Sunday, the third XI drew with Shrewsbury’s fourth XI at Heath Road, finishing on 158-5.