WEM and Shropshire star Graham Wagg has been presented with a prestigious award from the National Counties Cricket Association (NCCA) following an impressive first season with the county.

Wagg received the Wilfred Rhodes Trophy from Nick Archer, the chairman of the NCCA, during the lunch interval of Shropshire’s two T20 group matches against Staffordshire at Whitchurch on Sunday.

The award, first presented in 1955, is awarded to the batter who scores the most runs in the NCCA Championship, with Wagg leading the way in the three-day format during the 2021 season.

The former Glamorgan all-rounder struck 453 Championship runs, including two hundreds and a half-century, at an average of 56.63 in Shropshire’s four Championship matches.

Wagg and Shropshire secured their opening win of the National Counties Cricket Association season in style by impressively beating Staffordshire by 14 runs in the second game of their T20 double-header at Whitchurch.

After being edged out by five wickets with eight balls to spare by Staffordshire in Sunday’s opening fixture, Shropshire responded well to win the second contest.

Opener Andre Bradford carried his bat to hit an unbeaten 87 before seamers Charlie Walker and Martin Boyle shared seven wickets to inspire Shropshire to victory.

Vice-captain Sam Whitney was delighted with Shropshire’s efforts, with the win setting them up nicely for a busy Bank Holiday weekend.

They will follow up two matches against Cumbria at Netherfield on Sunday by making a quick return to Whitchurch to play Northumberland twice 24 hours later as they complete their group fixtures.

“We will just go into it full of confidence,” said Whitney. "I think we’re going to improve every game and hopefully we will finish the Twenty20 group on a high note.

“You never know, two wins next Sunday might put us in good stead, and the beauty of Twenty20 cricket is anything can happen.”

Shropshire had started their T20 campaign with two defeats at Cheshire, but this time they ensured it was honours even against a Staffordshire side boosted by two wins in their opening fixtures against Northumberland.

Whitney felt Shropshire took confidence from running Staffordshire close in Sunday’s opener and that helped them achieve victory when the teams met for a second time later in the day.

Bradford, who signed for the county at the start of the new season, was in excellent form as he helped Shropshire, having elected to bat, accumulate 145-4 from their 20 overs.

Bradford struck three sixes and six fours on his way to compiling an unbeaten 87 from 61 balls, with Mahaaz Ahmed claiming 2-24 for the visitors.

Whitchurch Herald: Shropshire line up at Whitchurch where they won one and lost one of their T20 matches against Staffordshire, back from left: Matty Simmonds, Graham Wagg, Charlie Walker, Martin Boyle, Ben Roberts, Sam Whitney, Ben Lees; front: Tyler Ibbotson, Andre

Shropshire line up at Whitchurch where they won one and lost one of their T20 matches against Staffordshire, back from left: Matty Simmonds, Graham Wagg, Charlie Walker, Martin Boyle, Ben Roberts, Sam Whitney, Ben Lees; front: Tyler Ibbotson, Andre Bradford, James Shaw, Harry Darley and Ryan Lockley.

Staffordshire, in reply, were well placed at 88-1 at the end of the 11th over, but then wickets started to fall regularly and they ended short of their target on 131-7.

Former Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire batter Riki Wessels hit 58 from 47 balls, with Zen Malik, the Staffordshire captain, making 30.

Both were bowled by impressive Madeley seamer Boyle (3-16), while another of Shropshire’s seamers, 18-year-old Walker, who plays for Bridgnorth, also excelled to take 4-21.

The day’s opening match at Heath Road saw Shropshire, having elected to bat once again, total 109-9.

Bradford top scored with 21 before being one of three players in the top order to be run out, while former Yorkshire bowler Sam Wisniewski took 3-22 for the visitors.

Staffordshire were made to work hard in their successful chase as they progressed to 113-5 with eight balls to spare.

Louis Allison (30) and Ahmed (24no) led the way with the bat, as spinners Ibbotson (2-12) and Whitney (2-25) - who opened the bowling for Shropshire in both games - enjoyed some reward with the ball.