Shropshire's showpiece Twenty20 challenge match against First Class neighbours Worcestershire last week has been hailed a big success.
The Minor Counties side ran the Pears close in Wednesday 13th's match at Shrewsbury's London Road ground before losing by 13 runs in front of a crowd of around 500.
Shropshire looked capable of springing a surprise having restricted Worcestershire to 123-8, with Mark Downes claiming the scalps of international batsmen Phil Hughes and Vikram Solanki cheaply.
But the underdogs, in reply, fell away after a bright start which saw them well set early on at 60-1 and were eventually removed for 110 in the final over of an entertaining contest.
Shropshire chairman Toby Shaw said: “It was an absolutely fantastic night. The fact we've been able to attract a first class county to Shropshire and had such an exciting game is a great credit to all the players.
“It was an excellent turn out and at one stage I thought we were going to win, but great credit to Worcestershire whose professional experience came to the fore at the end.”
Shropshire captain Ed Foster, who top scored for his side with a brisk 31, stressed it had been enjoyable for his team to pit their wits against high quality opposition.
He was proud of Shropshire's display but felt it was a missed opportunity given they were unable to press home their advantage.
“The game was there for the winning at more than one stage,” admitted Foster. “But you've got to take some positives from it, the fact we've given a very strong First Class side a run for their money.”
Despite defeat, Foster rated it a worthwhile exercise and hopes Worcestershire will return to Shropshire in the future. He added: “Thankfully the weather was good, there was a good crowd and hopefully Worcestershire come back next year.
“This was their only warm up match for their T20 campaign and it was a good challenge for them.”
Worcestershire's Australian Test star Phil Hughes insisted he had been impressed with Shropshire's display and said he had enjoyed his first visit to Shrewsbury.
Hughes stressed: “I like these English grounds, they're quite pretty, and it's good to give a bit back. To see a good crowd in was nice.
“A couple of their top order batsmen played beautifully and they put us on the backfoot, but we bowled and fielded well and that's what won us the game.”
Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell added: “If I'm honest, I thought we were in deep trouble so we did exceptionally well to drag it back. Credit to our guys as they fought hard and never gave up.
“It was a good run out, a pretty close game, quite tense and it put a few of our guys under pressure which was good.”
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