Devon edge ahead of Shropshire after gruelling day in the field
DEVON were made to work for their wickets as Shropshire racked-up the runs against them at Bridgnorth.
Shropshire, 86 for two overnight in reply to Devon’s first innings total of 358, went along at a sprightly clip after a delayed start to make 404 all out.
A combination of drizzle and bad light ate into two hours’ batting time, although 30 minutes was tacked on to the final session as compensation.
Devon reached 56 for one second time around, which leaves them runs ahead going into the final day.
In the 40 overs bowled between an early lunch and tea, Shropshire pelted along from 86 for two to 300 for six.
Opener Stephen Leach, 43 not out overnight, was the first casualty of the morning after adding 51 with Warwick Fynn. That brought Namibian-born former Holland and Worcestershire batsman Alexie Kervezee into the fray.
Kervezee went on to make 140 off 120 balls – 16 fours, one six – in 162 minutes at the crease.
Along the way Kervezee was involved in stands that added 227 to the Shropshire total. The main ones were 63 with Fynn (54) – Durban born, ex-of Eastern Province – and 45 with Ryan Lockley.
Kervezee was ninth out on 361 splendidly caught behind by keeper Matt Thompson.
Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, described it as the ‘best keeping catch’ he had ever seen.
“Kervezee went to reverse-lap Toby Codd, Matt anticipated what was going to happen, moved quickly to his right and dived full length,” said Donohue.
“It came off the middle of the bat, but somehow stuck in Matt’s glove.”
Any hopes of knocking over the last pair in a hurry and getting feet up in the pavilion after 78 overs in the field were dashed by Shropshire tail-enders Sam Whitney (36) and Alex Wyatt (16no), who chipped and chivvied another 43 for the last wicket.
Hard working Devon off-spinner Toby Codd, who got through 22.1 overs during the day, broke the last wicket stand to finish with three for 116.
There were two wickets each for Josh King and 17-year-old leg-spinner Ed Middleton on his Unicorns Championship debut.
Although Devon lacked penetration with the ball due to selection issues, Donohue was pleased with the effort in the field.
“Toby Codd propped up and end for long periods and went for less than four an over,” said Donohue.
“Shropshire have some decent batters, not just Kervezee, and we had to work hard for what we got.
“To get close of play slightly ahead slightly ahead with nine wickets intact is a good position to take into the final day as we have the opportunity to control the game if we bat sensibly.”
The Devon batsman out last night was Josh Mailling, lbw to Wyatt for the second time in the match.
Devon 358 (T A Lammonby 130, J J Bess 97, L F O Bess 33; A C F Wyatt 4-65, A Quiney 3-94) & 56-1, Shropshire 404 (A N Kervezee 140, S G Leach, J D Carrasco 43; W F S Fynn 54’ T J R Codd 3-116). Bonus points: Devon (8), Shropshire (8).