By Neil Fissler
John Foster admits that the start of summer sunshine takes him back to the day that Shropshire brought Yorkshire crashing down to earth in the NatWest Trophy.
The White Rose county became the first first-class county to be beaten twice by one of the Minor Counties in a knock-out competition.
Yorkshire were the first victims of a shock against Durham in 1973 and history repeated itself at St George’s ground in Telford 11 years later.
Foster says that Shropshire only wanted to do themselves justice, especially after losing two early wickets for just over 20.
But a fourth-wicket partnership of 105 between Mushtaq Mohammed and Steve Gale helped them reach 299-5.
Foster recalled: “I know I got out early and so did Steve Johnson, and we were 21-2 but Mushtaq batted well and Steve got a few runs if I remember rightly.
“We felt that if we got 220 or 240 something like that, we could be in with a shout because the pitch suited us because it was quite slow and low.
“I thought that their batsmen wouldn’t quite struggle but not score as quickly as they might normally have done.
“Our attack wasn’t penetrative but could bowl good line and length so it would be quite difficult to score off them without taking undue risks.
“Our biggest worry in those days was getting rolled over for nothing so we aimed to get over 200 to make it competitive and to give the crowd something to watch.
“There was a big crowd and we just wanted to make it a special day for the local supporters.”
Shropshire could not have got off to a worse start when Coventry goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic’s first over went for 12 but they soon pegged Yorkshire back at 22-2.
The White Rose batsmen struggled to put any meaningful partnerships together and soon slumped to 81-6.
It needed Phil Carrick and Graham Stevenson to steady the ship putting on 64 for the seventh wicket to give them some hope.
But, in reality, the damage was already done and Andy Barnard came on to take the last three wickets as Yorkshire were bowled out for 192, handing Shropshire a 37-run win.
Foster added: “One of the things that stands out is that Geoff Boycott scored very slowly for about 25. Malcolm Nash bowled 12 overs at him for about 15 or 16 runs.
“It was Boycott’s benefit year and when he was out he walked around the boundary, signing and selling books for his benefit year.
“They lost wickets early and we bowled tightly and we were always in the driving seat after about 25 or 30 overs.
“Before the start of play we didn’t think that we would win but thought we would make a game of it but they struggled after he took wickets quite early.
“We took six weeks cheaply but then Carrick and Stevenson batted quite well lower down the order which got them back in with a shout. Then they lost the last few wickets and Andy Barnard came on and took the last three wickets.”
Shropshire’s interest in the competition ended in the very next round when they were beaten by 103 runs by Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
BACK ROW (left to right):
J Allen Jones: Scorer and secretary lived in Shrewsbury until his death in 2001.
Peter Ranells: Fast bowler. Now lives in Ontario, Canada, and runs his own business Artimport, a wholesale giftware business.
Andy Barnard: Fast bowler who has taught geography and PE. Currently a housemaster at Shrewsbury School. Also played rugby for Wasps.
Steve Ogrizovic: Seamer who played more than 500 times for Coventry. After retiring he worked in the Sky Blues academy and had a spell as caretaker manager. Now the club’s goalkeeping coach.
Steve Gale: Captain and batsman. Worked as a salesman for a Shrewsbury-based wine business and then had interests in a restaurant. He is now a first class umpire.
Bryan Jones: Batsman became Shropshire team manager while his brother Barry played for Worcestershire. Bryan now works in the family farming business in Upton Magna, Shropshire.
Cedric Boyns: Batsman. Was a biology teacher at RGS Worcester and housemaster at Bloxham School. Now lives in Truro, Cornwall.
Mushtaq Mohammed: Pakistan all-rounder who made Test debut at 14. Has coached in his homeland and taught cricket in Qatar. Also worked in the media.
Geoff Othen: Captain of Shropshire’s Minor Counties title-winning side in 1973 later became chairman, then a telephone engineer. He died in September 2015 aged 82.
Derek Ashley: Wicketkeeper. Lives in his native Whitchurch, Shropshire, where he is a publican and runs The Anchor Inn.
Peter Dawson: All-rounder who became a coach and administrator. Died in November 2012 aged 66 after working for Barclays Bank where he advised on pensions and investments.
Steve Johnson: Opening batsman who is employed in the farming industry where he was a grain salesman. Has also umpired in the Birmingham Cricket League.
Brian Perry: All-rounder. Worked as an engineer until being made redundant. Then became groundsman at Shrewsbury Town’s old Gay Meadow stadium for 26 years.
John Foster: Opening batsman. Was a civil engineer in the water industry for 33 years and is now Shropshire’s performance director and captain’s England’s over 60s side.
Malcolm Nash: Left-arm medium pacer and spinner who played with Glamorgan for 18 seasons, being hit for six sixes in an over by Garry Sobers in 1968. Promoted golf and cricket events in Canada and coached cricket in Kansas where he worked for a landscaping company. Has now retired to Wales.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, Friday February 19 2016