A FINE unbeaten century by Skipper Robbie Clarke took Oswestry First XI to the brink of victory on Saturday, but it was Shifnal who stole the honours in a gripping finish in the Birmingham & District Premier Cricket League Division One.

Coming together with the score on 171-4 Clarke and young Glamorgan bowler Roman Walker put on 131 for the fifth wicket in even time.

Requiring 13 to win the last over, Oswestry finished just 4 runs short, as county bowler Jack Edwards contained the Morda Road batsman.

Clarke’s splendid hundred came off just 105 balls and included 8 x 4’s and 2 x 6’s. Walker, who was suffering with a stomach bug, batted courageously, cracking 54 off 48 balls.

Earlier, Warrick Fynn continued his good form with a rapid 60 and there were, again, encouraging knocks from youngsters Josh Coleridge (31) and Josh Kirk (24).

Oswestry will reflect on what might have been as they chased an unlikely total of 306 as their bowlers toiled hard in the Shifnal sun.

Shropshire skipper, Steve Leach, who was dropped twice and profited from a number of other fielding errors, went on to score 105.

With Walker having to retire from the attack early, Ian Davies once again, showed his invaluable experience, being Oswestry’s best bowler, returning figures of 2-49.

Oswestry will also rue the fact that they conceded 16 wides and two no balls which, in the final analysis, proved decisive.

An understrength Oswestry second XI lost to Fordhouses Second XI at the Stonehouse Oval by seven wickets.

The home side were bowled out for 122 after choosing to bat, with opener Josh Darley's 23 the stand-out score as skipper Jonathan Davies weighed in with 20.

Darley took one Fordhouses wicket in reply, with Nick Williams and Archie James taking one apiece as their visitors reached their target for the loss of three wickets.

On Saturday, the first XI will travel to Barnards Green for a 12pm start while the second XI face Lichfield at the Stonehouse.