Wickets tumbled at Oswestry and Barrow on the opening day of the second round of National Counties Championship matches.
There were 24 wickets at Oswestry where Wales NC fought back after they had lost their last five first innings wickets for just seven runs in 20 balls against Shropshire in Western Division Two.
Wales then dismissed Shropshire for 140, which meant they trailed by just three runs on first innings, and, in effect, made the match a one innings contest.
Wales struggled again in their second innings and ended the day on 54 for four .
Sam Ellis was Shropshire’s stand-out performer with five for 20 as Wales tumbled from 130 for five to 137 all out.
Ellis also top-scored with 36 in Shropshire’s first innings with left-arm spinner Brad Wadlan taking four for 38 and his wicket haul to 16 in three Championship innings this season.
It was equally frenetic at Barrow where 20 wickets went down with Cambridgeshire also hitting back against Cumbria after a first innings collapse in their Division Two East match.
Cambridgeshire appeared in little trouble when Callum Guest and Joe Tetley, playing his first Championship match in five years, made half centuries and put on 98 for the fourth wicket.
But Cambridgeshire then lost their last seven wickets for 29 and were dismissed for 176 with slow left-armer Matt Siddall taking his third consecutive five wicket haul.
Cumbria found batting no easier and were shot out for 98 with Zain Latif, a slow left-armer who plays for Wollaton in the Nottinghamshire Premier League taking five for 41 on his Cambridgeshire debut.
Two teenage batters impressed on their Championship debuts with Alfie Cooper making 126 for Norfolk against Suffolk at Woolpit in Eastern Division One and 16-year-old Aadi Sharma falling four short of a century on his first appearance for Buckinghamshire against Hertfordshire in Eastern Division Two at Bishop’s Stortford
Cooper, making only his second appearance for Norfolk in all formats, led a solid batting display which included half centuries from Sam Arthurton, Freddie Fairey and Tom New.
Cooper and Arthurton shared a second wicket partnership of 165 as Norfolk piled up 401 for six and then had Suffolk in trouble at 44 for three.
Sharma, a student at Stowe School, has already played for Northamptonshire Second XI this season and he made an immediate impression by sharing a fourth wicket partnership of 145 with Alexei Kervezee.
Sharma went LBW for 96 from 113 balls with 11 fours and four sixes but Kervezee completed his century – his fourth in the Championship but first for Buckinghamshire.
After Kervezee departed, Ross Richardson rattled up his maiden Championship century and shared a seventh wicket stand of 123 with Cameron Parsons which took Buckinghamshire to 446 for eight in their 90 overs.
Staffordshire left-hander Michael Hill made 104, the eighth Championship century of his career, on an attritional opening day against Lincolnshire at Cleethorpes in Eastern Division One.
Player/coach Alex Mellor made 57 and Tamworth wicketkeeper/batter Jason Jakeman made a useful 48 on his debut, helping Hill add 120 for the sixth wicket.
Experienced opening bowler Mark Footitt kept Staffordshire honest by taking four for 64, but Staffordshire’s declaration as soon as Hill was dismissed denied Lincolnshire maximum bowling points.
Defending champions Oxfordshire dismissed Herefordshire for 143 after they had opted to bat first at Thame in Western Division One.
Herefordshire could not break the stranglehold imposed by tight bowling and slumped from 121 for five to 143 all out.
Off-spinner Max Mannering took four for 56 in 30.2 overs and pace bowler Ollie Currill three for 19 in 14 overs.
Oxfordshire opening batter Ollie Ebsworth-Burland appeared to be heading for his customary big score at his home ground until he fell to the slow left-arm of Herefordshire captain four short of his 50.
Oxfordshire stuttered when they lose three wickets for six runs and ended the day on 110 for five.
Berkshire made a strong start to their opening Championship match of the season, piling up 403 for nine against Dorset at Wimborne.
Savin Perera and Tom Scriven made centuries and added 168 for the third wicket with Leicestershire all-rounder Scriven completing a century on his Championship debut.
Dorset lost debutant opener Will Tripcony and captain Luke Webb before the close.
Devon enjoyed much the better of things in the cross-Tamar derby with Cornwall at Sandford in Western Division Two.
Alex Bone’s half century appeared to have laid the foundations for a decent Cornwall total, but they faded from 113 for three to 168 all out inside 20 overs.
Former Kent and Somerset seamer Calum Haggett again underlined his value to Devon with three for 15 and was well-supported by Hugo Whitlock and Fahad Sabir.
Adam Small followed up his career-best 90 against Wales NC last week with another half century as Devon closed on 153 for three, just 15 behind.
National Counties Championship
(First day of three)
Eastern Division One
Cleethorpes: Staffordshire 326-8 dec (Michael 104, Alex Mellor 57), Lincolnshire 61-2.
Woolpit: Norfolk 401-6 (Alfie Cooper 126, Sam Arthurton 85, Freddie Fairey 59, Tom New 56), Suffolk 44-3.
Western Division One
Wimborne: Berkshire 403-9 (Savin Perera 112, Tom Scriven 110), Dorset 29-2.
Thame: Herefordshire 143, Oxfordshire 110-5.
Eastern Division Two
Barrow: Cambridgeshire 176 (Joe Tetley 54, Callum Guest 52) & 18-0, Cumbria 98.
Bishop’s Stortford: Buckinghamshire 446-8 (Alexei Kervezee 107, Ross Richardson 105 not out, Aadi Sharma 96, Cameron Parsons 50), Hertfordshire 57-2.
Western Division Two
Sandford: Cornwall 168 (Alex Bone 56), Devon 153-3 (Adam Small 54).
Oswestry: Wales NC 137 (Sam Ellis 5-20) & 54-4, Shropshire 140.