BERKSHIRE have made a stuttering start to their defence of the MCCA Twenty20 competition with two wins and two defeats in their Bank Holiday weekend double-headers with Shropshire at Whitchurch and Buckinghamshire at Wargrave.

On Sunday, they lost their opening game by 11 runs.

Shropshire were bowled out for 163 with Luke Beaven (3.2-0-24-3) taking the last three wickets with successive deliveries, two of his victims being smartly stumped by Jack Davies off wide balls.

Davies went on to make 52 off 39 balls, while James Morris hit 46 and Joe Thomas 32 not out, but Berkshire's reply fell just short at 152-7.

The second game was equally as close, but this time it was Berkshire who secured victory by 12 runs.

They posted 164-9, thanks largely to Richard Morris, who hit 50 off 31 balls, and Davies with 41 from 27 deliveries on a pitch which favoured the slow bowlers.

The hosts reached 100-2 in the 14th over with Alex Phillips making 42 and Alexei Kervezee 40, but Euan Woods turned the game Berkshire's way with excellent figures of 4-0-23-4 and Shropshire were restricted to 152-9.

On Monday, the opening encounter saw the national champions beat Bucks by seven runs.

Put in to bat, Berkshire made 131-8 with Morris making a run-a-ball 46, skipper James Morris 29 and Euan Brock 22.

Brock, who last played for the county four years ago, received a late call-up due to the fact Berkshire were missing several players. Dan Lincoln and Jack Davies were playing for Middlesex 2nds against Surrey 2nds at Radlett, while Andy Rishton, Tom Scriven and Archie Carter were all ruled out by injury.

Bucks fell just short at 124-6 (Garry Park 42) with Brandon Gilmour taking 3-25 and Euan Woods 2-25.

However, the visitors gained swift revenge by winning the second match by four runs.

Bucks, electing to bat first, were restricted to 127-8 (Park 37, Conrad Louth 31) with Woods claiming 3-17, Beaven 2-26 and Rhodri Lewis 2-27.

Woods opened the innings with Chris Peploe (23) and they put on 44 for the first wicket.

Richard Morris (25) was next to go with the total on 82, however, the batsmen found it hard to push the score along and Berks slipped behind the run rate. Woods was bowled for 44 with the score on 114 and despite a brisk knock of 17 by Brock, Berks finished on 123-6.

Berkshire's next Twenty20 game is against Herefordshire at Falkland CC on June 16, but before that, they play Dorset in the Trophy at Oratory School on June 2.

BERKSHIRE Women got off to a flying start in the Royal London Cup last weekend, winning both their games played at North Maidenhead.

On Sunday, they bowled out Essex for exactly 100, but the visitors only managed that total due to the fact the extras column contributed 47 runs, which included 36 wides. Not one batter got into double figures. Pick of the bowlers was Lauren Bell with 3-21 off 8.5 overs, while Anya Shrubsole took 2-9 from five overs.

England Test star Shrubsole, making her debut, went on to score 22 in Berkshire's reply of 101-5, Amanda Potgieter making 35 not out and Lissy MacLeod 30.

Heather Knight, the England captain, made her first appearance of the season on Monday and starred in a one-sided game against Worcestershire, Berkshire cruising home by 219 runs.

She made 131 off 121 balls, hitting a six and 12 fours and shared a third-wicket stand of 229 with team captain MacLeod, who fell just five runs short of also getting a century, her 95 coming off 116 balls.

Shrubsole smashed 20 off just seven balls as Berks posted a formidable total of 296-4 from their 50 overs.

She then claimed 3-8 in seven overs as Worcestershire were shot out for a mere 77 runs in less than 29 overs.

Phoebe Graham took 3-14, Bell 2-15, Ashleigh Muttitt 1-15 and Knight 1-18.

Only two visiting batters managed to reach double figures, Chloe Hill (28) and Clare Boycott (11), while there were 21 extras.

Berkshire will be looking to make it three home wins out of three when they take on Somerset at North Maidenhead on Sunday (11am).