Shropshire face a busy bank holiday weekend of T20 cricket as they hope to get their National Counties Cricket Association season under way.
The wet weather meant both of Shropshire’s opening games of the season against Cheshire at Shifnal Cricket Club were abandoned last weekend.
But the county are now preparing to play two T20 matches against Staffordshire at Leek Cricket Club on Sunday, which will be quickly followed by two more T20 contests against Cumbria at Wem Cricket Club on Monday.
The first games on both days start at 11am, with a second fixture to be played at around 2.30pm.
Ed Home, Shropshire’s head of cricket, said: “It’s always a big occasion to play Staffordshire, one of our neighbours, and over the years the two teams have shared in a lot of great games.
“We’re looking forward to going to Leek with our new-look side.
“I’ve got lots of happy memories of playing cricket at Wem, a great club, and every time Shropshire go there we are always very well catered for. The facilities and ground are always excellent.
“We’re happy with the side we have for both games and, while we know that both Staffordshire and Cumbria are good teams, we are looking forward to playing positively.”
Seamers Sam Ellis and Harry Darley come into a squad of 12 to face Staffordshire, with Mitchell Stanley and Shaun Lorimer, who were both selected against Cheshire, unavailable.
But Worcestershire seamer Stanley is available to play in Monday’s match against Cumbria, with top order batter Andre Bradford and seamer Andy Sutton also coming into the 12. They will replace Middleton, Ellis and Darley from the Staffordshire game.
Home added: “Harry plays for Shrewsbury and is on the Worcestershire Academy. He’s played for Worcestershire’s 2nd XI this season.
“Sam’s been playing university cricket for Leeds/Bradford in the early part of the season and most notably took five wickets in the match against Yorkshire at Headingley last month.”
On the inclusion of Bradford, Shropshire’s top run scorer in the T20 competition last year, for the first time this season against Cumbria, Home added: “Andre is keen to play, so it’s great to have him in the side for the Cumbria game.”
Home added coach Ed Ashlin will be working with the Shropshire squad to help the players prepare.
He said: “From a support point of view, in the absence of our regular coaching team, I am delighted that Shropshire Cricket Board’s Ed Ashlin, who is one of the county’s leading senior coaches, will be taking over responsibilities for these fixtures.”
Admission is free for spectators attending the Cumbria match at Wem. The club’s main car park is for players and officials only, with parking for spectators available via Church Lane (SY4 5HS).
Shropshire v Staffordshire
Charlie Home (Shifnal, captain), George Hargrave (Shrewsbury), James Middleton (Knowle & Dorridge), Tom Fell (Wolverhampton), Ollie Westbury (Himley), Jack Home (Shifnal), Lewis Evans (Shrewsbury), Ben Lees (Shifnal), Dan Lloyd (Wellington), Sam Ellis (Wolverhampton), Ben Roberts (Shifnal), Harry Darley (Shrewsbury).
Shropshire v Cumbria
Charlie Home (Shifnal, captain), George Hargrave (Shrewsbury), Andre Bradford (Swarkestone), Tom Fell (Wolverhampton), Ollie Westbury (Himley), Jack Home (Shifnal), Lewis Evans (Shrewsbury), Ben Lees (Shifnal), Dan Lloyd (Wellington), Andy Sutton (Barnt Green), Ben Roberts (Shifnal), Mitchell Stanley (Shifnal).