Chairman of selectors Bryan Jones wants Shropshire’s cricketers to respond positively as they target a first Unicorns Championship victory of the season.
Beaten by 273 runs in their last match at Oxfordshire last week, Jones has stressed the importance of Shropshire producing a much improved performance as they get ready to host Cornwall.
The three-day match starts at Bridgnorth on Sunday (11am), with Shropshire currently ninth in the Western Division table, 13 points behind fourth-placed Cornwall.
Shropshire opened the Championship season with a rain-hit draw against Dorset at Shrewsbury, their first match under new captain Joe Carrasco, ahead of losing heavily at Banbury.
Jones said: “After a heavy defeat, it’s all about bouncing back and how we recover from what happened at Oxfordshire and respond to it.
“We will have Warrick Fynn back after being unavailable, but we’re not going to change the side that much, so I hope we can react and put a strong performance in.
“I’m looking for a reaction, how we respond with bat and ball, learning from the last game, and seeing if we can put a good, consistent performance together.
“We need to get behind Joe as it’s not been an easy start as new captain. It’s very important that we give him plenty of support. He’s been batting brilliantly and we need to show a bit of grit for him.”
The Cornwall match is the first of back-to-back home games for Shropshire as Berkshire, the leaders, will visit Shifnal early next month.
Keen to see Shropshire start to move in the right direction in the Western Division, Jones added: “You can look at the table as much as you like, but we need to get a win, it’s as simple that, to feel better, and also to make some progress up the league.
“Cornwall are historically always pretty competitive. They will be a good side coming up to Bridgnorth. They’ve played there in the past and I think they enjoy playing at Bridgnorth. It will be a good challenge for us.”
Shropshire always look forward to playing at Bridgnorth, with Jones grateful for the support the county receive at Cricket Meadow.
“We always enjoy going to Bridgnorth,” he said. “They always look after us very well.
“We’ve had some good results there and they are generally competitive games. Hopefully the weather will be kind and we’ll be set for a spectacular three days.”
Oswestry batsman Xavie Clarke will become the latest member of his family to play for Shropshire after being named in the side to face Cornwall.
The Worcestershire Academy player will make his county debut as he follows in the footsteps of his brothers Robbie and Joe, the Nottinghamshire batsman, in representing Shropshire.
Clarke, who has played for Worcestershire’s second team, scored 50 for Oswestry against Bridgnorth in the Birmingham League last weekend, lining up alongside Shropshire captain Carrasco and Ben Roberts, who is also in the county side to take on Cornwall.
Allrounder Fynn, another Oswestry player, returns to the Shropshire team this weekend after missing the defeat against Oxfordshire.
Clarke and Fynn replace unavailable duo Sam Whitney and Ryan Lockley, with Alex Phillips to take over wicketkeeping duties from Lockley against Cornwall.
Jones added. “It’s good to have Warrick back in the side and Xavie comes in to make his debut. He’s part of Worcestershire’s Academy and rated highly by both Joe and Warrick, who have seen a lot of him at Oswestry.”
The first ball will be bowled at Bridgnorth at 11am on Sunday, with admission free for spectators on all three days.
Shropshire: Joe Carrasco (captain), Will Parton, Alex Phillips, Warrick Fynn, Alexei Kervezee, Xavie Clarke, Ross Aucott, Jack Edwards, Jack Twigger, Sam Ellis, Ben Roberts.