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Julian Cooke set to make his Shropshire debut in Crosfield Cup

Shrewsbury’s Julian Cooke will make his county debut tomorrow as Shropshire bid for another shot at Crosfield Cup glory.


The Meole Brace bowler gets the nod for the semi-final showdown against Lancashire in the British senior county championship with 12-a-side legs at Sinclair in Telford and Garswood Hall (both 2pm starts).

Cooke, so consistent in the Premier League in recent seasons, will play at No. 7 away at the Wigan venue as Shropshire aim to win a place in next month’s final and a crack at either Warwick & Worcester or Yorkshire

But Cooke’s joy is matched by the despair of 25-year-old Sir John Bayley star David Lloyd.

He won the County Merit in superb style at Sinclair in June and had a stunning run to the semi-finals of the British Senior Merit in Barrow just last weekend on his first appearance in the competition.

Sadly, he is unavailable tomorrow and so misses the chance to prove his prowess again on the Ketley green against a Lancashire side that the Salopians will be favourites to beat.

For it is 25 years since the Lancastrians last appeared in a Crosfield Cup final and Shropshire have had the upper hand in matches against them in recent years.

But with the likes of Wayne Ditchfield, Kevan Shaw, Damian Morrison and Billy Speed in their ranks, nothing can be taken for granted – although with Lloyd missing it means a return for Castlefields big gun Michael Beer after he was unavailable last month.

Shropshire selectors Mick Jones, Keith Walton, Andy Smith and Phil King have been impressed with the green and set up at Sinclair this year and so have opted for a venue that was last used for a county senior match in 2015 that resulted in a 60 chalk victory over the Isle of Man.

That kind of home winning margin tomorrow would surely seal a return to the final and the chance of only a third ever Crosfield Cup success, which was last tasted in 2009.

County stars Callum Wraight and Rich Goddard will prepare for battle by playing today in the £4,100 Carlsberg Invitation 32 at Skerton Liberal Club in Lancaster.

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