Shropshire welcome Lancashire to Whitchurch

Director of cricket John Abrahams is looking forward to welcoming a Lancashire XI to Whitchurch tomorrow as preparations continue for Shropshire’s new season.

Abrahams enjoyed a successful playing career for Lancashire between 1973 and 1988, which included two seasons as captain, writes Stuart Dunn.

This weekend’s match against the Red Rose county is the first of four 50-over friendlies on successive Sundays for Shropshire. Fixtures against a Worcestershire XI at Bridgnorth, Staffordshire at Whitchurch and Herefordshire at Wellington will follow during May.

The games have been arranged to help Shropshire get ready for the start of their NCCA Trophy campaign against Northumberland at Oswestry on May 30.

Abrahams said: “I spoke about potential opposition with our chairman John Hulme and secretary Richard Lees, so when an opportunity arose it made sense to ask Lancashire and it worked out that they were available on the date that we were looking for opposition.

“There’s also the connection with Karl Krikken, having been a former Shropshire coach, who is now coach of Lancashire’s 2nd XI. We’ve been very fortunate with the fixtures we have coming up. Richard and John have worked really hard.

“It’s not just about finding opposition as it’s also about finding venues within the county that would welcome us.”

Graham Wagg will captain Shropshire after making his first appearance for the county in the season’s opening friendly against Staffordshire at Himley earlier this month.

A number of players unavailable for that game return on Sunday, with Shrewsbury duo Will Parton and Tyler Ibbotson, Bridgnorth’s Ben Lees, all-rounder Ross Aucott and Worcestershire Academy seamer Ben Parker, the former Worfield player, all coming into the 12 selected for the match.

Abrahams added: “It gives us another opportunity to see them in a performance context.”

Abrahams knows a talented young Lancashire XI will provide Shropshire with an excellent test.

He said: “The Lancashire team will be mainly senior academy players along with one or two players who have been involved with their academy for a little while and have not got a contract but are still on their radar.

“It’s also exciting for me, with my other hat on as an England under-19 selector, as three of the Lancashire 12 are being observed from an England under-19 point of view.”

Both Shropshire and Lancashire are selecting 12 players for Sunday’s game (11.30am start), with a nominated non-batsman, while both sides will be able to rotate players in the field.

In compliance with Government guidelines and Step 2 of the ECB’s roadmap, no spectators are allowed on Sunday except club members and patrons attending the ground for hospitality, subject to the rule of six or two households. The designated and seated hospitality area will be clearly signed. Access to all other parts of the ground is not permitted, apart from the parking of vehicles.

Team: Will Parton (Shrewsbury), Ryan Lockley (Oswestry), Charlie Home (Wolverhampton), Simon Gregory (Bridgnorth), Ross Aucott (New Farnley), Graham Wagg (Biddestone, captain), Ben Lees (Bridgnorth), Tyler Ibbotson (Shrewsbury), Matty Simmonds (Bridgnorth), Sam Whitney (Bridgnorth), Ben Roberts (Oswestry), Ben Parker (Kidderminster).

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