Former Shropshire players handed roles in club’s new-look structure ahead of the 2020 season

Shropshire County Cricket Club has introduced new team management and selection committees for the 2020 season.

Former captain James Ralph and top-order batsman Tony Parton join the new selection committee, which also includes the club’s newly-appointed Director of Cricket John Abrahams and player/coach Simon Kerrigan.

Both Parton and Ralph have vast knowledge of Minor Counties cricket, having played more than 200 games between them for the county club. They have also played for several clubs in the county, both in the Shropshire County Cricket League and Birmingham & District Premier Cricket League.

Parton is cricket groundsman at Wrekin College and watches many of the Shropshire Academy games, as well as plenty of club cricket in the county, while Ralph, who is also a newly-appointed County League committee member, currently plays in the league’s top division for Quatt.

A new structure has been introduced by the club after Bryan Jones took the decision to stand down from his role as chairman of selectors and first team manager at the end of the 2019 campaign.

Club secretary Richard Lees said: “We would like to place on record our thanks to Bryan for all his hard work and efforts in recent years occupying these roles.

“We look forward to seeing Bryan around the boundary at future county matches and we are very pleased that he remains involved with the club, particularly with the organisation of this year’s hospitality event.”

He added: “A detailed report was compiled by John Foster, another former county club captain, during the close season. John held several meetings with supporters of Shropshire cricket to discuss options of a way forward and his findings were presented to the committee.

“We have now put a new structure in place which features a wealth of experience and knowledge. We are all looking forward to the new season.”

Former county wicketkeeper/batsman Jason Weaver, who played his club cricket at Newport and Shifnal, also returns to help in a coaching and mentoring capacity.

He has spent the last 13 years working as High Performance Manager and then Academy Director for Kent County Cricket Club based in Canterbury.

Weaver’s role will see him working with the senior squad and also some of the academy players, invited to attend pre-season training sessions, which are currently being held at Shrewsbury School.

The Academy, formerly known as the Development XI, will continue to be led by Ian Roe and Dave Nock, with support from Cricket Shropshire’s performance manager Ed Ashlin, which will enable a clearer pathway to the senior sides.

Roe said: “It is the county club’s intention to work closely and improve our partnership with the cricket board and the many cricket clubs in Shropshire to talent spot players coming through the ranks.

“It is proposed there will be a network of scouts, who have had a huge input into cricket at all levels in recent years as players, coaches and administrators.

“They will not only watch club matches but also independent and state school matches during the summer.

“We hope to watch as many talented players as possible, helping them to achieve their individual goals of playing at the highest level whilst being involved in the county’s cricketing pyramid of representative matches at various age groups, the Emerging Player Programme, the Academy squad and, ultimately, the first team.”

Pictured: Director of cricket John Abrahams, centre, with James Ralph, left, and Tony Parton, who are part of Shropshire County Cricket Club’s new selection committee.