Shropshire include new signings in opening T20 squad of the season against Cheshire

Shropshire have named a squad of 12 for their National Counties Cricket Association Twenty20 opener against Cheshire at Oxton CC on Sunday.

The day’s first match will start at 11am, with game two of the double header following at 2.30pm.

Shropshire also face group matches in the competition against Staffordshire, Cumbria and Northumberland, with the four group winners progressing to next month’s T20 Finals Day.

Shropshire have strengthened their batting options by signing openers Michael Robinson, who has recently joined Whitchurch, and Andre Bradford after they impressed in pre-season nets.

Madeley seamer Martin Boyle – who played for the county in a T20 friendly against the RAF representative team last August – is also included in Sunday’s squad.

Sam Whitney, Shropshire’s T20 vice-captain to skipper Graham Wagg, said: “It’s been quite a long winter and it will just be good to get out on the pitch.

“There’s some new guys in the team and it will be good to see what we can do.

“There hasn’t been any Twenty20 cricket for National Counties clubs for the last two seasons.

“It gives us a chance to have a look at a few players and, on any team’s day, I think anyone can win in Twenty20, so that’s the beauty of it. Someone can just come out of nowhere and it can click.

“Cheshire are well known for being quite a strong side, but anything can happen on the day.”

Robinson, 28, has joined Whitchurch after previously playing for Oulton Park in the Cheshire Premier League.

Bradford, 21, who plays for Swarkestone in the Derbyshire Premier League, was born in South Africa where he played provincial cricket at youth level. He is a UK citizen who has trialled with other National Counties over the winter.

Whitney said: “I’ve seen Michael bat during training and as he’s been playing in the Cheshire League, he will know a lot of the Cheshire guys playing this weekend.

“He seems to go quite hard at the ball. I think he’s going to give us that bit of impetus at the start of the innings which I think we need.

“Andre likes to work the ball around, so I think it will be a good mix for an opening pair.”

Boyle, a consistent wicket-taker for Madeley in the Shropshire County Cricket League, has impressed Whitney.

“Martin is a tall, strong lad and I like the way he goes about his cricket,” he said. “He hits the pitch hard and gives us something a little bit different.

“We’ve also got Ben Roberts, who’s a big guy as well who gets that extra bounce.

“Martin has been talked about for quite a while and he deserves his chance.

“It’s about taking that opportunity for everyone. If they do well they’ll play the next game and it will put them in good stead for the 50 over competition later in the season.”

Shropshire captain Wagg, the former Glamorgan all-rounder, is now also playing his club cricket in the county after signing for Wem.

Shropshire, from: Michael Robinson (Whitchurch), Andre Bradford (Swarkestone), Graham Wagg (Wem, captain), Ben Lees (Bridgnorth), Ryan Lockley (Bridgnorth), Sam Ellis (Formby), David Laird (Bridgnorth), Tyler Ibbotson (Shrewsbury), Sam Whitney (Bridgnorth), Ben Roberts (Bridgnorth), Matty Simmonds (Bridgnorth), Martin Boyle (Madeley).

Pictured: New signing Andre Bradford is included in the Shropshire squad for Sunday’s opening T20 matches of the season against Cheshire.