Director of Cricket John Abrahams wants Shropshire to keep improving ahead of Sunday’s 50-over friendly against Herefordshire at Ellesmere College (11am).
Abrahams has been pleased with Shropshire’s performance level in their last two warm-up fixtures against a Lancashire CCC XI and a Worcestershire CCC XI.
Now he’s looking for more of the same as Shropshire finalise preparations for their opening group game in this season’s NCCA Trophy against Northumberland at Oswestry on May 30.
Abrahams said: “Our first friendly this season against Staffordshire at Himley was disappointing because we repeated the same mistakes from the previous season, but since then there’s been a real gradual improvement, both in performance and in the figures that we’re producing, so we are moving in the right direction.”
“The players are really buying in to what we’re looking to do and how we’re looking to do it, which is encouraging, so we’re looking forward to Sunday.”
Shrewsbury players are unavailable for Shropshire this weekend as the London Road club has a rescheduled National Club Championship match against Wolverhampton, which also rules Charlie Home out of the county’s plans for Sunday.
Wellington all-rounder Dan Lloyd and Sentinel all-rounder James Shaw are both added to the squad selected for Shropshire’s last match.
Abrahams added: “Not everybody’s available due to some knockout cup games and there are one or two others who are also unavailable unfortunately.
“But it gives an opportunity for others to stick their hand up, to perform and make selection very interesting for the first Trophy game.
“Dan Lloyd was one of the players that did well in the Staffordshire game and now he has an opportunity to be included again.
“James Shaw has been observed and monitored during his club games, so this gives us the chance to select him and see him playing at effectively the next level.”
Both Shropshire and Herefordshire have selected 12 players, with a nominated non-batsman, while both sides will be able to rotate players in the field.
Sunday’s friendly, which has been moved from Wellington to Ellesmere College, will be the first time Shropshire has played a first-team match at the north Shropshire school since 1994, a Championship match against Wiltshire, which featured an unbeaten first innings century from John Foster.
The fixture has been moved from Wellington owing to circumstances beyond their control with pitch preparations having been severely hampered given the current adverse weather and high level of rainfall.
It’s a problem a number of local clubs are currently experiencing with very little club cricket played around the county over the last two weekends.
“It’s understandable but disappointing why we can’t play at Wellington,” said Abrahams. “Having played there in the past and been really welcomed by the people at Wellington Cricket Club, I was looking forward to going there, so hopefully we can go there again for a county match in the near future.
“I’ve not been to Ellesmere College before, so it will be a brand new venue for me, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Spectators are allowed to attend Sunday’s match and must adhere to the current ECB and government guidelines.
Shropshire team: Ryan Lockley (Oswestry), Harry Chandler (Wem), Dan Lloyd (Wellington), Xavier Clarke (Shifnal), Ross Aucott (New Farnley), Graham Wagg (Biddestone, captain), David Laird (Oswestry), Sam Ellis (Formby), James Shaw (Sentinel), Matty Simmonds (Bridgnorth), Sam Whitney (Bridgnorth), Ben Roberts (Oswestry).
Pictured: Ellesmere College will host Shropshire against Herefordshire on Sunday.