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It’s semi-final time for Shropshire as they prepare to face Cheshire at Bridgnorth


Shropshire want to make the most of home advantage as they chase a place in the final of the one-day competition for Minor Counties clubs for the first time in five years.

Shropshire, beaten by Berkshire in the 2013 final, take on Cheshire in an eagerly-awaited Unicorns Trophy semi-final at Bridgnorth on Sunday.

The victors will progress to face the winners of the other last four clash between Devon and Suffolk in the final to be played at the picturesque Wormsley ground in August.

Shropshire beat Herefordshire at Whitchurch in round one and have followed it up with impressive away wins at Staffordshire and then Norfolk to reach the semi-finals.

Bryan Jones, Shropshire’s chairman of selectors, said: “We’re delighted to have a home tie and I think we deserve it after travelling away in the last two rounds, particularly all the way to Norfolk in the quarter finals.

“Bridgnorth is another great place to play for Shropshire cricket and we’ve had some fantastic games there in the past.

“Hopefully we will get plenty of support and there will be a lot of interest in the county. We just want to go out and put on a good display for everybody.”

Jones has been pleased with Shropshire’s form in the 50-over competition this season as they have held their nerve to come out on top in three close ties to book their place in the last four.

“It’s brilliant for the players to be involved with a semi-final,” he said. “They’ve done tremendously well in the competition.

“The fact that we didn’t get to Norfolk until 1.45am on the morning of the game in the last round and then put in a performance like we did shows what sort of spirit is in the team and how well they’re playing.

“The players fully deserve to be involved in a semi-final and it’s a great opportunity for everybody.

“We haven’t played well enough in one-day cricket over the last three or four years, but we have this season and it just shows what it’s possible to achieve with a bit of confidence and momentum.

“I feel that we can now beat anybody in the competition on the basis that we’ve already beaten three good teams, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t go into this game full of confidence.”

Jones, pictured, also highlighted the tactical awareness of skipper Steve Leach, which has helped Shropshire claim some notable scalps in progressing to the semi-finals.

He added: “We’ve had set plans in the games that we’ve played. The captain’s had good plans that we’ve kept to and they’ve put us in good positions.

“We’re trying to play positive cricket and to take the game forward all the time – and I think that’s paid dividends for us.

“The good thing about this particular cup run is that the whole team’s contributed at some stage throughout the three games.

“Be it with the bat, the ball or in the field, everyone’s made a contribution, so it’s been a terrific team effort.

“Hopefully we can now put a great performance in at Bridgnorth and go through.”

Sunday’s semi-final starts at 11am and admission is free for spectators.

Bridgnorth CC have arranged an outside bar, a barbecue and ice cream stand. Car parking is restricted at the ground, so spectators are asked to use the nearby Smithfield Car Park.