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James Ralph appointed Captain

Shropshire have appointed experienced batsman James Ralph as captain for a second time and he will lead the side in their next Unicorns Championship match at home to Oxfordshire early next month.
Ralph, 38, who plays his club cricket for Bridgnorth in the Birmingham League, was previously Shropshire captain for three years from 2007 and brings a wealth of experience to the role.
Wicketkeeper Anthony Parker captained the side in this week’s 260 run defeat against Herefordshire but is now expected to be unavailable for the rest of the season after landing a new job as assistant groundsman at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.
Parker had inherited the skipper’s role from opening batsman Richard Oliver who relinquished the position after recently signing a contract with first class county Worcestershire until the end of next season.
Brian Foxall, Shropshire’s chairman of selectors, said: “There is uncertainly over the future availability of  Anthony Parker owing to his new job so therefore the committee have now decided to go for an experienced head to captain the side for the remainder of the season.
“James is a very good cricketer and has done the job before. He’s also available for all the games so we feel this is the right decision.
“He is happy to take on the role once again and he will be captain for the next game against Oxfordshire between July 6 and 8 at his home club ground of Bridgnorth.”
Ralph, a classy middle order batsman who also bowls leg breaks, began his career at Worcestershire and made his Shropshire debut in 1998.
He has been a regular member of the side since with the exception of the 2010 season which he spent with Herefordshire but he quickly returned to the county.
Shropshire will be seeking a much improved performance against Oxfordshire after opening their Championship campaign with disappointing defeats at the hands of Wales and Herefordshire.
Pictured: Shropshire’s new captain James Ralph.