Ollie Westbury insists Shropshire will take confidence from winning their last two matches into Sunday’s NCCA Trophy qualification decider against Cheshire.
Shropshire have responded impressively to defeat in their opening Group Three match at Suffolk last month by since beating Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
The winners of Sunday’s match at Toft Cricket Club (11am) – both Shropshire and Cheshire currently have four points – will join Suffolk in securing a top two spot and progressing to the quarter-finals of the 50-over competition.
Top order batter Westbury, who shared a century partnership with his former Worcestershire team mate Tom Fell against Cambridgeshire, said: “I think we’ve played some really good cricket over the last few weeks. I know we did lose to Suffolk but I still think we played some good cricket that day.
“We’ve been very consistent with the ball and we’ve been led by Felly with the bat. It was a pleasure to watch his innings from the other end last Sunday.
“He’s so elegant when he plays so well and he’s lovely to watch. It was an extremely well timed innings that was match defining for us as a team.
“That’s two big contributions he’s made in the last two weeks and, fingers crossed, a couple of other batters can chip in and we can go toe to toe with Cheshire.
“We’re full of confidence and the fact the team is quite consistent and it’s not changing around too much, it means lads are doing similar roles each week. I think that consistency can really help teams.
“It’s something that we’re pleased about and we will take that into this weekend with our confidence quite high as we look to get another good result against Cheshire who are normally a really strong outfit.”
As he looks forward to Sunday’s match, Westbury, who captains Himley in the Birmingham League, says he is enjoying playing regularly for Shropshire having returned to the county squad at the start of this season.
Westbury previously represented Shropshire during his Worcestershire days while he also used to play his club cricket in the county for Shrewsbury.
He said: “I didn’t play for Shropshire on a consistent basis when I was at Worcester as it depended on my availability and playing second team cricket.
“I would pop in and play as and when I could, but to be able to now play week in and week out is nice.
“I played for Cornwall a few years ago, but the travelling was a lot, so I like the fact that playing for Shropshire is local.
“I like the lads and I’ve got a lot of time for Ed Home and Charlie Home, who are leading it, and I like where they want to take the team.
“We all get on well and it’s nice when you’re winning games of cricket.”
Westbury, who hit 196 on his England under-19 debut against Sri Lanka in 2016, added: “A lot of the lads knew each other pretty well already. I played at Worcester with Tom Fell and went to school with Charlie Home.
“A lot of the also lads know each other from playing in the Birmingham League and it all helps.
“There’s rarely too many changes to the side. There might be one or two, but it’s a settled team. The batting order’s not changed too much – it’s been fairly consistent.
“I think that helps the camaraderie of the team, while the bowlers also know their roles and that’s really important.”
Shropshire will select from 12 against Cheshire, with promising Shifnal all-rounder Jack Home, unavailable last weekend, added to the team which faced Cambridgeshire at St George’s.
Shropshire, from: George Hargrave (Shrewsbury), Theo Wylie (Shifnal), Tom Fell (Wolverhampton), Ollie Westbury (Himley), Andre Bradford (Swarkestone), Jack Home (Shifnal), Charlie Home (Shifnal), Andy Sutton (Barnt Green), Matt Simmonds (Bridgnorth), Ben Lees (Shifnal), Sam Ellis (Wolverhampton), Ben Roberts (Shifnal).
Pictured: Ollie Westbury enjoyed batting with his former Worcestershire team mate Tom Fell as they put on 101 for the third wicket in Shropshire’s victory over Cambridgeshire last weekend.