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Shropshire raring to go for NCCA T20 Cup opener against Oxfordshire

Charlie Home bowling against Norfolk

Charlie Home will lead a squad of 12 to the picturesque Wormsley Cricket Ground this weekend as he begins his second season as Shropshire captain.

Shropshire start their 2024 National Counties Cricket Association campaign with two NCCA Twenty20 Cup matches against Oxfordshire, with Sunday’s opening fixture getting under way at 11am.

“I’m very happy with the team we’ve got out on Sunday,” said Shropshire’s head of cricket Ed Home. “We’re well equipped for all formats this year with the players we have.

“There’s one or two people who will be disappointed they haven’t been picked this time, so that competition all bodes well for Shropshire cricket.

“Everybody’s raring to go. Wormsley has all the facilities of a first-class cricket ground, so I think we’re very lucky that we’re playing there.”

Bad weather severely hit Shropshire’s NCCA T20 Cup campaign last year, with only three of the county’s eight group matches completed.

“T20 cricket is fantastic and it’s box office to watch,” added Home, hoping the weather is much kinder to his side in the competition this season.

“Being a shorter format, the game turns and hinges on two or three moments with players having an explosive period in a game. If that happens for us, you’re more than likely to end up on top.”

Shropshire will give debuts to all-rounders Ollie Currill and Jacques Banton, a former Worcestershire player.

Currill, a hard-hitting middle order batter and seam bowler, used to play for Oxfordshire, so he will be facing his former team mates.

Undoubted talent

Banton, who plays his club cricket for Barnt Green, is a top order batter and left-arm spinner.

Head of cricket Home said: “Jacques was with Worcestershire and he’s looking to force his way back into professional cricket.

“He’s a young man with undoubted talent and if we can both help each other to achieve that goal then it works for everyone.”

A number of Shropshire regulars from last season are included in Sunday’s side, including Shrewsbury opening batter George Hargrave, who has played for Northamptonshire’s second team in the early weeks of the season.

The NCCA Twenty20 Cup has a new format this season, with five groups of four teams competing in the group stages instead of the usual four groups featuring five sides.

The top two teams in each group, along with the two best third-placed sides, will then progress to a newly-created Super 12s stage.

That will be followed by three teams competing at four different venues, with the four leading sides advancing to finals day.

After playing Oxfordshire twice on Sunday, Shropshire will take on Herefordshire at Oswestry on Sunday, May 5, before heading to St Asaph to face Wales the following day.

Shropshire, from: George Hargrave (Shrewsbury), Jacques Banton (Barnt Green), Tom Fell (Wolverhampton), Peter Clark (Shrewsbury), Ollie Currill (Knowle & Dorridge), Ollie Westbury (Himley), Charlie Home (Shifnal, captain), Ben Roberts (Shifnal), Ben Lees (Shifnal), Joe Stanley (Wolverhampton), Sam Ellis (Wolverhampton), Lewis Evans (Shrewsbury).

Pictured: Charlie Home, pictured bowling against Norfolk at Whitchurch last year, starts his second season as Shropshire captain with two NCCA Twenty20 Cup matches against Oxfordshire on Sunday.