Skipper Oliver targets a fairytale end to Shropshire's season

Richard Oliver has high hopes he can end his first season as Shropshire captain on a positive note by lifting the MCCA Trophy next week.

The popular opening batsman has enjoyed a successful first season at the helm with the county losing just one of their 12 games in all competitions.

Oliver admits he was frustrated Shropshire, having opened their Minor Counties Championship campaign with four successive wins, ultimately had to settle for third place in the Western Division.

But that has only served to make Shropshire even more determined to beat Berkshire in the MCCA Trophy final at Wormsley's picturesque Sir John Paul Getty ground next Wednesday.

“We are all very excited to be part of it,” said Oliver. “Let's just hope it's the fairytale ending we want it to be.

“It would be lovely to honour and reward the hard work of so many people who do so much hard work behind the scenes for Shropshire, people like coach Kevin Sharp, chairman Toby Shaw and chairman of selectors Brian Foxall.

“I would love to be able to lift the trophy. That would be massive. I'm enjoying being captain and you live this job 24 hours a day seven days a week.

“If we do what we're good at in the final then we will certainly have a chance.”

Incentive

Oliver had the frustration of being left out of the side when Shropshire beat Lincolnshire in the 2010 MCCA Trophy at Chester-le-Street.

But victory next Wednesday, he admits, would go a long way towards making up for any lingering disappointment.

Shropshire have an added incentive to beat Berkshire given they are the only team to have inflicted defeat on the county this season.  

Shropshire have named a 13-man squad for the final and are hopeful that seamer Ben Sanderson and spinner Elliot Green, who both missed this week's last Championship match against Cheshire, will be fit to play.

“We have some fitness concerns and as a result we will be taking a squad of 13,” said Brian Foxall, Shropshire's chairman of selectors. “Whichever 11 take the field, we are confident they will not let us down.

“We are talented enough to win and the players certainly deserve to finish a terrific season with a trophy.

“Oswestry's Jon Miles is not fit enough to be included but we expect Ben Sanderson to play and are hopeful that Elliot Green will come through fitness tests this weekend to also be able to take his place.”

Shropshire, from: Richard Oliver, captain (Shifnal), Omar Ali (Whitchurch), Mike Barnard (Shrewsbury), Dan Bowen (Whitchurch), Tom Cox, Ed Foster, Rob Foster, Elliot Green (all Shrewsbury), Chris Murtagh (Reigate Priory), Anthony Parker (Shrewsbury), James Ralph (Bridgnorth), Ben Sanderson (Rotherham Town), Jono Whitney (Bridgnorth).

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