By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle
Upbeat Shrewsbury captain Rob Foster insists successfully defending their Birmingham Cricket League premier division title is the club’s target this season.
Shrewsbury, who have again secured the services of Nottinghamshire and England batsman Jimmy Taylor as the club’s contracted player, open their league season at home to West Bromwich Dartmouth on Saturday.
The London Roaders were runaway champions last year, racking up a record points total, and Foster wants his team to pick up where they left off.
Shrewsbury have signalled their intentions by pulling off excellent victories in the past fortnight over West Bromwich Dartmouth and Knowle & Dorridge in the Graham Williamson Trophy to ensure they should hit the ground running.
Foster said: “We want to win the league again, I’m not too shy to say that, and good sides win titles back-to-back.”Wellington did that probably 10 years ago and we would very much like to do the same.
“We know we will be there to be shot at but a lot of teams will not relish coming to play us.
“I think we got a lot of respect from other teams in the league over how we played last season and went about winning matches so we’re all raring to go again and looking forward to it.”
Shrewsbury will make one change from the side which impressively beat K&D in the Trophy last weekend with Elliot Green replacing fellow spinner Charlie Morris.
Glamorgan Academy player Dewi Jones, a fast bowler, will make his league debut for the club against a West Brom side likely to include former Gloucestershire batsman Kadeer Ali and also potentially current Warwickshire first teamer Ateeq Javid.
Foster added he was delighted that Nottinghamshire star Taylor, the free-scoring former Shrewsbury School pupil, has again agreed to be the club’s contracted player.
Taylor, the one-day captain for the Trent Bridge club, was among the crowd for Shrewsbury’s victory last weekend and is a popular figure at London Road.
Foster said: “When we see Jimmy it’s a bonus and having an England cricketer at the club is always great.
“Hopefully he will get a chance to play for England again this season and he couldn’t have done much more over the winter with the runs he scored for England Lions.
“Jimmy says he will play for us when he gets the chance so hopefully we’ll get him in for a few games.”
Shrewsbury are also in action on Sunday whey they travel to ambitious Penkridge in the first round of the National KO, a competition the county towners have memorably won twice.
Foster added he expects a tricky game against a Penkridge side expected to include former Shropshire all-rounder Attiq Chisti.
SHREWSBURY (v West Bromwich Dartmouth): S Leach, E Foster, E Barnard, J Leach, T Cox, R Foster (captain), A Parker, S Barnard, S Griffiths, E Green, D Jones.