Leach set to return for K&D clash

By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle

WORCESTERSHIRE all-rounder Joe Leach is set to hand Shrewsbury a timely boost by declaring himself available for Saturday’s Birmingham League clash at home to Knowle & Dorridge.

Leach has cemented a regular place in the New Road club’s County Championship side in recent matches which has meant his Shrewsbury appearances have been limited since the early weeks of the season.

Now skipper Rob Foster hopes the talented 23-year-old, who bats in the top four for Shrewsbury as well as opening the bowling, will return to London Road for the visit of fourth-placed K&D.

Shrewsbury will start the game in the premier division’s bottom three having lost four of their eight league matches this season.

“It’s always great to have Joe in the side,” said Foster. “It will be a huge boost to have him available as he bats and bowls. It would be like having two players coming back into the side.

“Worcestershire have no game this weekend and Joe’s always keen to come and play for us when he has the chance.”

Paceman Mike Barnard is also pushing for a place after taking four cheap wickets on his senior bow this season in last Sunday’s comfortable win over Oswestry in the ECB National Twenty20 KO.

But offspinning all-rounder Alex Blofield is unavailable which leaves Shrewsbury still considering their selection options as the reigning champions chase a win to get them moving back in the right direction.

“We know Knowle & Dorridge are playing well at the moment and they’ve got some good players,” added Foster. “They’ve got a good overseas player in batsman Michael Hill, a Big Bash star back home in Australia for Victoria.

“Derbyshire’s Richard Johnson is likely to play for them and Alex Phillips was up there with Ed (Foster) and Steve Leach as the top run scorers in the division last season.

“It will be a tough game but we just need to put a few results together to move us up the table.”

Shrewsbury also have a home game on Sunday when they welcome Kidderminster in the semi-finals of the Graham Williamson Trophy.

Shrewsbury (v Knowle & Dorridge), from: E Foster, S Leach, T Cox, P Butler, R Foster, A Parker, S Barnard, D Jones, S Griffiths, E Green, J Leach, M Barnard.