Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Centurion Clarke And Barnard Allowed To Play For Shropshire

Worcestershire duo Ed Barnard and Joe Clarke have been allowed to return and play for Shropshire during the early part of the 2015 season.

And Clarke showed his batting power by making 107 in the Unicorns Knockout Trophy clash with Northumberland at Oswestry.

The Shrewsbury born duo have been made available when their Worcestershire commitments allow.

Clarke found his form against Northumberland after registering ducks against Cheshire at Nantwich and Cumberland at Shrewsbury.

He struck five sixes and 12 fours in his 100 ball innings batting at number three but Shropshire went down by six runs after chasing a total of 283-6 in 44 overs.

Barnard played against Cumberland, scoring nought and returning 1-53 with the ball, and making 17 against Cheshire.

He was unable to face Northumberland as he was part of the Worcestershire senior squad for the LV = County Championship clash with Somerset and did 12th man duties on the opening day at New Road.

Worcestershire second eleven and former Shropshire coach Kevin Sharp said: "They are playing as part of their development. Absolutely. Worcestershire and Shropshire have got a close relationship.

"I'm made up with the fact we've got such a close relationship with Shropshire. I spent eight years of my life there and two years ago I coached the Minor Counties team.

"There are lads at Worcestershire like Jack Shantry, Joe Leach, Ed Barnard,Richard Oliver and Joe Clarke, all lads that have come through the Shropshire set up, the majority of them Shropshire lads themselves.

"It is all healthy stuff. It is a good standard of cricket, Minor Counties, and while matches are there for these lads to play for Shropshire, it works."

Sharp, who is also Worcestershire's batting coach, added: "Karl Krikken (former Derbyshire player) is coach there and Steve Rhodes, Matt Mason and I all know Krik very well.

"We are constantly in communication and long may that continue."