Shropshire all-rounder Jono Whitney readily admits representing the county at his home ground gives him extra incentive to shine as the county prepare to launch their three-day campaign against Cheshire.
Disappointed not to have qualified from the group stages in the MCCA Knockout Trophy, Shropshire have an added reason for wanting to impress in the Western Division of the Minor Counties Championship.
Whitney, a regular in the Shropshire side since his debut in 2003, has stressed the importance of a flying start against Cheshire at Bridgnorth's Cricket Meadow in a match to be played between June 10-12.
And he's excited at the prospect of having the backing of plenty of local support at his home town ground where he has produced some of his best performances for Shropshire.
Whitney said: “I would say it is always just a little bit more special playing for Shropshire at Bridgnorth. It's always a proud moment but I always feel a little extra pressure because I don't want to let anybody down that comes to watch.
“Unfortunately, my parents are living in Spain so won't be there to watch, but my girlfriend Yvonne and lots of friends should be so hopefully we can put on a show for them.
“I have some very good memories of playing for Shropshire at Cricket Meadow. My two three-day centuries have both been scored there.
“I scored 164 against Devon in a losing cause but my fondest memory would be my first Minor Counties hundred against Herefordshire as we went on to win that game.”
Whitney admitted it had been a disappointing season so far for Shropshire with their hopes of making progress in the MCCA KO Trophy not helped by the weather. But he and his team mates are now keen to make amends as they look forward to facing Cheshire.
“It's been a frustrating season so far but what's done is done and we have to now focus on the three dayers which is where we have fallen short in recent seasons,” said Whitney.
“If we can have everybody fit and available for these three-day games then I see no reason why we cannot contend for the western division title.
“As for me personally, I have never been much of a goal setter, but I would like to play well enough in each game to get selected for the next one as I thoroughly enjoy representing Shropshire and spending time with a great bunch of lads.”
Shropshire captain Ed Foster, in his third season at the helm, added: “Cheshire will prove to be a tough start. We've had some good games against them in recent seasons and it's nice to be playing them at the beginning of the three day campaign. They have some decent players and we'll have to be at our best to get a result.
"Bridgnorth is always a great place to play, it's a good playing surface that suits our style of play and we're always well supported so the players enjoy playing there."
Play on each of the three days at Bridgnorth, beginning on Sunday, June 10 starts at 11am and admission is free.
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