‘Spring chicken’ Wilshaw loving life in new Staffs regime

Staffordshire County Cricket Club batsman Peter Wilshaw.

Peter Wilshaw says he feels like a spring chicken as he looks to add a white-ball trophy to his Staffordshire CV.

Wilshaw, a veteran entertainer in the Staffs batting ranks, has a NCCA Championship title and two Eastern Division crowns under his belt.

But negotiating the final step in the limited-overs format has proved to be elusive for the 35-year-old Meakins star.

Wilshaw was part of the side which lost 50-over finals to Norfolk and Herefordshire in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

However, he has another chance to break that particular duck on Sunday. Staffordshire head to Tring Park to contest NCCA Twenty20 Cup finals day.

It’s the first time Staffs have reached this stage of the competition – and they face Berkshire in the first semi-final (10am). Cornwall play Hertfordshire in the second semi-final.

‘Chance to impress’

Wilshaw previously captained the county in the three-day format, but has now returned to the ranks. He sees this weekend’s showpiece as the ideal chance to secure more success in the twilight of his career.

“With how the NCCA and the age limits, with me being an ‘experienced campaigner’ you’ve got to be aware that time doesn’t stand still and everything moves on,” said Wilshaw.

“I think last year (as red-ball captain), I focused massively on people’s opinions outside of the group. People who didn’t have my best interests at heart.

“I’m focusing on his weekend and we’ll see how we go. I’m loving the season, I feel 21 again, so who knows how long I can go on for?

“It would be nice to get a white-ball trophy to add to my CV which I think is already pretty solid.

“Hopefully it’s going to be third time lucky for me.”

‘Winter work reaping rewards’

The chance for Wilshaw to potentially secure the T20 crown has been shaped by the arrival into the set-up of new head coach Andy Carr and skipper James Kettleborough.

Their tireless work has ensured the players have been given the necessary tools to show off their talents out in the middle.

“In the past the focus in T20 cricket has sometimes been to look at players for the rest of the season. That hasn’t been the case this year,” added Wilshaw.

“We’ve put out our strongest teams and that’s why we’ve been able to get to finals day.

Meticulous approach is paying off for Staffordshire head coach Andy Carr

“Ketts and Andy have brought a real clarity for every player and everyone in the squad knows where they stand with them.

“We’ve had a clear winter programme, working on both red ball and white ball skills. Their expectations have been communicated to the group.

“It goes a long way when you feel valued and cared for.”

‘Top talent’

Wilshaw is the elder statesman in the Staffordshire side, and he’s enthused by the younger talent emerging.

Nils Priestley has been one to watch in the T20 format so far. Wilshaw was at the other end as he blazed 97 off 39 balls in the victory at Northumberland.

Wilshaw insists that there is the ideal balance of youth and experience in the squad this term.

“There’s some fantastic players in the squad,” said Wilshaw. “Nils has been an outstanding addition and Zen Malik is back in for finals day.

“He’ll be looking to show the Staffordshire public and NCCA just how good he is. We’ve also got Michael Hill, who continues to show his quality.

“You add to that the first-class experience of Liam Hurt, Tom Brett and Ketts and we’ve got a really strong side.

“Sunday is a day for all the lads to enjoy, whether it’s their first time in a final or they’ve been to one before.

Spencer Byatt determined to seize his big Staffordshire chance

“We’ve tried to enjoy it this year and embrace what is thrown at us. There’s no point us leaving anything behind.

“Berkshire have a fantastic record in NCCA cricket. Hertfordshire have won the T20s before, while Cornwall are a bit of an unknown to us.

“But there will be four squads going to Tring thinking they can win it.”

‘Ticket news’

Tickets for finals day are price at £9.50 if purchased in advance or £12.50 on the day. Children under-16 are admitted for free.

Gates will open at 9am and there is free onsite parking. Refreshments will be available throughout the day.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Peter Wilshaw is being kindly sponsored by JS Sports and The Cricket Cave for the 2023 season.

Main image: Staffordshire County Cricket Club’s Peter Wilshaw. Picture: Alfie Shenton