- Shield in sights for Walsh
- Harry Ellis makes return to Twickenham
Leicestershire head coach Paul Walsh is determined that his players will not make the same mistake as two years ago when they face Surrey in the County Championship Shield final at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday May 27 (4.30pm).
It will be Leicestershire’s second appearance in a Shield final in two years but Walsh has promised that they will do better than in 2010 when they were easily beaten by Dorset & Wilts, whom they edged out in last Saturday’s semi-final.
“The message I have given to the players that getting to Twickenham means nothing but winning at Twickenham means everything,” Walsh said.
“Last time the vast majority of the squad had never been to Twickenham before so once we had won the semi-final they thought it was job done and it was a big relief.
“But there was little of that attitude on Saturday. We were glad to beat Dorset & Wilts, albeit in a tight finish, but the attitude of the players was that we want to go to Twickenham and win.”
Leicestershire will have only eight survivors from the 2010 final in Sunday’s squad but they have plenty of Twickenham experience in their coaching team.
Walsh, who now coaches at the Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College near Loughborough, guided John Cleveland College to four Daily Mail Schools finals, winning two and losing two.
Leicestershire’s new skills and attack coach Harry Ellis also played at Twickenham on many occasions as scrum-half for Leicester Tigers and England.
“We all knew that we had a good squad this year,” Walsh said. “We have had the support of South Leicester, Syston and Hinckley, the three biggest clubs that we can select from, and we have had players available throughout the competition.”
Leicestershire know little about Surrey but one player will be well known to them. Fly-half Rich Lang played for South Leicester two years ago and worked as a development officer for Leicester Tigers before work took him to London.
“I mentored Rich when he did one of his coaching awards up here so it will be good to see him again,” Walsh said.
“The South Leicester players in the team are looking forward to seeing him again and they have already been in touch with him.
“That’s the good thing about this competition and why we like it. You meet up with old friends but you also make lots of new ones. You come up against sides that you don’t normally play against like Dorset & Wilts and Surrey.”
A Leicestershire win at Twickenham would be the perfect way for them to celebrate their 125th anniversary season which included a tour to Northumberland at Easter.
But they will have to do it without Hinckley number eight Ben Ashfield who suffered a cracked cheekbone earlier in the tournament. If Ashfield had been fit he would have had to sit out the final as he had already booked a weekend away before the start of the County Championship.