- North Midlands ring the changes for crunch decider
- Warwickshire face Cumbria in County Championship Shield semi-final
North Midlands have made six changes to their starting line-up for their crunch County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup Second Division South decider against Somerset at Bridgwater & Albion tomorrow (3pm).
The winners will win the group and secure promotion to the top tier of the Bill Beaumont Cup next season. They will also meet either Northumberland or Eastern Counties in this season’s final at Twickenham on May 26 (9.30am).
North Midlands have brought in Michael Hill of Birmingham & Solihull at tigh-thead prop in place of Stef Thorpe of Moseley who moves to the bench and will start Paul Hulland of Luctonians at number eight after he impressed in that position when he came on as a replacement against Devon at Stourbridge two weeks ago.
In the backs North Midlands are missing Will Richards, who broke a wrist against Devon, so they have a new centre pairing of Rhys Owen (Loughborough Students) and Stefan Shillingford (Dudley Kingswinford) with Coventry’s Callum MacBurnie called up on the wing.
Joel Dudley of Jersey will start at scrum half with Moseley’s Dave Brazier dropping to the bench.
Owen and Hill will be making their debuts for North Midlands and Birmingham & Solihull hooker Will Radburn is also in line for a county debut having been named among the replacements.
Warwickshire are also on the Twickenham trail and face Cumbria at Aspatria in the semi-finals of the County Championship Shield.
Warwickshire won their pool with wins over Buckinghamshire and Essex while Cumbria beat Leicestershire in their pool decider at Penrith last Saturday.
Warwickshire welcome back Newbold-on-Avon centre Phil Reed, who was unavailable for the Essex match with Stuart Pearman of Nuneaton and Mike Worthington of Sutton Coldfield starting in the front row.
Pearman and Worthington, whose brother Mike is in Warwickshire’s second row, impressed as replacements against Essex.
Broadstreet back-row forward Chris Zutic joins the squad as a replacement along with his clubmates Nick Thatcher and centre Todd Freemantle, who has recently returned to England after six months travelling around Australia.
The winners of the Cumbria v Warwickshire semi-final will face either Sussex or Surrey in the County Championship Shield final at Twickenham on May 26 (5.15pm).