CAPTAIN Chris Park urged Ed Bartlett and Jon Legg to treasure their Minor Counties debuts having reflected on his own experiences.

The Dorset League duo, who have both featured for Dorset Leopards this season, have been selected for the senior side’s three-day battle against Shropshire, starting on Sunday at Chapel Gate (11am).

Wimborne’s Bartlett has taken 18 Premier League wickets this season at an average of fewer than 20, while Legg has claimed 13 wickets and scored 213 runs for Cattistock in Division One.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Park insisted it was important for Dorset League players to see a pathway through to the Minor Counties set-up.

He told the Daily Echo: “We are trying to promote Dorset players as much as we can and this is a great opportunity for two lads to make their debuts.

“Ed is one of the top bowlers in the Dorset Premier League and we have seen enough of him to think he is ready for the next step.

“Having played at Bournemouth for the past few years, I know it spins, hence why we are playing Jon as a third spinner.

“We are looking forward to seeing how they go against top opposition in Shropshire. It’s time we give them a go and see how they are.

“It will be interesting to speak to Ed and Jon after the three days to see how they found it.”

Reflecting on his own Dorset debut, Park said: “It was away at Cornwall and I didn’t keep wicket, I batted number four.

“One or two games before that I was 12th man and, as a wicketkeeper, you don’t often get that duty. I remember fielding down at Dean Park at 16 thinking ‘this is brilliant’.

“They are days you remember, as well as your first wicket and first 50.”

Legg and Bartlett come in for Scott Currie and Harry Fisher, who both featured as Dorset battled to a draw at Cheshire last time out.

The Minor Counties outfit have recorded a win, loss and draw from their Unicorns Championship Western Division fixtures this season, meaning they sit seventh in the table.

Visitors Shropshire are second in the pile behind leaders Berkshire, who have won all three games.

Reviewing the campaign, Park added: “The draw against Cheshire was a brilliant result and it was great the young lads dug in.

“Now we have to try to win another game. We know the Bournemouth pitch well and have played there for a couple of years.

“It’s massive we start scoring runs in the first innings. That’s the big thing we need to improve on.”