Wales sit top of NCCA Group 4 after a comprehensive 147 run victory against Bedfordshire at Lisvane yesterday.
With weather conditions being particularly warm and the opportunity to have first use of a good looking pitch, skipper Sam Pearce had no hesitation in electing to bat having won the toss.
Tom Bevan and Steven Reingold shared a 41 run opening stand in brisk time with Bevan the primary aggressor before he was superbly caught high over mid on by Tom Brett off the bowling of Jack Fuller for 22. Former Glamorgan batter Connor Brown and Reingold set about building a solid platform with a stand of 113 - a mixture of low risk cricket and high quality stroke play - before the former was adjudged LBW to Olly Jeffries for 62. Oskar Kolk followed in similar fashion shortly after with Wales needing to capitalise on the work of Brown and Reingold.
IMAGE: Steven Reingold led the way with an impressive 80 - his first National Counties half century.
A breezy 41 off 29 balls by Greg Holmes was the spark Wales needed heading into the last ten overs. The current Cardiff CC captain showed all of his experience, playing with freedom and intent to take the score past 200. Two big sixes, one over deep mid-wicket and one over long-off the highlights. When the former Kent and Essex all rounder Matt Coles removed Holmes and then the anchor Reingold (80) in the same over, Bedfordshire looked to have wrestled back some momentum.
Skipper Pearce (24 off 20) ensured that Wales kept the scoreboard ticking over, assisted by a pair of boundaries in the final over by Andrew Gorvin taking Wales to a competitive, slightly above par score of 264-7. Coles finishing with 4-43 off his 10 overs.
Bedfordshire struggled to match Wales' positive approach in the powerplay with the bat, with Aneurin Norman and Richard Edwards keeping things tight - Norman accounting for Eddie Ballard via the inside edge with Cameron Herring making no mistake behind the stumps. Edwards produced a snorter to remove Berrill, again via Herring, leaving James Kettleborough and Kashif Ali some repair work to do.
When the off-spin of Tegid Phillips broke through Kettleborough's defence to make it 46-3, 264 appeared a long way off for the visitors. They were not helped when skipper George Thurstance retired hurt at the drinks interval. The former Cardiff UCCE man cut open his leg whilst diving to make his ground and was unable to resume his innings.
IMAGE: Tegid Phillips claimed the key wickets of James Kettleborough and Matt Coles on his way to taking 4-39.
Despite Olly Jeffries succumbing to a Tom Bevan direct hit, all hopes rested with Ali and the hard hitting Coles. When Gorvin bowled Ali for 23, and Coles giving Phillips his second wicket, attempting a slog sweep in the space of 3 overs the game was up. Phillips picked up two more wickets at the end finishing with excellent figures of 4-39.
Skipper Pearce was understandably delighted with his side's performance. He said, "it was a really strong team effort - pretty much everyone contributed in some way, shape or form and can't ask for more than that. Hopefully that sends a bit of a message out to the rest of the group about how serious our aspirations are. We won't be taking anything for granted though - we know that there's still some work to do to qualify, and the results have shown that anyone can anyone on their day."
Holders Berkshire experienced a rare loss at the hands of Oxfordshire which leaves Group 4 wide open still. Wales travel to Banbury on Saturday night knowing a win will guarantee progress to the knockout round. The side is expected to be unchanged for the third straight week.
Oxfordshire are led by Brickhill keeper-batter Jonny Cater and former Somerset and Worcestershire all rounder Gareth Andrew. The highly touted left arm spinner James Coles (17) who recently signed his first professional contract with Sussex, and the main architect of Berkshire's downfall last week is expected to feature.
Wales NC vs Oxfordshire at Banbury from: Wales NC from: SJ Pearce* (Bridgend), TR Bevan (St Fagans), SJ Reingold (Neath), CR Brown, OMD Kolk (both Lansdown), GC Holmes (Cardiff), CL Herring+ (Pontarddulais), AW Gorvin (St Fagans), AJ Norman (Mumbles), TD Phillips (Cardiff), RD Edwards (Port Talbot), 12th man (tbc).